Your driveway is not looking good and you’re wondering if it is time to get a replacement. There are two types of damage: manageable and unmanageable.
Some driveways have visible cracks, pitting, and oil stains; all of these are mostly manageable. However, there are a couple of signs you should be aware of to know that it is now time for a new concrete driveway.
5 Signs You Need a New Driveway
What causes crumbling?
Crumbling concrete starts from unmanaged pitting in concrete. Pitting is when golfball sized holes of cement pop out of the surface of the concrete. This can be caused by salt damaging the concrete mixture; it can be due to a bad mixture of concrete from the ready-mix company; and sometimes, it just happens with no explanation at all.
Most crumbling comes from extreme wear and tear from salt, oils, heavy vehicles or machinery abusing that concrete, partnered with a complete lack of maintenance.
Usually, really old driveways fall to the demise of tragic crumbling.
What does crumbling look like?
Crumbling almost looks like your driveway turned from concrete, to stone. Instead of aesthetically pleasing, complete cement surface; there, instead, is a lot of debris and rubble sitting on the surface of the driveway.
Another visual sign of crumbling beginning is the sight of golf ball sized holes everywhere, usually covering at least 70% of the driveway surface.
Most of the time, there are actual rocks and cement chips on surface that you are probably slipping and rolling your ankle on.
Why is crumbling bad?
A crumbling driveway is a dangerous to walk on. With rubble, cement chips, and rocks sitting on the surface of your driveway, it’s like walking on a floor of marbles in the Three Stooges show.
Not only is it unsafe to walk on a crumbling driveway, it is also a clear sign that your driveway has little structural integrity left and no longer serves its purpose.
What causes splitting?
First and foremost, ALL CONCRETE CRACKS EVERY SINGLE TIME. Because of this, splitting can occur.
Cracks are not a problem in concrete unless there are other factors that were improperly installed that makes cracks a problem.
If the contractor installed a poor sub base underneath your concrete driveway, you have a potential for splitting. The sub base will settle unevenly and the cracks will get bigger and wider and split apart.
If the contractor installed rebar reinforcement wrong, you have a potential for splitting. Rebar reinforcement is there to keep the concrete strong and bonded together. Some times, rebar is left on the bottom of the concrete, where it should be in the middle. If it below the concrete, it is serving no purpose and is not holding the concrete together.
If you or the contractor did not backfill properly, you have a potential for splitting. Backfilling is important because it helps hold the concrete in place as well as stops the sub base from washing away.
What does splitting look like?
Splitting looks like a really wide, deep, long cracks. Plain and simple.
If you have weeds grown through your concrete, this is a tell tale sign of splitting. Sometimes grass even grows through when the splitting is wide enough.
Why is splitting bad?
Splitting leads to uneven surfaces which leads to trip hazards. Tripping leads to falling and falling leads to broken bones and having broken bones, well it’s just not fun.
Splitting can also create sharp edges. These sharp edges can be dangerous of course if you cut yourself on them but they are also a potential threat to tires on your car, bike tires, and whatever you might be rolling or pulling over your driveway.
What causes uneven surfaces?
Uneven surfaces are a lot like splitting but instead of separating in a sideway fashion, the concrete separates in an upward fashion.
Uneven surfaces are mostly caused by improper installation of rebar reinforcement and extremely settled sub base.
When the rebar reinforcement is not holding the concrete together and the sub base is improperly installed, this duo can create a tragic ending with uneven surfaces.
The sub base moves, the concrete moves, and the concrete has nothing holding it together (rebar reinforcement) so the concrete moves elevations with the sub base.
What do uneven surfaces look like?
This is a very easy sign to visually pick up on. To break it down easily tho, uneven surfaces are big cracks where one slab is above or below the next piece of concrete.
If you are tripping on your concrete, it is uneven.
Why are uneven surfaces bad?
As I have mentioned a couple of times already, uneven surfaces are extreme trip hazards. No one ever wants to trip on anything, am I right?
Also, uneven surfaces only get worse with time. The longer you avoid replacing your driveway with this problem, the worse it is going to get.
Lastly, with uneven surfaces, you are not able to use anything with low clearance. Pulling your garbage cans is a pain, if you have a low sitting car you can bottom out, and roller blading… for get about it.
Sitting Water or Flooding
What causes sitting water or flooding?
When water sits on your concrete it is because there is improper pitch on the driveway or there is a dip in the concrete surface leaving a “bird bath” type of puddle.
Your driveway needs appropriate pitch (or slope) so that water will run and not sit in place.
Sitting water or flooding can either come from improper installation or settling of the sub base where the driveway pitch is shifted.
Flooding comes when the pitch of the driveway moves the water towards the home or building. When water has no where to go but inside, it will cause flooding which opens up a whole can of worms.
What does sitting water and flooding look like?
After a good rainfall or if you are watering your driveway (yes this is a thing) and you see water sitting or running towards your home and not away from it; you have a problem.
You will also see water sitting on the driveway or wedged against your home and driveway.
Why is sitting water and flooding bad?
Sitting water is dangerous because it can cause a slip hazard which is not safe for people to walk on. Also, if you live in cold weather climates, water turns to ice and then you are really not in good shape walking on ice or even trying to drive on the ice.
Flooding in a home is very bad news and can cause thousands of dollars of damages. Please avoid flooding from a bad driveway at all costs.
Sometimes your driveway might not even look bad visually, but because it is pitching towards your home, you are putting yourself in a lot of potential headaches.
You Don’t Have a Paved Driveway
It might be time for you to get a new driveway, if you don’t even have a driveway! Maybe you’ve been driving on grass or stone or on hopes and dreams. Either way, if you do not have a driveway, it is definitely time for a new driveway.