How to Identify Driveway Repair Needs
A well-maintained driveway adds both function and style to your home. But a crumbling, cracking, or discolored driveway not only looks bad, it can also cause problems with the structure of your home and be hazardous to vehicles and pedestrians.
Start by assessing the damage to your driveway and deciding whether it should be repaired or replaced. Driveway Repair Charles Town WV is the preferred choice if surface damage covers less than 50% of the driveway.
Cracks in driveways are not only unsightly, but they can also become an unstable surface that eventually breaks apart and causes damage to vehicles driving on it. The better you are at identifying and catching cracks early, the longer your concrete or asphalt driveway will last before it needs replacing.
While it’s fairly normal for cracks to form in concrete and other types of hard surfaces, the more cracks there are, the more serious the problem becomes. Hairline cracks are relatively harmless and may not need to be repaired, but you should still keep an eye out for them in case they grow wider over time. Cracks that are more than a credit card’s width are definitely worth tending to as soon as you notice them, as they can lead to structural problems and even further cracking and sinking of the entire driveway slab.
Keep an eye out for other signs of a serious problem with your concrete or asphalt driveway, such as heaving or settling. These are often caused by improper soil compaction when the driveway was first constructed.
When the underlying soil isn’t compacted correctly, it allows water to shift and settle underneath the driveway slab, which puts uneven pressure on certain areas of the structure. This can cause the surface to crack, bow, or even sink in places where the water is concentrated.
Another common problem is a misaligned concrete slab, which can cause the slab to crack in specific locations that aren’t controlled by control joints. The best way to fix this is by using a special concrete resurfacing product that can be sculpted and molded to reform the shape of the slab.
Potholes in a driveway are probably one of the most obvious signs that your driveway is in need of repair. It’s a big problem, as these holes can cause damage to your vehicle, especially when driving over them at speed. The best thing to do is get these fixed as soon as you notice them. Otherwise, you’re risking your car and the safety of anyone who might be using it.
Potholes often appear in dirt or gravel driveways, where they can form as a result of water leaking into the ground under the surface. This causes the soil to displace, leaving a hole that then gets bigger and larger over time. It can be difficult to avoid these if you drive over them regularly, but you should always try to fix them as soon as possible.
The first step is to clear the area of the pothole from any debris and dirt. This is important to ensure that the asphalt patch can adhere to the existing surface. It’s also worth considering making improvements to the underground drainage in the area, which can help prevent potholes from forming in the future.
Once the area is cleared, you should then start to fill the hole with coarse gravel or crushed stone to a level just below the top of the existing asphalt layer. Then, rake or shovel in the gravel to create firm edges to the hole, and then compact it with your vehicle, if you have one, or by driving back and forth over it multiple times until the surface looks even with the surrounding pavement surfaces.
Once you’ve finished filling the pothole, it’s a good idea to apply an asphalt sealer to help protect it from the elements in the long term. You should also make sure that any small cracks or holes are repaired before the winter, as this is when they’re most likely to expand and become more problematic. If you don’t have the time to make these repairs yourself, then hiring a professional is a wise option. They’ll be able to assess the condition of your driveway and recommend any additional repairs that might be needed.
A sunken driveway isn’t just an eyesore; it can also damage cars, and drivers can fall when walking across it. It’s important to fix sunken areas as soon as possible. If not, they can worsen and lead to a collapsed or unstable driveway.
Typically, the problem begins when erosion washes soil from under your driveway. This leaves a void that eventually sinks into the concrete slab. To prevent this, make sure to keep shrubs and trees trimmed back from your driveway. And be sure to check and clean downspouts to ensure that they aren’t directing water toward your driveway or into the soil underneath.
If you have an asphalt driveway, a simple DIY solution is to patch the area with concrete patching compound. A kit can be purchased that comes with everything you need, including instructions on how to use it. Before applying the material, you should loosen the asphalt with a putty knife or screwdriver and sweep the surface to remove debris. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the mixture to help it adhere better, and then brush it on the damaged spot.
If your concrete or tarmac driveway has extensive sunken areas, it may need to be re-poured. This is more labor-intensive than resurfacing, but it’s often the best option if your driveway has substantial problems that won’t go away with other repairs.
It’s also important to talk to your neighbors if you need driveway repairs that require excavation. Contractors can offer bulk discounts if several homes on the block require the same service.
When you’re ready to begin the process of repairing your driveway, it’s a good idea to get an estimate from a few different contractors. This will give you a better understanding of what the cost will be and help you set your budget.
If you aren’t comfortable doing the work yourself, be sure to hire a professional. Getting the job done right will ensure that your driveway lasts longer and looks great. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that the problem is fixed properly and won’t come back in a few years.
Stains in your driveway are not only unsightly but can also create a slip-and-fall risk for anyone walking on them. Fortunately, cleaning a stain is comparatively inexpensive and can be done with supplies you probably have in your garage or tool shed. You’ll need a strong scrub brush, a do-it-yourself pressure washer, a spray bottle, and some cleaning products that are safe for use on concrete or asphalt.
Oil stains are one of the most difficult to remove from driveways, especially those made of concrete. There are a number of folk remedies for oil stains that claim to work miracles, but most require a lot of elbow grease and a good deal of scrubbing.
Many of these methods involve coating the stain in an absorbent material like kitty litter or clay, leaving it for at least an hour (overnight is better), and then sweeping it up. For tougher stains, mix powdered laundry detergent or dish soap with water and spray or pour the solution on the stain. Scrub the area with a stiff nylon brush and rinse it clean.
Liquid dish soap is excellent for removing stains caused by plant-based materials like tree sap and rotting leaves. It’s also very effective for stains related to vehicle fluids, such as coolant (which has a faint green color and a slightly sweet smell) and transmission fluid (which has a reddish tint and is slightly opaque).
Other common driveway stains include those from fertilizer and plant food, which appear orange as they oxidize; pet urine (which often has a musty odor); and gasoline, which are both light brown in color. While you can try using vinegar or a mixture of baking soda and WD-40 to remove these, it’s usually best to get a professional power washing service involved.