When people think of driveway maintenance, they picture digging up the whole driveway, laying a new layer of asphalt, and covering the entire thing with gravel or pavers. That kind of pricey repair is not an option for most homeowners. However, it doesn’t have to be that difficult to keep your driveway.
Today, we’re going to talk to you about the most common issues, like small potholes and cracks, and of course, we’re going to tell you how to fix them. Let’s begin.
1. Alligator Cracks
Alligator cracking is the most common problem you can face with your driveway. As you can tell by the name, this is a problem where your driveway cracks many times, and the overall pattern resembles the alligator back. It usually happens over time – therefore, it is also called fatigue cracking.
This problem occurs for a number of factors aside from just time and regular wear and tear. Apart from that, it usually happens if the asphalt is too thin or the base of the driveways is too weak. Also, fatigue cracking happens under a lot of stress.
There are two ways to fix this issue: The first one would be an affordable, short term fix. All you’d need to do is apply crack filler or seal coating, which would be fine for some time, as it would stop the spreading of cracks. It would also prevent water from penetrating your driveway and ruining it further. However, it wouldn’t solve your problem permanently.
The real, long-term solution would require professional help, like the one you could get from corpuschristitxconcrete.com. The repair would include digging underneath your driveway to identify the problem, which would then be followed with proper installation of the driveway base, as well as new and sturdy asphalt.
2. Longitudinal Cracks
Another quite common problem we notice is longitudinal cracks in the driveway. Once again, as you can tell from the name, these cracks happen along the length of the driveway, almost in a straight line. They are quite often, even more so than alligator cracks, but are also harder to fix.
What causes them is mostly poor construction of the driveway joints, but it is also possible for these to develop due to the shrinking and expansion of the concrete or asphalt. Shrinkage and expansion usually occur as the result of large differences in temperature over the seasons.
As was the case previously, once again, we have two ways to solve this issue. The easy, DIY fix is reserved only for smaller cracks, and it involves applying a crack sealant to prevent further damage, like raveling or gaping of the crack.
For larger, more prominent cracks, you’re going to want to seek professional assistance. And, just to clarify, by large crack, we mean any crack that’s over half an inch in width. Since there are several solutions to this problem, you’ll want to call for professional help and get their expert opinion of the right course of action.
3. Block Cracks
Block cracks are probably one of the most common problems people face. These are rectangular cracks in the asphalt of the driveway, and they are usually quite large in size. Unlike alligator cracks, these don’t happen because of heavy load from your vehicles but are rather there for other reasons.
The most common cause for this defect is due to the use of bad asphalt binder. When you use a bad binder, the asphalt isn’t tightly tied together, and when the temperature changes, the asphalt expands and contracts, causing cracks of rectangular shapes.
If you notice cracks that are less than half an inch wide, you can try and solve them with crack sealant to prevent any moisture or debris from entering the cracks and furthering the damage. However, crack sealant is not a long-term solution, considering the damage is caused by a bad binder.
What you will want to do instead is contact a professional. What they will do is remove the cracked asphalt from your driveway and replace it with a new one, using the best materials to ensure longevity and durability.
Potholes are literal holes in your driveway, and apart from looking horrendous, they can cause quite a bit of damage to your vehicle and even cause injuries to you or your loved ones. Some potholes can be more than a few inches deep, depending on the thickness of the layers of your driveway.
The thing about them is that they will increase in size if left untreated, so if you start to notice some of them forming – you should act straight away. In fact, they are the direct result of alligator cracks, so it’s best to act as soon as you notice the cracks instead of waiting for the potholes to appear.
When it comes to potholes – there are three ways in which you can approach fixing them
The first way is called throw-and-roll. It is the easiest one and is often used for smaller potholes. It involves no preparation whatsoever. All you need to do is insert patching material into the pothole, whether there’s water and dirt inside of it or not. Then, you’ll want to even it out using a patching truck until you are left with a nice and smooth driveway.
The next option will be done by the pros, and it involves a lot more work. Before you start inserting the patch material inside of the pothole, you will want to clean out the pothole entirely. Once you do that, the pothole will have to be squared, removing all the damaged asphalt until you are left with a rectangular hole with sharp, healthy edges.
Then, the patching material will be poured into a pothole until fully filled. Once it’s filled, the patching material will be pressed with a vibratory plate until nice and smooth.
And finally, the third option is removing all the asphalt and building a new driveway, which you’ll also want to do with professional help.
Whether it is just small cracks or large potholes, ignoring the problem will only make matters worse. Nothing good will come out of it, so we sincerely hope that you will take our advice to heart and fix your driveway as soon as you notice any signs of damage.