There’s no doubt that being a homeowner comes with its fair share of surprises, and finding out that driveways can cause massive issues is one of them. Read on to learn how you can repair or hire a pro to resolve some of the most common driveway problems.
Your driveway is an investment and proper maintenance could end up saving you hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars on repair or replacement.
Fuel, sunlight, rain, and a myriad of other corrosive elements will soften the binding agents that are used to hold asphalt together. In fact, unsealed asphalt can lose over half its thickness in 20 years and start to lose its black color in less than a year!
Water is often the main culprit – especially during the cooler months of the year.
As water saturates the asphalt pores, your driveway will go through a freeze/thaw cycle. Ice takes up 9% more surface area than water in its liquid form.
If there is no extra space for the water to expand to ice, this change puts a tremendous strain on the asphalt’s composition. This makes them brittle and more exposed to other elements that can cause cracks and breakage.
How to fix common driveway problems
There are several ways to do it yourself when it comes to driveway repair.
Use a liquid crack-filler
This method works for cracks that are less than a 1/4″ wide. Crack-fillers are sold already mixed, so there are no special instructions you need to follow before applying to affected areas of the driveway.
Anything larger than a quarter-inch crack is a tell-tale sign of larger structural damage to the driveway.
You can find a solid crack-filler at your local hardware store for between $10 – $20 depending on how much you need.
Click here for some examples.
Try putting a patch on it
Use a patch for fixing the larger holes and cracks in your driveway. All you need is a little water and something to stir the mixture with.
These patches are not the ones used by construction workers re-paving highways and parking lots. Residential asphalt driveway patches are cold and flexible even at room temperature, and mixing and applying the patch yourself is not very difficult for most homeowners.
Pro route: Resurfacing a driveway
Patching and filling a driveway repeatedly will become tiresome. Resurfacing is another great option to solve those common driveway problems.
In this process, experienced professionals will remove the top layer off the driveway. After the layer is removed, fresh asphalt is poured over top of it.
This will make the driveway look brand new.
However, this process requires major demolition – which comes with many of the common headaches that accompany major repairs.
For a price, professional contractors can employ their expertise to repair a driveway and prepare it for the next twenty to thirty years. They are also often skilled at diagnosing where the problem began and how to keep it from coming back.
Here are a few important tips to follow when selecting a pro:
- Are they insured? Any contractor you hire should have liability insurance, as well as provide documentation of that insurance. Insurance is crucial because it protects both parties involved in the transaction. Most of all, it protects the homeowner from any damage that can occur over the course of the job.
- Is the work guaranteed? It’s important to have your bases covered before any work on your driveway begins. A guarantee of the contractor’s work should be a no-brainer. A guarantee not only protects you from any hidden costs – it says a lot about the reliability of the contractor as well.
- Do your homework – Get quotes from several companies to compare prices. Read reviews on forums or get suggestions from friends or neighbors who have also had their driveway repaired.
Another great resource for hiring a professional is the Better Business Bureau. Your contractor will likely have reviews and ratings listed there.
There are several methods to repair a driveway and none of them are right or wrong. Repairs can be simple or quite complex – it is totally dependent on the context of the situation. As always, arm yourself with knowledge when it comes to undertaking large home projects.