Concrete driveways are a popular choice because they are durable, yet economical. Once installed, they require little maintenance and last for many years. However, the biggest problem with concrete driveways is cracking, and there are a number of reasons why this happens. The most common is due to poor installation. Sometimes the sub-base is inadequate or the concrete mix may not be right for your climate. But even if you have a professional concrete contractor install your driveway, there are some things you should know about to help prevent cracking and other problems that can occur in your driveway over time. Here are five tips to keep your concrete driveway from cracking.
1. Concrete Driveways Should Be Reinforced
Concrete driveways should be reinforced with fibrous materials called rebar to help prevent cracks from forming in the first place. Once cracked, it’s difficult to repair a concrete driveway without completely replacing it, so reinforcing it beforehand will help avoid problems down the road.
2. Prevent Cracks by Controlling Water Run-off From Your Driveway
Another way to prevent cracks forming in your concrete driveway is by controlling how much water run-off occurs on top of it. If you live in an area that has heavy rainfall or if your driveway is at the bottom of a hill, this may be a challenge for you as it could cause water build-up on the surface. This may cause cracks to form when the water freezes. So, as much as possible, try to ensure that there aren’t any drains or downspouts directing water onto your concrete driveway. This can lead to both erosion and cracks forming in your concrete driveway over time. Using gutters and downspouts can help direct rainwater away from your driveway to avoid this problem.
3. Seal Your Concrete Driveway
Driveways that are sealed will last longer, as the sealer adds a protective layer that keeps your concrete driveway from cracking due to deterioration, extreme temperature changes and hazardous chemical spills. If it’s just a few years old and not showing any signs of cracking, you don’t need to reseal it yet. Just wait for the first signs of wear and tear and then hire a concrete contractor to apply a sealant to your driveway.
4. Find and Fix the Cracks Early
The most important thing you can do to prevent cracks in your concrete driveway is to find any cracks early and fix them quickly. Concrete repair compounds are designed to be used at early stages of cracking, so it is important not to let cracks sit for too long before you repair them. Once cracks get bigger than about a quarter-inch wide, the crack filling material is less likely to adhere or bond in the crack. This can result in more cracking or even spilling where concrete flakes off of the surface.
5. Don’t Let Ice Form on It
During the winter months, salt can be very harmful to your driveway. Salt can eat away at the concrete and cause cracking and deterioration. Instead of using salt, consider using gravel to increase traction instead.
A driveway is often the first thing people notice about your home. It’s not only a practical feature that makes it easier to park your car and access your garage, but it also plays a big role in the overall appearance of your home. A concrete driveway can last for decades, but only if you hire a professional concrete contractor to install it, and take care measures to care for it.