Owning a home responsibly means understanding that no matter how careful you are, repairs will be on your to do list at some point. Some parts of the home are more prone to break down, such as drainage or electrical component. However, even the most stalwart parts of your house can evidence disrepair, needing costly and time-consuming solutions if proper maintenance is not performed before these tragedies hit. One prime example of this is your driveway.
Over time, both the material used to create the driveway, usually either asphalt or concrete, and the ground underneath, can destabilize, evidencing different symptoms you should take note of and address as quickly as possible. These symptoms are usually easy to spot, so a little diligence and attention can end up preventing large drains from your bank account.
While cracking is a natural occurrence that results over time in just about any type of concrete or asphalt construction, the type of cracks and how you handle each specifically can make all the difference.
- Linear Cracks: Long, thin cracks, or linear cracks, are virtually guaranteed to appear as your driveway ages, no matter how well it was installed. What causes extreme problems is when dirt, water or other detritus works its way into the cracks, making them both longer and deeper. Water will freeze and expand, especially during the winter months, turning small annoyances into a genuine nuisance. While the temptation to simply purchase a sealant from your local hardware store may be strong, fight it! The only way to keep these cracks from turning into a nightmare is with a hot sealant, most often applied by a professional.
- Spiderweb Cracks: If your driveway is supposed to be smooth and even, and it has cracked so much it almost resembles cobblestones, you have a more serious problem than simple weather and age damage. Spiderweb cracks usually result from a shoddy job done putting it in, most likely laid over top of multiple layers of sealant used to fix previous damage. A quality driveway requires a solid foundation, something that repair sealants are unable to give. In a case like this, the only real way to fix the damage well enough is to remove the cracked asphalt, make sure the ground underneath is stable and packed well and put down new asphalt or concrete.
If there is damage to your driveway, it is good to fix it before the problem becomes worse. Dirt Connections offers residential asphalt paving or residential concrete paving that suits any homeowner’s needs.
Keeping An Eye On Your Driveway
Over time, that beautiful piece of concrete or asphalt can lose that new look and begin to look weathered and old. While the cosmetic aspect can usually be fixed with seal coating, it may be indicative of more serious damage. The sun, and the UV rays it emits, can weaken both asphalt and concrete, making the top brittle and prone to cracking. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean you have problems on your hands right now, just that it is time to start keeping an eye out for any more advanced problems that may crop up.
Dangerous and Unsightly Potholes
As anyone that has ever been in a vehicle can tell you, potholes are a true nuisance. Unfortunately, potholes are not solely the purview of actual roads, your driveway can also develop them as time passes. Potholes are the result of the earth beneath the driveway expanding and contracting, most notably during the winter and spring months. The movement of the earth in turn causes the driveway material to flex, loosening its cohesion the longer it persists. Traffic, even the comparatively light nature of travel over a driveway as opposed to a public road, causes this loosened cohesion to manifest in cracks and ultimately a pothole is formed. Fixing a pothole depends heavily on how big it is, more sizable pits may need a full replacement rather than simply some sealant.
Repair or Replace?
Once you have identified the problems with your own driveway, the decision comes on whether or not to do simple maintenance or fixes or to replace it altogether. There are a few factors that should come into play when making this decision.
Size and Amount of the Damage: Take a measuring tape and note how wide and deep cracks and crevices are. If the values exceed a half inch for width or two inches in depth, the problems are more serious, and replacement becomes more of the way to ultimately go. If you have more than three cracks that exceed these values, placed at different areas of the driveway, repairs will likely result only in a very temporary fix.
- Age of the Driveway: Concrete usually has a shelf life of about 30 years, while asphalt can claim efficacy for about 25. If you are at, or nearing, this amount of time, a full replacement will usually be the path most wise, especially if the seriousness and frequency of damage begins to escalate.
- Resurfacing: If you realize the damage is too heavy for simple sealing, and you do not have the money to fund a full replacement, resurfacing is a good middle ground. While this also usually requires a professional, the costs are significantly lower, given that only the top layer needs to be peeled off and replaced, not an entire residential foundation repair.
Fairfax Driveway Paving Services Are Just A Click Away!
A smooth and even driveway not only adds to a home’s aesthetic and financial value, it also can prevent injury to playing children or absentminded adults. Preventative maintenance, performed regularly and diligently, can go a long way towards avoiding a costly replacement down the line. Dirt Connections today is able to provide affordable assistance that can bring your driveway back to it’s best. Call directly or send us a message online today!