Damaged Concrete Driveway: Repair and Diagnosis

What causes those ugly cracks in your drive or pathway? There are several different issues that require concrete driveway repair. 

If ugly cracks and stains are ruining your concrete driveway, repair services can help you restore them. Pathways and drives in your yard affect the aesthetics and curb appeal of your home’s exterior. When left untreated, damaged areas can quickly worsen, and where there was once a small crack, several large pits can develop. Not only are they unsightly, but the value of your home will decrease and there is a clear safety hazard. A visitor who stops by can trip and twist their ankle, and then suddenly you’re in the middle of a lawsuit. While that is an extreme example, it is common for rough paths to damage vehicles and endanger residents, especially the elderly or children.

There are many forces that can cause damage to your concrete driveway. Repair professionals recommend trying to identify the problem first so you can prevent any further issues from developing. If you live in a cold climate and have noticed a web of cracks over your drive, frost is likely the source of the problem. Moisture freezes inside the surface crevices and results in what is known a scaling. Many people reach for the de-icer to try and prevent more damage, but this does exactly the opposite. Most pros would recommend using sand to insulate the surface and keep moisture out or applying a weather sealer, this is very important during the first winter of any new drive or pathway. 

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If you have big, ugly cracks in your drive or vertical structures, rust might be your problem. Reinforced steel that pins pieces into place can rust, which causes expansion and subsequent cracking that can reach the surface. But how can metal rust if it is buried so deeply? Chloride is the reason, and de-icing is often to blame. If chloride reaches the steel, it will eventually rust it causing great internal tension. The more tension and the wider the cracks, the more moisture will get in and the problem will simply deteriorate even more. Similar to scaling on surfaces, a seal is the best way to protect your structures as well as avoiding any treatments that can increase chloride or moisture absorption. 

Nature is pretty tough, just ask any concrete driveway repair specialist. A common reason for damage to drives and pathways is tree roots. A tree’s root system will continue to grow and expand outwards, regardless of what is in its way. Roots that grow beneath the surface can eventually crack and even completely pull up portions of a drive. For trees to be capable of such damage, they have to be fairly substantial in size. Normally the best and easiest solution is to cut the tree and redo the damaged areas. If you don’t want to lose the foliage, a landscaper can trim the roots and seal them, but in some cases this may kill the tree. Another option is to insert a sturdy barrier in the ground to prevent the roots from spreading again. In either case, it is best to get the opinion of a qualified arborist.