Preventing and Replacing Cracked Driveways

Cracks formed in an asphalt driveway.A driveway is the opening to your home. It’s the very first thing that you and your guests see and step on upon arriving at your home. A cracked, damaged driveway is not only unsightly but unsafe. How can you replace your driveway and make sure that you don’t need to replace it again soon?

Causes from Above the Driveway

During the winter, it’s common practice to salt ice and snow, or apply ice-melting products. This can actually be very harmful to your driveway, especially if you don’t have a proper sealant. Melting ice seeps into the asphalt or concrete and when re-frozen expands, forming cracks that have the potential to grow and cause more damage. This is often called the “freeze-thaw cycle” and it cause serious damage, especially during harsh winters. Salting only makes this problem worse.

It’s also dangerous to have excessive weight on your driveway for extended periods of time. It’s recommended not to have anything that’s over 10,000 pounds sitting on your driveway for too long, to prevent cracking and sinking.

Causes from Below the Driveway

Just as things above your driveway can cause damage, things below it can too. One major cause of driveway cracking is an improper base. Some contractors will skimp on installing a decent base for your driveway in order to save time or cut costs. A good driveway base will usually consist of a half foot to a foot (depending on your soil) of crushed gravel. This allows for good drainage, but firm packing for a stable foundation. If your contractor recommends sand or dirt for your driveway base, they don’t have what’s best in mind for you or your home.

Another common issue that causes driveway damage is tree roots. You may want to consider adjusting the placement of your driveway if trees are an issue, or setting up a root blocking system.

Driveway Crack Prevention

The best way to prevent driveway damage is to get your driveway installed properly. Other things to keep in mind are to avoid salting your driveway by using sand instead, to try not to leave excessive weight on it for too long, and to consider taking down trees or blocking roots if they present a problem. It’s also a good idea to get your driveway sealed for further protection from the elements.

Signs to Replace a Driveway

If your driveway has significant cracking, warping, buckling, or sinking, it’s probably time to replace, no matter what kind of driveway you have. All materials, including asphalt, concrete, and pavers are at risk for damage from all the sources above.

Steps in Replacing Your Driveway

Replacing your driveway can seem like a daunting task, but it’s worth it if your driveway is in need of repair. Not only does it make your driveway safer, but it also adds serious curb appeal to your home. To replace your driveway, first the old driveway must be excavated and cleared away. Then a proper stone and gravel base must be installed and compacted to ensure stability. The driveway is then paved, graded, and sealed to finish the asphalt surface. Learn more about the process in our Keys to Driveway Excavation blog.

Here at New England Enterprises, we’re dedicated to giving you great service with lasting results. Trust us to replace your driveway, install retaining walls, construct patios, and much more. Visit our blog for more home and landscaping tips and contact us for a consultation on your driveway today.