Many homeowners opt for concrete driveways because of the paving material’s versatility and durability. How long does a concrete driveway last?
A properly installed concrete driveway can last up to 30 years with prompt repairs and regular maintenance. However, it’s important to remember that concrete is also affected by harsh natural elements and wear and tear over time, speeding up its aging. Cracking, spalling, sinking, and other issues can appear over time, requiring your prompt attention.
If you’re having trouble determining when repairs are sufficient or a driveway replacement is necessary, we go through the signs that a driveway needs to be repaired but not replaced. We’ll also delve into how to know when a new driveway can be the wiser option.
4 Signs You Need a Driveway Repair
Over time and continued use, a tough material like concrete can also wear down and develop issues. If you observe any of the following in your driveway, it’s a good idea to enlist repairs as soon as possible.
Cracks are visible signs indicating it’s time to call your trusted driveway repair company. They typically form across your concrete’s surface and can harm the material’s foundation and structural integrity the longer they are left unaddressed.
Concrete cracks allow water to penetrate the deeper layers of your concrete, causing further damage. Before this happens, it’s best to enlist professional crack and joint repair services.
Uneven Concrete Surface
When the soil beneath your concrete is unstable, the slabs can sink and become uneven, ultimately creating tripping hazards.
Various factors, like improper land grading during installation, can cause this instability. Soil not compacted adequately before the concrete is poured can also lead to settling in the future, creating voids that compromise the support the slabs receive.
Since your concrete driveway is regularly exposed to natural elements and wear and tear, it’s prone to accumulating dirt and stains. Unfortunately, these factors can also strip it of its protective coating, leading to rusting, darkening, or discoloration.
Fortunately, concrete discoloration doesn’t mean a driveway replacement is necessary. A concrete repair company can assess your driveway’s condition and recommend what can be done to renew its look.
Spalling causes concrete to chip away. This can be caused by too much water added to the concrete mix during installation or improper curing. Fortunately, a professional team can perform resurfacing to repair this issue and give your driveway a smooth and seamless finish again.
Repair Solutions Available for Your Driveway
The following services can generally fix minor issues with your concrete driveway:
Concrete Crack and Joint Repair
If the cracks on your driveway have a width of less than 0.1 mm, they can be fixed by professionals. A typical crack repair process involves the following steps:
- Prepping the area by removing any debris and surface stains
- Caulking the cracks with a long-wearing caulk
- Sealing the original concrete slab joints
- Applying a UV-resistant staining product on top of the compromised area
Concrete crack and joint repair can prevent water from entering through the gaps and penetrating the concrete, protecting it for many years.
For uneven concrete surfaces, professional concrete leveling can help. This is a quick and hassle-free process using polyurethane foam to stabilize the soil supporting the concrete. Once the substrate is compacted and stable, your driveway’s surfaces can be restored to a level position.
Top-Coat Sealing and Waterproofing
Top-coat sealing is an excellent solution for concrete driveways that need added durability and protection from harmful elements like moisture and chemicals. It can also restore worn-out surfaces and add a new look and feel to them.
Waterproofing works similarly. It extends the life of concrete driveways by sealing cracks and joints, keeping water from seeping underneath and eroding the material.
Concrete Maintenance Services
There are several concrete maintenance solutions you can hire to keep your driveway in optimal condition and prolong its life. A few of these include the following:
- Resurfacing: addresses issues like spalling by overlaying slabs with new paving material.
- Epoxy Repairs: This is where epoxy is injected into the concrete to repair cosmetic problems and seal the concrete.
- Grinding: This smooths uneven surfaces.
- Surface Cleaning: Keeps driveways looking good by removing grease and grime. It also eliminates slippery substances from surfaces, helping prevent accidents.
Factors like frequent use and extreme temperature changes can deteriorate your driveway faster. Fortunately, damages to your pavement are often easy to spot. As long as you take prompt action, it will be fairly easy (and less expensive) to repair issues and enjoy your driveway for years to come.
When To Replace Your Driveway
While many driveway issues can be repaired, it also helps to understand when a complete driveway replacement will be more cost-effective.
If you are noticing any of these issues with your driveway, it might be time to replace it:
- Multiple Deep Cracks
Cracks are common on any concrete surface. However, while minor cracks can be easily repaired, those deeper and wider than ¼-inch may mean you need a new driveway. Note that multiple deep cracks must be addressed immediately. Water left in these cracks can freeze and expand as the temperature changes, potentially deepening the cracks further.
- Drainage Issues
Rainwater collecting in multiple areas of your driveway can indicate a replacement may be necessary. Drainage issues can weaken your driveway and create more cracks and potholes, worsening the situation.
Installing curbing or inlets can help with some of the water flow, but replacing the driveway may be the more cost-effective solution to address the damage and keep your driveway safe to use.
- Advanced Age
Concrete driveways are meant to withstand years of use. However, it always pays to ask, how long does a concrete driveway last?
The average lifespan of a concrete driveway is around 30 years, but elements like UV rays, harsh weather, and constant vehicle and foot traffic can speed up its deterioration. If your driveway is over 20 years old, it may be time to get it assessed for a possible replacement.
- Lack of Regular Maintenance
Failing to get regular maintenance for your driveway can be another reason to get a replacement sooner. Concrete resealing is typically required every two years to prevent the material from cracking. Other services like surface cleaning and top-coat sealing help protect the concrete from harmful elements. As such, the lack of regular maintenance can lead to damages beyond repair.
Get Professional Advice From The Driveway Company
Besides serving as entryways into your property, your driveway can also be a play area for your kids or a spacious workspace for your project. As such, ensuring it’s safe, stable, and aesthetically pleasing is important.
Fortunately, as long as your driveway’s structure remains solid, repairs can address minor and even some major issues. Enlisting repairs can get your concrete back in order while saving you time and money compared to tearing out and replacing your driveway.
If you aren’t sure about the structural integrity of your driveway, please don’t hesitate to reach out to experts like The Driveway Company. Having a professional assess your concrete’s condition can point you toward the best solutions for your driveway based on your needs and budget.
The Driveway Company is your one-stop opportunity for all concrete repair and maintenance needs. Contact us today to speak with our friendly and knowledgeable technicians.