Driveway cracks are inevitable as you drive down the length of your driveway. However, even with this tendency, driveway cracks of substantial size shouldn’t appear for many years regardless of what material you decide to use. The most common reason for cracks in driveway driveways is improper installation, most commonly in the form of an improperly built subbase or base. A base that has been built on-site using concrete and soil, and has been reinforced with rebar, should be sound and durable enough to bear the load that will be put on it as you drive over it every day for years. The area in and around the driveway should be perfectly level from top to bottom, and the driveway itself should be wide enough to handle the weight that you’re throwing off of it every day.
When you do finally decide to hire a concrete contractor to repair your cracked driveway, your first step should always be to have them check the concrete for cracks before actually getting started. Cracks are easy to spot. They’ll usually be a little smaller than the surrounding concrete surface, and they’ll stand out just enough to give you a sense of discomfort. If you don’t have very noticeable cracks, however, you may be able to go unnoticed until much later. Driveway cracks can be difficult to notice at times because they’re blending in with the rest of the concrete surface.
Concrete shrinkage is one of the most common causes of concrete cracks, especially when you have a driveway that’s fairly flat. If you’ve had your driveway poured before, you may find that the finished surface is a little too firm for your particular situation. In these cases, the road is likely to be slightly uneven from the expanding concrete on the exterior, and this can cause the concrete to crack at places. If you have cracks in your driveway that seem to pop up without any logical reason, it’s important to contact a contractor as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring.
The other most common reason that concrete driveways crack is external circumstances like extreme temperature changes, rain, or snow. If your driveway experiences any of these temperature changes, the concrete’s expansion rate can increase, which can cause cracks to form. Of course, it’s not uncommon for the weather to crack concrete, but the more often it happens, the more likely it is to cause cracks, so it’s important to keep an eye on temperature levels in your area.
In terms of rain and snow, one of the biggest concerns about concrete driveway cracks is that the area will be permanently damaged during the wet season. Cracks aren’t always visible from the street, but they can be quite deep and look very unattractive when they do form. It’s important to repair them as soon as possible, no matter how large they are. It would help if you also ensured that the area isn’t left wet for too long because the constant moisture could eventually cause the crack to expand even more. If this happens, you may end up replacing much of the section anyway – costing you money in the long run.
Asphalt is another less known culprit for cracked concrete and driveway cracks, as asphalt is a very durable material. However, asphalt tends to shrink slightly over time, which can actually contribute to more damage down the line. Because of this, it’s often best to avoid asphalt on larger cracks and use something like concrete instead. Concrete driveway treatments like crack sealers and sealants can help seal in some of that shrinkage and protect the area against future water damage.
When you consider all of the possibilities when it comes to concrete driveway cracks, it’s easy to see why you should be particularly careful of your local climate. Extreme heat can actually contribute to cracking. The cold temperatures that usually cause this type of damage don’t always reach the point where it’s necessary to seal up the area. When there are cracks, the cold temperatures tend to cause a chemical reaction with the cement itself, causing what’s known as “black ice” – essentially damage that’s even harder to repair. It’s usually a good idea to try and keep your driveway and parking lot warmer during the winter months than they might normally be by using heating materials such as furnace blankets or electric heating elements. While this might not fix cracked concrete driveway cracks all on its own, it can make a tremendous difference in terms of how quickly and efficiently you can fix them – making it easier to avoid a costly and inconvenient crack in the first place.
Cracks in concrete driveways and garages aren’t always caused by weather but are often caused by various factors. Regardless of what’s causing the crack, it’s important to understand that it’s something you need to address immediately to prevent further damage. Even if the damage is minor (a small crack), it could be an opportunity for you to improve your concrete driveway and improve your property’s overall look and safety. You can consult with a local contractor who deals in repairing concrete driveways and patios or doing the work yourself. Whatever you decide to do, remember that you should be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to ensure that you get the best result for your driveway. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can improve the look of your concrete driveway, so it’s definitely something worth considering.