If your home has a driveway, you may have encountered a common problem: cracks. Driveway cracks often start out small and go unnoticed, but they can eventually become so serious that the entire driveway needs to be repaved. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of problems.
How Water Can Damage Your Driveway
Concrete is a porous material. Water from rain or melted snow can make its way into a concrete driveway, freeze and expand when the temperature drops, then contract when the weather turns warmer. This process, if repeated several times over the course of the fall and winter, can cause concrete to crack.
An asphalt driveway can be damaged by frost heave. If the soil under the asphalt gets moist, it can freeze, swell and cause the driveway to crack.
How to Prevent Cracks Caused by Water
Clogged gutters or downspouts can overflow, which can cause water to wind up in places where it doesn’t belong. If water flows toward your driveway and the temperature drops, the water can freeze and cause the driveway to expand and crack. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a simple way to prevent this scenario.
If your driveway doesn’t have enough of a slope, water may not drain properly. Puddles can form, and water can be absorbed by the driveway material and eventually cause cracks. If your driveway doesn’t drain well, you may need to have it repaired.
Applying a sealant to your driveway can repel water and help you prevent cracks. A sealant can be rolled or sprayed on your driveway every few years. Use a sealant appropriate for your driveway’s paving material.
How to Keep Plants From Cracking Your Driveway
Roots of bushes and trees near the driveway can grow underground, put pressure on the driveway, and eventually cause it to crack. Homeowners often don’t realize how far roots extend since they’re hidden from view.
If any trees or bushes are growing near your driveway, remove them. This may be expensive if you have one or more large trees or several bushes, but it’ll be a lot cheaper and much less of a hassle than repaving your entire driveway later.
Edging your driveway is another way to prevent cracks. Keep a few inches along the edge of the driveway free of sod and weeds to allow water to run away from the driveway and prevent it from freezing and causing cracks.
Do What You Can to Prevent Driveway Cracks
A cracked driveway can detract from your home’s curb appeal and be a safety hazard. In many cases, cracks may be prevented if you understand what causes them and take steps to avoid problems. If you notice any cracks in your driveway, deal with them right away, before they have an opportunity to get worse. If you have questions or need help, consult a professional.