You’ve been working really hard on your home’s curb appeal and there’s one thing that has you stumped – the driveway. Do you repair the cracks or bite the bullet and replace the whole driveway? It’s a quandary facing many homeowners today. Let’s look at your options.
Age Matters When It Comes to Concrete
A driveway puts up with a lot, from the weight of the family cars to harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, age does matter when it comes to driveways. Concrete surfaces have a life span of 20-25 years before the materials just give out.
Take a Real Look at Your Driveway
Take a close look at the condition of your concrete. Cracks less than a quarter of an inch wide are usually signs of expansion and contraction due to weather. Cracks larger than a quarter inch may be due to tree roots or water erosion underneath. Potholes are normally a sign that the concrete is deteriorating to the point where it needs to be replaced.
What You Need to Repair Your Concrete Surfaces
- Cement resurfacing mixture – A fast drying polymer based coating that covers cracks.
- Long-handle squeegee – To apply resurfacing material and work into cracks.
- Duct tape – Tape off expansion joints to avoid filling them in with resurfacing solution.
- Chisel – To cut debris from cracks.
- Wire brush – Helps dislodge broken concrete.
- Concrete sealer – Fills and expands in small cracks.
- Trowel – Works sealants into cracks and smooths surface.
- Sand – To fill in deep cracks first before applying sealant.
- Water sealer – Helps waterproof your concrete.
Power Wash Your Driveway
Once you determine the condition of the concrete, power wash your driveway. Use cleaners and scrub brushes to remove motor oil, dirt and stains. A clean surface allows sealants to adhere and fill in cracks fully. Let the concrete dry full before using sealants.
Repair Your Concrete Driveway in 4 Steps
Step 1 – Fill cracks and potholes. Use a trowel to compress concrete caulk or sealer into cracks.
Step 2 – Protect yourself. Many products have harsh chemicals and fumes, so wear gloves and a mask.
Step 3 – Let it cure. It may be 48 hours before you can park cars on it. Read your product instructions for recommendations.
Step 4 – Seal it. After your repairs have dried, protect your concrete with water sealant.
Renew by Resurfacing
Resurfacing is an economical way to renew your concrete at a fraction of the cost of replacing it. The liquid compound dries quickly (in about 30 minutes) so work fast with a squeegee to smooth it across the concrete. Tape off your expansion joints so they aren’t filled. For a non-skid surface, use an old broom to brush across the mixture, giving it texture.
So Many Choices
Resurfacing allows you to choose different finishes (glossy or dull), colors and patterns. Due to the quick drying time, test a small area until you get the look you want. This process is not a permanent fix and will need to be re-done every two to three years.
Improve Your Curb Appeal
If you are trying to sell your home, a cracked driveway is going to raise a red flag for buyers. Consider resurfacing prior to putting your house on the market. It is amazing what a fresh, new driveway can do for your curb appeal.
Keep Your Driveway Looking Good for Years
Replacing a driveway can be a big expense but thankfully one that you only have to do once every 20 years, give or take. Repairing cracks as you find them will help keep your drive looking good for years to come.
From concrete mixers and trowel machines to pressure washers and grout pumps, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY home improvement project. Want more information on repairing a driveway? Our blog, The 7 Step Process to Restore Your Cracked and Eroded Driveways will help. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.