Driveway Repair Charleston SC is one of the most common homeowner repairs, but determining costs is not always straightforward. The material the driveway is constructed from is a critical factor, as are other considerations such as surface area and size.
Cracks in any material can become larger under the weight of vehicles, freeze-thaw cycles, or erosion from the ground underneath the driveway. They should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage and save money.
When cracks appear in concrete or asphalt driveways, it is important to address them right away. Not only do they make the driveway look unkempt and unattractive, but left unattended, they can also grow and cause the driveway to crumble. The more proactive you are in repairing cracks, the longer your driveway will last without the need for costly resurfacing.
The earth’s surface is always in motion, and as it shifts, your driveway will move with it, causing it to develop cracks. This is especially true in the case of asphalt driveways, which are essentially gravel covered by asphalt. The constant shifting of the gravel base can lead to cracks in the asphalt layer, which then cause the driveway to deteriorate and eventually crumble.
Small, hairline cracks in the surface of a driveway can be filled with many different types of patching products. However, it is important to choose a product that contains a concrete bonding adhesive or primer to create the best possible bond with the old surface. It is also recommended that you roll a thicker application of the patching compound into the crack to fill it completely.
Larger cracks, or those wider than a hairline, should be filled with a concrete repair product that has a strong self-leveling quality. This will ensure that the new concrete blends in with the existing surface. For these larger cracks, it is usually best to use a foam backer rod that can be inserted into the crack before filling the area.
Widening Control Joints
As your driveway ages, the joints that connect the slabs can separate and widen. This detracts from the overall appearance of the driveway and can allow water to leak in and cause a host of other problems. It is a good idea to use a product such as Quikrete’s Advanced Polymer Self-Leveling Sealant to fill the widened joint and prevent further separation.
If you’re experiencing cracks or crumbling edges in your driveway, it can be a big headache and costly to repair. This is because the edge of a driveway needs to be properly edged and stabilized to help transfer the weight from your car to the solid ground underneath. A border is typically made from bricks or rocks and can also add an attractive landscaping element to your property. You can bury the bricks or stones or even lay concrete along the back edge of your asphalt to prevent it from lifting up in the future.
Crumbling edges may be a sign that the asphalt was not adequately installed during construction. The asphalt was probably spread too thinly in those areas, and the underlying ground wasn’t compacted enough. The resulting stress on the edges can cause them to crack, crumble, and pull away from the rest of the driveway. A professional can fix this problem by adding new asphalt and recompacting the foundation. They can also install a retaining wall to keep the gravel from washing away.
A good paving contractor will address this issue before the driveway is poured. The grading at the edges of your driveway should have a 45-degree incline to help transfer the pressure from your car to the solid ground beneath. The contractor will also ensure that the base of the driveway is adequately compacted and filled in with coarse gravel.
An unethical paving company that is more interested in getting the job done quickly and cheaply will neglect this part of the installation process. In addition to costing you time and money, this type of shortcut can lead to problems with your crumbling or damaged driveway in the future. A trusted and experienced paving contractor will always take the time to finish the project correctly and provide long-lasting results.
Soil erosion is a natural process that wears away at everything in its path, including concrete and asphalt. When this happens near your driveway, it can cause the surface to sink and deteriorate faster than normal. One of the most common causes of this is poor drainage. Whether your driveway is gravel, asphalt, or concrete, proper drainage is essential to its lifespan. Poor drainage leads to water puddles, which wash away soil from around the foundation of your driveway. This causes it to sink and creates a sunken area that is unsightly, unsafe for cars, and potentially hazardous for pedestrians.
Erosion also occurs due to weather events that erode the ground under your driveway. Heavy rainfall, flash flooding, freezing and thawing cycles, and frequent humidity create the perfect conditions for erosion. As erosion wears away at the foundation of your driveway, it can also wash out sand and sediment from underneath the concrete slab. This can cause the concrete to heave and sink, creating what is known as a “pothole.”
While preventing erosion is a challenging task, there are a few things you can do to help. Direct downspouts away from your driveway so puddles don’t form. This will slow the rate of erosion and make sure that any water that does get washed away doesn’t reach your driveway.
Keeping up with your regular maintenance routines can also help prevent erosion near your driveway. This includes cleaning, sealing, and resurfacing your driveway every three to five years. Regular pressure washing can remove oil and other fluid stains that can damage your driveway.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to park your car or truck on different parts of the driveway over time to evenly distribute the weight and help avoid uneven heaving and sinking. It’s also a good idea to park large vehicles like RVs or trucks on the opposite side of your driveway to reduce the amount of pressure being exerted on the concrete.
The driveway’s base is usually in good condition, but the surface is showing signs of wear and tear. A new layer of asphalt will help give it a new appearance and restore structural integrity. Resurfacing costs less than replacing the entire driveway and offers a much quicker return on investment.
Small cracks can be repaired with patching, but resurfacing is necessary when more than 25% of the surface area is covered in moderate or greater damage. Resurfacing also provides the best overall curb appeal and will increase your home’s resale value.
Before resurfacing, make sure the driveway is free of plants, debris, and weeds. Use a garden hose or power washer to clean the area and loosen dirt in any cracks. After a thorough cleaning, wait for the surface to dry completely before beginning the repair process.
If there are sunken sections of the driveway, they can be raised back to their original level by injecting lifting foam under them. Once the foam has set, they can be filled with sand or crushed rock and compacted. Then a top coat of resurfacing material can be applied.
A resurfacing contractor will spread the resurfacing compound over the entire driveway and squeegee it out, smoothing out the transition to the existing pavement. The surface can be misted with water to keep it moist while it cures, which should take about 24 hours.
It’s best to resurface your driveway in the fall or spring before it gets hot or wet. This will give the resurfacing time to fully cure before heavy traffic can use it again. If possible, avoid scheduling repairs or resurfacing during the summer, when most contractors are busy and rates are higher.
While patching and resurfacing are the most common repairs in a driveway, sometimes you will need to dig out and replace the entire surface of the drive. A complete replacement is usually necessary when the pavement has a large number of severe cracks, holes, or depressions, which indicate extensive damage beneath the surface. It is also recommended that you consider a full replacement if the driveway has large potholes, which are dangerous for drivers and can seriously damage tires.