When To Repair, Replace or Refinish a Driveway
Every year, the turn of the seasons causes the groundwater to freeze and thaw. This is a natural and anticipated process that still causes extensive damage to manmade constructions. A prime example of this is the driveway, which is something so common it rarely receives much notice unless it is damaged. Unfortunately, the seasonal effects of water plus the stress of cars and trucks resting and driving on them make damage unavoidable to both asphalt and concrete driveways. Correcting that damage requires homeowners to repair, refinish or replace, and each option has an appropriate time and rationale.
Repairing an asphalt or concrete driveway involves patching surface cracks in the material. Small cracks of the approximate width of one-quarter inch or less and under two or three inches deep are the first signs of damage to a driveway and are appropriate for patching. Concrete and asphalt driveway repair can be accomplished with a patching material applied by the homeowner or a contractor.
Larger cracks in a driveway can, and often are, patched as well, but these are actually signs of a more widespread problem. It is wiser to resist the impulse to patch such cracks if possible and call in a contractor to perform one of the other two techniques.
This option is essentially the midpoint between a concrete or asphalt driveway repair and a complete replacement. In this option, the surface of the asphalt or concrete is removed, then replaced. The foundation is left undisturbed, but the damage should not reappear for many years. This should only be performed by an experienced contractor, and it does involve a sizeable investment, but far less than removing the damaged driveway to start anew.
This is the most extreme of the options, with a price tag to match. The entire driveway is removed, then a contractor creates a new foundation and pours new asphalt or concrete in place of the old, damaged material. The main motivating factor behind selecting this option is the age the driveway. If a homeowner has an asphalt driveway, after 20 years the entire thing will start sinking and no amount of patching will stop it, with concrete lasting until roughly 25. Might as well just get it done rather than waste money on a concrete or asphalt driveway repair that may not even last a year.
Owning a home represents a significant expense, but the reward is usually worth it. By caring for parts of a home appropriately, the cost will be less in the long-run and less of a burden when it occurs. Calling a driveway contractor now is the first step to caring for that part of a property in just such a way.