Concrete is a classic, practical solution for driveways that stands up fairly well against wear and tear. But time and mother nature can eventually give your driveway a worn appearance thanks to cracks, chipped pieces and sunken sections. There are a few different ways you can improve the look of your existing driveway – or know when to throw in the towel and get a new one.
If your concrete driveway only has a few minor to moderate cracks, you can likely tackle the project yourself if you have some do-it-yourself experience. For minor cracks, clean the area well with a wire brush to make sure you don't trap any dirt or debris in the crack. Then apply vinyl patching compound using a putty knife, ensuring you completely cover the crack. Let the area dry according to manufacturer directions before parking over the cracks.
For cracks that go a bit deeper or wider – or both – you want to first use a chisel to try and make the opening a bit more smooth on the sides. Clean the area with the wire brush then apply the compound with either a putty knife or a trowel, depending on the size of the crack.
If the concrete has broken because the slabs have settled deeper into the ground, slabjacking might be able to solve your problem. Slabjacking involves a concrete contractor putting expanding grout foam under the existing slabs to boost them back up. This is an intricate process requiring specialized concrete supplies and should always be left to the professionals.
First, the contractor will put tiny holes throughout the tops of the sunken slaps. This helps prevent pressure cracks when the foam lifts the slab. Next, the foam is injected below the slabs, where it will expand into any empty spaces that caused the sinking and raise the concrete.
Slabjacking is usually one of the more cost-friendly options for major repairs. But even with precautions, the lifting can cause significant cracking in the concrete. If you're fine with having your contractor do some minor patching after the slabjacking, this might not be a concern for you.
If there are major signs of damage to your concrete, there comes a point where it's better to simply start over. The concrete will be broken up and carried away. Your contractor might take this chance to see if there are any underlying issues that caused the damage, such as soil erosion that caused sinking, and suggest any solutions.
The new concrete will likely have better reinforcement than your original, particularly if you have an older home. Fiberglass and mesh reinforcement exists to keep your new driveway safe and secure for years to come.
For more information, contact a local concrete supplier, like Small's Sand Gravel Inc.
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