Most homeowners expect that their concrete driveway will last for the duration of their time in the home, but this is not always the case. The problem is that concrete can be damaged over time by a range of factors, including, but not limited to:
- Tree roots that grow underneath the concrete surface causing cracks
- Wear and tear due to heavy vehicles
- Exposure to the weather causing expansion and contraction of the concrete aggregate and causing cracks and holes
- Stains from oil, coolant, grease, and acid byproducts from leaves and other organic debris
If you have a home with an older concrete driveway, this potentially means that you might have to have it repaired or even replaced. If you should ever decide to sell your home, a cracked and ugly looking driveway is not just a hazard waiting to happen, it’s also visually unpleasing and might put off potential buyers.
So, what are the options for tackling damaged concrete driveways?
1. Resurface Your Driveway
Sometimes, there’s just too much damage to a concrete driveway for anything other than a complete resurfacing treatment. If your concrete driveway has significant cracks, holes, and other damage, resurfacing might actually be your best option.
One of the biggest problems is that cracks and holes just lead to more damage. Rain and the elements enter the concrete aggregate and causes increased damage over time. In the end, the only thing you can really do is either resurface it before more damage occurs or have a brand-new driveway installed.
A concrete overlay is one way to resurface concrete driveways and can prove effective at covering up all of the cracks, holes, and other problems. You can also choose from a range of coloured concrete to make your driveway look fresh and new.
Of course, it’s always best to hire professionals for a job such as this, rather than doing it yourself. If the underlying concrete is not prepared sufficiently, resurfacing will not be successful.
2. Mask it with a Pattern
If your concrete driveway isn’t in terrible shape, but still has some minor cracks, one option is to disguise the damage with a pattern. Sometimes, existing cracks can become part of a whole new patterned look that will draw the eye and make people think you’ve got a brand-new driveway.
During this process, a machine is used to create lines in the concrete that has been stained. This creates an eye-catching pattern that can disguise damage.
3. Raising Sunken Concrete
Many concrete driveways are susceptible to sinking in places if the stony substrate is on unstable or poor soil. These sunken areas are hazardous and can lead to major cracking and even pot holes. One way to fix this damage is through a process called slab jacking.
During slab jacking, a mixture of fly ash, cement, and sand is pumped carefully underneath the existing concrete so as to raise the profile of the driveway. This mixture solidifies and becomes a more stable surface for the concrete above it.
4. Recolour the Driveway Instead
Though coloured driveways are hardy and durable, the fact is that factors such as extreme weather and lack of maintenance can damage them. Sometimes, a coloured driveway has also been inexpertly applied and this can lead to a surface that simply looks unattractive.
One option is to recolour the damaged driveway and apply a tough UV resistant top layer. This will be a durable material and will resist many years of weather and staining.
5. Fill the Cracks
Many people choose this option because it’s less expensive and they can do it themselves. If there is minor damage to the concrete, some people may choose to skim over it with a light mix of new concrete and let it dry. This is a kind of light resurfacing, which can provide a handy solution, but it won’t be as durable as an expert application.
For deeper cracks, some people choose to use a caulk that can simply be squirted in the damaged areas and left to dry. This is a temporary solution at best because the repairs are not durable enough in most cases to resist the weather and other factors.