Maybe your driveway and your vehicle are battling it out, and it’s time to sort out the uneven potholes that spill your morning every day. Perhaps you’re looking to boost the curbside appeal of your home in preparation for selling one day. Maybe you’re tired of having to weed the driveway in the summers and are looking for anything to give your blistered hands a break. Whatever your reason for seeking a driveway revamp, there are a fair few things you should know about the options available to you, how fast they degrade, and what your local terrain has to say about each type of driveway update. The following will explore some of the things you might want to keep in mind when considering a driveway upgrade.
Understand What You’re Working With
Your driveway’s condition is going to be the first thing that you think about. Sometimes a patch is needed. Other times resurfacing is required, or asphalt is in need of resealing. Sometimes, a replacement is the best way to go.
Because driveways handle the natural elements and thousands of pounds of metal driving over them, they get damaged over time. This damage typically first presents as small cracks on the surface or divots in the material. If these are the only signs present, you’re most likely in need of some patching. Any cracking that is less than a quarter of an inch wide can be treated with liquid crack-fillers. If the cracks are bigger or deeper than that, crack-filling might offer a temporary, aesthetic improvement, but it won’t solve the greater issue beneath, and you can expect further damage to occur.
Holes can be fixed using a patching material that is tamped down until even with the remainder of the driveway. Again, this sort of repair is temporary because water will probably get into the old and new materials and start to get that hole open again.
If your driveway has deeper holes or cracks, you’ll eventually need to replace the concrete or asphalt. Patches can typically extend the life of your driveway, sometimes by a few years, but it won’t look as pretty as new.
Oil Spots And Damage
If the structure of your driveway is fine, but it’s covered in oil spots, there’s an easy fix for you. Degreasing solutions designed specifically for this issue can be purchased and used to scrub away the oil. Not only will this make the driveway appear more admirable, but it will also be safer and less toxic for children and animals.
If The Driveway Is Asphalt, When Was It Sealed Last?
Rain, snow, hail, and sleet all damage your asphalt over time, creating cracks and potholes. The sun is also hard on your driveway; UV rays dry out the asphalt and weaken the material’s bonds. This eventually causes cracks and fissures. To protect the asphalt from these elements (as well as the regular wear and tear of drainage and vehicle weight), a sealer can be used. This layer of coal tar covers the surface and protects it from chemicals, freezing, and the sun. This coating will extend the lifespan of your driveway by creating a protective layer and is the least expensive way to resurface your driveway. The sealer will need to be reapplied every few years and isn’t perfect for all climate conditions. Be sure to ask your local concrete/asphalt specialist about whether a sealer will suit a driveway in your area.
Figure Out How Old Your Driveway Is
If you’ve lived in your home for a while or know the previous owner, this will be much easier on you. Driveway materials, just like all other building and construction materials, have a life span. When it comes to driveways made of asphalt, that life expectancy is somewhere around 20 years; for concrete driveways, you’re looking at a life span of roughly 25 years. If your driveway is close or past these markers, there’s a good chance it’s on its last legs. If the driveway is that old, it’s probably time to think about a complete redo. The amount of patching, crack filling, and sealing you’re going to have to do is going to keep you working constantly. As well, a new driveway, similar to a new roof, is one of the few renovations that typically bring in more money when it’s time to sell. Of course, every real estate market is slightly different, so be sure to speak to your real estate agent before you redo the driveway for this reason alone.
If You Have Cold Winters
Not all of us live in areas where the world freezes over in the winter, but many of us do. Cold climates add a long list of hassles and worries to our winter drives. We’re thinking about safety while on the road; we’ve got to get out and turn the car on well before it’s time to leave so that the vehicle can heat up, and more mornings than not, we’re digging the car out of the driveway, doing our best to scrape away the layers of ice that build up overnight. More than these standard concerns, the folks at Limitlesspavingandconcrete.com explain that icy winters can result in the degradation of your driveway at a faster rate due to the salt and other chemicals we use to keep the ice from forming. For those of us who don’t want to deal with these headaches, there are heated driveway options available. While heated driveways are more expensive, they reduce the cost of driveway repair and replacement, eliminate the cost of paying for the driveway to be plowed or shoveled and keep things safer for you and your family. Depending on where you live, a heated driveway might be an excellent option for you.
The above information should help you determine what state your driveway is in and what options best suit its current condition. Of course, every climate and home is different, which means these are just guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on your specific driveway and what you should be thinking about, reach out to your local concrete/asphalt professionals.