While you are preparing your home for upcoming cold weather, you may be considering repairing or replacing your driveway. There are pros and cons to each choice and your driveway may be a candidate for a third option that adds increased visual appeal. Decide which option is right for you so this winter you, your family, and your guests will use a safe and beautiful driveway.
Freeze-thaw cycles and regular use slowly erode your driveway and cause small surface cracks. Cracks less than a quarter inch wide can be repaired with liquid crack-fillers, but cracks larger than a quarter inch wide can indicate more troubling problems. Filling these cracks will provide a temporary solution but water will settle between the old and new material and the cracking will continue. Repairs can delay replacement but at the expense of visual appeal.
Asphalt driveways over 20 years old and concrete driveways over 25 years old are due to be replaced. Other factors that contribute to cracks are improper installation, growing tree roots, and the use of salt as a de-icer. The improper installation of a driveway’s base is the most common cause of cracks. This is no time to try to save a few dollars by doing it yourself. Hire a professional driveway contractor from a reputable paving company to install the driveway. They will install tightly pack crushed stone over an aggregate base before topping with asphalt or concrete. Growing tree roots apply pressure. As the pressure builds your driveway will crack. You may want to consider removing nearby trees or installing a tree root barrier system on the sides of your driveway. Using salt on your iced driveway speeds up snow’s thawing process but allows the water to seep directly into the paved surface, where it will refreeze and result in a crack. Use sand on a snowy driveway instead.
A third option for your driveway is a resurfacing, where an experienced contractor applies a thin layer of cement based material, applied directly to the existing concrete. With resurfacing, you’ll save money, resources, and eliminate the disposal of materials. If you have no issues with your driveway’s foundation, and want the look of a new driveway without the big price tag, resurfacing may be the perfect choice. With resurfacing there are many decorative options, including stamping, staining, and texturing. You can customize the colors, patterns, and finishes to blend with other decorative elements of your home, such as brick, flagstone, or slate.
A cracked driveway can be a minor or a major problem. Consider these options to decide which is best for improving the look and safety of your driveway. Before the cold weather sets in, enhance the appearance of your home and give a great first impression to your holiday guests as well as a welcoming path for you to approach your home every day.