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Driveway Repair – How to Repair Cracks, Sunken Sections and Unsightly Weeds

Cracks, sunken sections and unsightly weeds are common problems that can affect your driveway. They can lead to surface damage and require regular cleaning or more extensive repairs.

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The most obvious sign of driveway damage is cracks. These appear on the surface of the driveway and can spread over time if not addressed. They can also be a source of tripping hazards.

It is important to check the driveway regularly for hairline cracks. These are normal and typically do not indicate serious problems. Driveways that are built more recently have control joints, which are designed to help avoid cracking. Cracks that are wider than a quarter inch should be repaired immediately. These cracks can eventually cause the concrete to break down and require replacement.

Other common signs that your driveway needs repair are water pooling and weeds growing in the cracks. Water pooling on your driveway may indicate that there is a problem with the slope or grade of the driveway. This can lead to erosion and a slippery surface. Similarly, if you see weeds growing out of the cracks in your driveway, it is a good idea to have them removed immediately.

Disintegrating concrete on your driveway is another clear sign that it is time for repair or replacement. This is usually caused by severe weather elements, such as rain and snow. Over time, the weakened concrete is not able to support the weight of vehicles or the surrounding soil.

It is also important to keep the roots of trees away from your driveway. If the roots start to grow, it can cause the driveway to buckle and lift up in sections. The best way to prevent this is to plant the tree elsewhere on your property and to use mulch to keep the roots from spreading under the concrete.

Clean the Area

Over time, dirt, mud, oil and other substances will stain concrete. Whether the result of a car spill, some gardening mishap or just age, these unsightly marks should be dealt with immediately, even if you don’t intend to replace the damaged section of your driveway. Left untreated, stains can become more serious and lead to cracks and other damage.

A stiff broom and some elbow grease should work well for most stains. For heavier ones, try an organic cleaner that’s specifically formulated for your type of stain (for example, one made for removing tree sap or leaf stains). Follow the application instructions carefully to avoid damaging the surface.

If you have mold or mildew stains, try using white distilled vinegar to remove them. Mix it with water (1:1 ratio) and apply to the stain, then scrub vigorously with a brush or a pressure washer. If the problem persists, use a stronger solution such as muriatic acid (1/4 cup of the acid diluted with 2 cups of water). Again, follow the application instructions carefully to avoid damaging the concrete and be sure to wear gloves when handling any chemical solutions.

For pitting or small cracks, you can apply a concrete patching material available in a tube or putty style at any hardware store. A cold asphalt sealer can be used on an asphalt driveway if needed, but be careful when applying it to oil stains to prevent them from seeping through and becoming more permanent. It’s also important to address any issues with drainage or erosion that may be causing damage to your driveway. Ideally, any dirt or soil should be diverted away from the driveway and redirected elsewhere in your yard.

Patch the Cracks

Cracks are usually a sign of more serious damage, but if they are narrower than a quarter inch, you can often repair them by filling the fissures. Before you get started, clean the area to remove debris and weeds with a wire brush or shop vacuum. Make sure to wear gloves. If the cracks are particularly wide, you may need to use a concrete and asphalt cleaner to clean them out. Then, if necessary, you can etch the surface to increase adhesion and remove any oil or grease that has accumulated in the cracks.

For small cracks, you can use a simple masonry crack filler to fill them up to 1/8 inch wide. These products come in no-mess cartridges for a caulking gun or in pourable squeeze bottles. To use the product, lightly dampen the work area with clean water and mix the crack filler according to the package directions. Then, apply the material to the crack using a pointing trowel or putty knife. Fill the cracks to a level with the driveway surface, and smooth out any excess with a putty knife.

Large cracks are more severe, and you will need to patch them with a reinforced concrete repair product. These products have flexible backer rod that is pushed into the cracks before applying the concrete filler. This reduces the amount of filler needed and helps to prevent the cracks from getting wider over time.

Cracks can also be filled with Quikrete’s Advanced Polymer Concrete Crack Sealant, which is a flexible product that you can sculpt and shape to reform the crack. This product is especially useful in resurfacing areas of the driveway that have broken off or crumbled. It is easy to apply, and once it is cured, you can seal the entire driveway to prevent further damage.

Repair Sunken Sections

Sunken sections of a concrete driveway are more than just unsightly. They can also create tripping hazards and trap water, leading to more damage.

If you have sunken areas in your driveway, there are a few ways to repair them. One option is to fill the area with a cement and sand mixture, a process called mudjacking. However, this only raises the sunken surface and is only a temporary solution.

Another method is to inject a polyurethane lifting foam into the sunken section. This lifts and stabilizes the slab and prevents future sinking. This is a professional-grade method that requires specialized equipment and training.

A third option is to remove and replace the sunken sections of your driveway with a new one. This is usually the most expensive option, but it provides a long-term solution that doesn’t require resurfacing or patching.

While it’s normal for a driveway to sink slightly over time, if you notice that the surface is 4 or 5 inches lower than your garage floor, it’s time for a repair. If you don’t, water will pool in the depression and erode the soil underneath, leading to further problems.

The most effective way to repair a sinking driveway is to hire a professional service that offers a variety of options depending on the severity of the damage. A geotechnical engineer can identify the cause of the problem and recommend a proper course of action. For severe damage, excavation down to the solid subsoil, backfilling with structural fill, compaction, and repaving may be necessary. The proper repair method will depend on the underlying cause of sinking and whether it’s due to poor construction, natural settling, or regional geological factors.

Smooth Out Any Rough Edges

The last step in a successful driveway repair is to smooth out the surface. This can be done with a hand sander or an orbital sander equipped with coarse-grit paper. Once the rough edges are smoothed, you can apply a layer of sealer to protect your concrete driveway from weather damage and stains.

A properly-maintained concrete driveway can add value to your property, and reduce the time it takes to sell your home. In addition, it can improve a home’s curb appeal and make it easier to clean. However, it is important to recognize and address any signs of damage as soon as possible. Cracks in the concrete can damage the structural integrity of the driveway and lead to more expensive repairs or replacement.

If left untreated, cracks in a concrete driveway can become wider and more dangerous. They can also expose the base of the driveway to moisture, which can cause further damage. If you notice any large cracks or potholes in your driveway, it is best to call a professional for a quick fix before the damage worsens.

Edge cracks often appear on the edges of roads and driveways, and are typically caused by a lack of support at these outer areas. They can grow longer and wider if not treated early, and may connect to form irregular patterns that resemble alligator skin. Edge cracks can be repaired with cold patch asphalt, and a layer of sealer can help to protect them from further damage.

Taking care of any damage to your concrete driveway can make it last for a couple of decades, and will help to prevent more costly repairs in the future. Make sure to check out our selection of items designed specifically for successful driveway repair, and start making your repairs today!