Handle Driveway Repairs On Your Own
How To Handle Driveway Repairs Like A Professional
Is your driveway a royal mess?
Perhaps you have cracks and holes or it keeps falling to pieces?
I’m sure you’re thinking you may need to start over and rebuild your driveway. But wait just a second.
No need to go all the way to a complete reinstalling of your driveway.
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In this article, we’re going to actually teach you some of the fundamental principles that go into driveway repairs.
Once you learn what goes into repairing a driveway you will gain the insights needed to make an informed decision – as to whether you should repair or not.
Why You Should Try To Repair Your Driveway Instead Of Rebuilding It
You may think redoing a driveway is not a very complicated process. After all, it’s just a concrete slab on the floor, or is it?
However, there’s much more going on with your driveway than meets the eye.
For one thing, underneath it all, there’s a proper foundation that provides the essential structure and strength to the surface of your driveway on top.
And the foundation is a major cost factor to consider if it needs to be done over. You also want your foundation to be laid perfectly in order to avoid problems later on. So you wouldn’t want to cut on costs by hiring anyone other than a professional to build your foundation.
This is one of the main reasons why most people prefer to repair a driveway instead of starting from scratch. It’s the foundation that brings about the most expenses and the accompanying headaches that arise when committing to a project of this scale. In most cases, you can very effectively treat a malformed driveway to a series of improvements.
These repairs will actually extend the lifetime and durability of your driveway. And you may never have to worry about doing a total reinstall for many years to come. Nor will you have to sell away half the house in order to do them.
So remember if you absolutely have to dig up the driveway and have it reinstalled, you can expect it will turn out to be a very expensive affair indeed.
However, regardless of the type of driveway you have, if it’s covered in brick paving, or asphalt, or concrete – there are many solutions to common problems that can be had for very little investment on your part. And many of these little repairs can be successfully completed by yourself.
For instance, if you apply professional treatments to cracks in your paving, then that’s one problem solved. You will be preventing the cracks from spreading. And that’s reasonably affordable. You can now move on to the next issue that needs attention. We’re going to show you further that it’s often a better idea to patch the driveway where you can. Only in extreme cases should you consider a full-on replacement for your driveway.
How Easy It Is To Conduct Basic Driveway Repairs
Driveways made out of concrete or asphalt are usually very simple to maintain. They are also conveniently repaired if you possess the skills as well as they know how. For each of these types of driveways repairs, you can purchase ready-made repair kits – all of which make the task of maintenance very straightforward and hassle-free. Granted, there is a bit of work involved to get the job done.
But you could go the DIY route and save even more money. Hiring a professional though, will make the final result look and last for much longer.
Tips For Repairing Driveway Cracks
No matter how strong the driveway, it has to stand the test of time and take a constant beating from the elements. It also has to withstand the weight and movement of vehicles. Wet and dry spell of weather, and surviving through many seasons of hot and cold, can leave your driveway littered with unsightly cracks and crevices.
The best remedy for driveway cracks is to perform some patching up work to the affected areas. Smaller cracks which are noticeably less than a quarter of an inch mean you still have the hope of patching up to prevent further degradation. Here you could use a variety of liquid-based filler which will cover the cracks nicely.
You could do a similar patching up for bigger cracks as well. But bear in mind, if the cracks actually run deeper this is not going to solve the problem long term.
For cracks like these, you should use driveway patching material. This allows to make the affected area flush with the rest of the surface of the driveway and is stronger than the basic liquid fillers.
Patching is usually a very effective first step in driveway repairs which will save time and money until more severe problems come along. For instance, if you have potholes developing in your driveway, then obviously patching will not be of any use. Either you will have to fill these up with concrete or consider resurfacing the driveway.
If You Need To Resurface Your Driveway
Remember resurfacing a driveway is yet not the same thing as installing a new one. Once you are convinced patching will not work to fix your driveway, resurfacing fits as the next stage of driveway repair you should consider.
Resurfacing involves stripping away the upper surface of your driveway, and then replacing or re-plastering or re-paving it as required. This avoids you having to dig all the way to the foundation – which will still prove more expensive than this remedy.
The beauty of a resurfacing treatment, when done correctly, is it make your driveway appear instantly brand new. Even though you will know the secret and the amount of money you saved. Many of your friends will actually think you had the entire driveway rebuilt. So resurfacing may serve as the best intermediate solution for your driveway repairs. But keep in mind if there are underlying issues going on with your foundation, resurfacing will not address them. If there are problems with the foundation, then at that stage, you will have little option but to have it reinstalled.
How To Reseal Your Driveway – A Step By Step Guide
Here’s a simple but effective project you can do yourself, or even with a bit of help from your friends, which will add many years of durability to your driveway.
Firstly make sure there’s no rain on the weather forecasts for a couple of days. You’re going to need dry weather for this method to work.
This methodology is often used by expert driveway repairmen in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
1. Do a complete clean up of your driveway
Get rid of all the dirt, rubble, and dried leaves from the surface of your driveway. You can use a broom, that’s fine, but a leaf blower helps even better to remove dust and tiny pebbles.
You also going to want to pull out all the weeds and grasses that have found their way through the surface of your driveway.
If you have moss anywhere on the driveway, get rid of it with a pressure washer. You should especially treat shaded areas of the driveway because this often where moss likes to grow. Another way to get rid of moss is to spray it with bleach. Simply fill an old spray bottle with household bleach and you’re good to go. This also makes it easier to lift sections of moss with a scraper.
And lastly, any oil stains you find can be cleaned out with a de-greasing agent. Give the driveway a good hose down washing away all the last remaining particles of grit. Now let it dry for the next step in our resealing repair job.
2. Time to patch up those cracks and fill up those holes
Lot’s of folks don’t see the need of patching up cracks since they’re going to be using sealant anyway. But we advise taking the trouble to do so because it ensures your final result will be much more hard wearing and attractive as well.
Your basic liquid crack filler is ideal for cracks and little holes which are up to about half an inch wide. It’s also very easy to use. If you happen to apply too much crack filler by mistake you can simply use a scraper to neaten out your work.
One of the key advantages is filling the cracks up in this way, before even jumping to the sealant, is that your driveway will appear perfectly level once you’re complete. This is because the crack filler tends to even out naturally as it’s drying. You will need about 5 to 8 hours max for your filler to be fully dried.
For your larger cracks and gashes in the driveway, make use of both patch and tamper to make sure the entire driveway’s surface is fixed. Driveway patch typically requires more time for it to set and remain strong. So allow a maximum of 6 weeks to complete the process.
3. You’re now ready to apply the driveway sealant
Here as well you going to prefer absolute dry weather for up to two days. Do a last-minute sweep up off the driveway or use a blower even better effect.
Now prepare the sealant as per instructions.
It’s always a good idea to mix up a single bucket at a time, completing one are with that bucket, and then moving on to another bucket.
To make sure each bucket of sealant is adequately mixed simply turn it upside down for a while, and then right way up again. It should now be ready for use and you can go ahead and pop it open.
4. Complete the driveway’s cornering in style
Don’t forget to plan your approach when tackling the whole driveway with sealant. You don’t want to get stuck in a corner. So it’s best to start where your driveway meets the walls of your garage or house etc. and then work away from there.
To neatly finish those areas where the driveway site directly adjacent to a wall or corner, an old paint brush will do the trick. Take your time to really bring out a professionally finished appearance.
As for the remaining bulk portions of the driveway, you can use a squeegee attached to a broom handle for convenience and speeding up the process.
5. What to do at the edges of your driveway
Edging requires a bit more care and tenacity to be done correctly. Keep in mind also that a bucket of sealant may prove very heavy for you to carry around after a while. So be sure not to trip or allow spillages to occur. Spills will spoil all your efforts up to this point.
To finish off the edges on your driveway using a hand-held squeegee this time. Hold the squeegee at an angle, apply an amount pressure as you drag the sealant along the edge towards you. This will fill in any gaps and produce a neatly contoured surface that is uniform along the entire edge of the driveway. Sealant also evens out very similarly to the crack filler you used earlier.
You may need to go over certain areas again in order to bring out the straight leveled appearance you are trying to achieve. Be sure as well, to attend to any corners, where the driveway hits a wall, as you’re going along. This will make your completed driveway look really professional.
6. What about a second coat?
Some people will tell you it’s not necessary. But the second coat of sealant will help you to iron out any noticeable discrepancies along the driveway’s surface. It also ensures the surface remains resilient for a much longer period of time.
Remember to allow at least 24 hours to pass after applying driveway sealant. This will apply to both your first and second coat.
Immediately after applying your second and final coat, be especially careful not to allow anyone to walk on the driveway’s surface. It really needs a full 24 hours before it is ready. And for vehicles driving over it, you should be even more particular. A good 72 hours will make sure all your hard work does not go to waste. You can create some barriers around the key areas of the driveway using those very same empty sealant buckets you now have lying around.
How To Fix Problems Peculiar To Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt driveways look especially terrible when they have developed horrendous looking potholes and sinkholes. They’re even messier to fix than say a driveway which is covered up in concrete. You could try to fix your asphalt driveway yourself but for the best outcomes, it’s better to consult the professionals.
As long as the problems with your asphalt driveway have not reached an advanced stage, you can still get decent results with basic repair techniques. If there are simply too many ugly holes spread out over your asphalt driveway, then it might be a good time to look at resurfacing.
How To Differentiate Between Potholes and Sinkholes In Asphalt
Remember with an asphalt surface, a pothole indicates that a significant amount of asphalt has been lost. This is why we said it’s not as easy as filling up with concrete. Asphalt usually forms a separate layer that makes up the surface of your driveway. So filling a pothole most often requires other materials in addition to the asphalt.
Potholes are definitely among the driveway issues that you cannot afford to ignore. As you’re well aware constant driving over them only makes the problem worse. If left unattended, these could eventually result in huge areas of your driveway being torn away.
And you would never guess where those potholes arrived from so mysteriously.
Remember those little cracks in the surface of your driveway? The ones which are so easy to fill and patch up? That’s where all potholes start developing in the first place. Sometimes even within a shorter period of time than you were expecting.
So it is good to that know that the main cause of potholes is very much the same as the causes of cracking of your asphalt. These are mainly directly on the surface – wear and tear from driving over, as well as the long-term effects of weather and temperature.
More Information On Driveway Paving
One thing you know for sure, once a pothole is created in your driveway, it’s downhill from there. Again, this is because a small pothole almost always turns into a bigger one.
Sinkholes are a different creature of driveway problems you are ever likely to encounter. These are not caused by elements applying directly to the surface, as we’ve seen with potholes. Instead with sinkholes, the actual causes and problems originate invisibly below the surface of your driveway.
Many times sinkholes can appear out of nowhere. This happens when a section of the ground beneath your driveway gives way to settling, often immediately after a new layer of asphalt has just been laid. One of the causes is the foundation was not properly done, and so it is not strong enough to withstand the full weight of the asphalt.
Another reason could be the asphalt becomes pliable under the extremes of heat and sunlight, and then it seeps into the foundation material below. This causes the foundation to collapse in certain areas, pulling down on the sticky asphalt surface, and ultimately bringing about a sinkhole.
At a minimum, you’ll be lucky if minor cracks are the worst result occurring from such a situation. But remember these are not the usual cracks you find which are based on external elements or erosion. So you may eventually still end up with the problem of sinkholes.
My Driveway Is Very Old, Should I Still Bother To Repair It?
You can definitely keep on doing repairs and improvement on your driveway – over many years in fact. But eventually, it becomes a case of diminishing returns. It depends on how old your driveway is.
Most asphalt driveways can keep going strong for up to 20 according to driveway experts in Harrisburg. Throughout this time you can get away with patching and filling, and even conduct one or two resurfacing projects in between. However, once you get up to 25 years, the structure beneath your driveway will probably need attention.
So yes, if the age of your driveway is a concern, you may want to give up the repair cycle and make it brand new.
What happens after so many years is that the materials making up your driveway simply cannot keep on going. They have after all weathered against the elements for a really long time. At this stage, continued repairs will turn out to be impractical.
How you will know this, is that the time taken between your various repair efforts will keep on getting shorter and shorter. Meaning the repairs you do do not seem to hold up anymore.
But remember sometimes age may not be the only determining factor behind this happening. Your driveway could be just five years old and yet you find yourself experiencing this problem.
Other Reason For Hiring Professionals
There could well be other underlying issues that only a professional will be able to identify.
And then there those folks who feel like repairing or reinstalling their driveway for reasons other than we have discussed so far.
Many people are very particular about the aesthetics of their homes and surrounding area. This includes the appearance of the driveway which they feel ought to complement the beauty of the home itself. Either they have endured the wear and tear of a driveway that no longer matches the house which is well kept, or the driveway has been damaged in some way.
Sometimes it may be the person is intending to sell the property. So they feel that the driveway after many years could use a revamp. Or even a complete rebuilding if the driveway is in particularly bad condition.
In such cases, it’s apparent that the driveway would otherwise turn away potential buyers, so the decision to reinstall it serves the greater goal of securing the sale.
If you are in the position to sell your home any time soon, then yes, a brand new driveway will certainly look more appealing than one which has several patches all over it.
This does not necessarily mean, however, that a new driveway will somehow inflate the value of your property. Keep this in mind yet again, because installing a driveway almost always proves to be a very expensive undertaking.
So the expenses involved in rebuilding will not automatically be made back in part even though you’re selling the property as a whole.