Repairing a Driveway? The Right Solution to Every Surface
Your driveway is what visitors and passersby see first, and it plays a crucial role in curb appeal. You'll be anxious to fix your driveway if it is damaged, stained, cracked or otherwise in poor condition. Each of the three types of driveways, gravel, concrete, and asphalt, has unique characteristics and requires different repair methods. Learn more about the pros and cons of each type, as well as the tips and tricks you can use to fix each one.
Asphalt Driveway Repairs
An asphalt driveway that is well maintained can last for up to 20 years and costs $2.50 to $4 per sq. ft. However, heavy traffic, dirt buildup, and chemical ice-melt products can reduce lifespan. This can lead to small cracks, which can grow into full-blown potholes.
- It is not possible to install an asphalt driveway yourself. You will need large commercial machines to heat the asphalt mixture and heavy rollers to smooth it. However, homeowners can usually handle the repairs.
- A tube of asphalt sealant such as Driveway Repair Pittsburgh is all that's needed to repair a few small cracks. You can use a standard caulking gun to seal and stop the deterioration by applying it directly to the crack.
- Crack-Stix asphalt repair tubing may be a better option if your driveway has many cracks. The pliable tubing can be inserted into cracks and heated with a torch to melt tar.
- Many tiny spider web cracks can be repaired in asphalt with a mop-on sealer. This product is made from asphalt resin and can be applied without heating. This sealer can be used every three to five years to maintain asphalt driveways in good condition.
- If a crack develops, water can seep into the asphalt and cause it to crumble. You can repair this problem with asphalt patching products such as Asphalt Patch or Pothole Filler. This product is used to fill the pothole and match the existing driveway.
Repairing Concrete Driveways
Concrete is the most popular type of driveway. Small crews or even homeowners experienced in concrete pouring can install and repair it. Concrete is a strong construction material that costs between $4 and $5 per square foot. It can last for 50 years, providing a durable, solid surface.
Concrete quality can vary from one driveway or another. This is due to factors like how long it took to cure after being poured, how much water it contained (excessive moisture can cause the material to weaken), and whether there are clay soils. Clay soils tend to shift slightly and crack concrete slabs. Concrete driveways can also be affected by unsightly grease or oil stains. Here are some ways to fix the problem.
- Resurfacing is an option if your concrete driveway has started to flake off. The 40-pound bag of concrete resurfacer must be mixed with water according to the package directions. Mix it with water and spread it over the driveway using a squeegee. This will fill in any cracks and create a smooth new surface.
- If you have a few small cracks that are less than half an inch, you can use a concrete crack sealant such as Quikrete Advanced Polymer Crack Sealant, which is dispensed using a standard caulking gun.
- A foam pre-caulking rod such as Quikrete 3/4-inch Backer Rod should be used to fill cracks larger than one-half inches. Concrete crack repair sealant is then applied to the crack. This is precisely what the Quikrete team shows in their video tutorial about sealing cracks. The sealant will sink into the crack if it is not supported by the foam rod.
- ACT Microbial Concrete Cleaner is a powerful cleaner that can be used to remove oil and grease stains. Sprinkle the powder on the color and use a utility brush to rub it into the concrete. Then, spray water lightly as directed. To draw out the stain ultimately, the cleaner should be left on the concrete surface for approximately two weeks. The cleaner will naturally wash away, or you can use water to clean the concrete underneath.
Repairing a Gravel Driveway
These driveways are usually found in rural areas or lead to country homes. They promote drainage when asphalt or concrete contractors can't be hired, or the driveway is too long to make it economically feasible to install concrete or asphalt. Gravel driveways can be as low as $1.50 per square foot.
This is usually due to the use of heavy equipment to clear the ground and spread a thick layer of gravel over the compacted soil. If properly maintained, gravel driveways can last generations. While experienced excavators should make some repairs, most can be done by homeowners.
- Chickweed, henbit, and sandbur thrive in gravel driveways that are otherwise barren. They can ruin the driveway's appearance if they are allowed to spread. Gravel driveways have a slight crown. This is a low spot at the center that allows water to flow to both sides. Repetitive tire tracks can lead to soft spots and, eventually, rut formation. An excavator can grade the road using a large blade to pull gravel back to the middle of the road to recreate the original crown shape.
- Call a driveway repair if gravel driveways are damaged by water runoff or heavy rains. Country dwellers often face this problem because their land isn't built to drain away from their driveway. The runoff from heavy rains can cause flooding in small areas. This can lead to damage to farmland or gravel drives. It can also wash away gravel and create ruts.