While concrete is a more durable surface for a driveway than asphalt, it still doesn't last forever. Even if you fill cracks when they appear and apply concrete sealant every two years, shifting soil can still destroy its foundation. The concrete will weaken with age, as well.
If your concrete driveway looks worn, you may be wondering if it's time to replace it or if you should make repairs yourself. To answer your question, read on to learn when concrete driveway replacement is the best choice.
Cracks Keep Appearing in Your Driveway
When cracks or holes appear in your concrete driveway, it's important to seal them as quickly as possible. You can purchase crack filler that's manufactured for this purpose or simply use concrete to patch them.
Cracks and holes allow water to penetrate into the driveway, which can damage it. If you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, water in the crevices can freeze and place immense pressure on the concrete surrounding them, which will cause considerable damage.
When you need to fill cracks frequently, however, it's a sign that you need to replace your concrete driveway. Cracks can form due to the pressure exerted on the driveway from vehicles parking on it. They can also form when the soil underneath the driveway begins to shift. The foundation underneath of the driveway shifts with it, and this causes cracks to form on the concrete surface.
Frequent cracking is usually a sign of a shifting foundation, and the only way to fix it is to remove the driveway, shore up the foundation and compact it again. Without replacing your driveway, the extensive cracking will only worsen, and your driveway will quickly deteriorate.
A Portion of Your Driveway Is Sinking
When the soil underneath of your driveway starts to erode, a portion of your driveway may start to sink. This is typically caused by a drainage issue on your property, as water running past your driveway will quickly erode the soil.
You can slabjack your driveway in order to make it level again. A contractor will cut a hole in your driveway and then inject a cement slurry into the hole that will raise the sunken portion of the concrete slab. While this will fix your driveway, it's often not the best solution.
Once soil erosion begins, the gravel foundation will typically begin settling and shifting afterwards. You'll experience frequent cracking as the foundation shifts. When your driveway starts to sink, it's usually better to opt for concrete driveway replacement rather than slabjacking, as you'll be able to fix any issues with the foundation.
Your Driveway Has Multiple Large Potholes
It's common for small potholes to form in concrete driveways due to the fact that they have heavy vehicles traveling over them. When your driveway has numerous potholes, however, it's usually an indication that the concrete is losing structural strength due to its age. If you don't replace it, potholes will continue to form. The only way to keep your driveway in good condition is to replace it entirely with new, stronger concrete.
Overall, the two biggest reasons to replace your concrete driveway are age and the condition of the gravel foundation. If the foundation starts to develop problems, the only way to fix it is to remove and replace the driveway. If your driveway is developing cracks and potholes frequently or is beginning to sink, call a concrete contractor and ask about having the driveway replaced. Concrete driveway replacement is almost always the only solution to fix a driveway that's old or that has a failing foundation.