DIY Driveway

DIY Driveway

5 DRIVEWAY CRACKS & DEFECTS TO BE AWARE OF

by GAVIN HEWITSON

What Is Wrong With My Driveway?

The first thing you need to do before you try and fix your driveway cracks or anything else is to try and figure out what is causing the problems in the first place.

Below is a complete list of potential problems you could be having with your driveway. If you think there are more we should add or if you have any questions, send us a message or comment below.

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One of the most common issues with driveways is a cracked surface.

Surface Driveway Cracks

Hairline Driveway Crack

1. Hairline Cracks

Hairline driveway cracks are non-structural cracks. This means that at their current state, they will not damage the overall integrity of your driveway. Still, it is important to seal these cracks for cosmetic purposes as well as a preventative measure for future cracks.
 
For the most part, hairline cracks are a sign of general wear and tear and are nothing to be alarmed by. The average lifespan of a concrete/asphalt driveway is roughly 20/30 years. These cracks will usually appear within 5 to 10 years. During the day, the sun heats the surface causing the concrete/asphalt to expand. During the night, the surface cools causing it to contract and leads to these cracks forming

Usually, simply applying a layer of sealant is all it takes to seal up these ugly cracks.

Aligator/Spiderweb Driveway Crack

2. Spider Web or Alligator Scale Cracks

Alligator or spiderweb driveway cracks are also known as general fatigue cracks. These are generally the result of a poorly made driveway. This type of driveway crack is a result of the asphalt or concrete being too thin. Once weight gets applied to the surface these cracks begin to appear.

This is just like the initial stages of ice cracking under pressure. Imagine someone who is standing on ice. Before that person falls through the ice, a spiderweb-like series of cracks will appear. This is the same with concrete and asphalt, except no one is going to fall through to some freezing water.
 
When cracks appear in your driveway, water is trapped. This water is oxidized which makes these cracks even bigger. This type of crack in your driveway can lead to potholes forming when loose bits of rubble are displaced. 
 
The best solution for alligator/spiderweb cracks is to cut out the affected area and re-seal it. Ensure that the reseal is the same color as the driveway's surface. Also, make sure the surfaces are all level for a nice flat driveway.

3. Crumbling Driveway Edges

Driveway edges crumble when the asphalt/concrete is too thin around the driveway's ends. When to much weight is placed on one area, much like aligator cracks, the surface simply crumbles.

Driveway Cracked Edge
Photo Credit: Driveway Armourcracking begins.

 
This is very common for the edges of driveways as they are typical the thinnest area on the surface. These cracks are not detrimental to the driveway itself and are general considered cosmetic problems rather than structural ones.
 
If you want to fix this, you first need to cut away the affected edges. Once the effected part is removed, replace it with brick or a new thicker coating of concrete/asphalt.
 
If you wish to prevent the side of your driveway eroding, the solution is to backfill. Compress the soil around the edges and put grass seed on top of this compressed soil. Once the new grass grows, it will give extra support to the driveway's edge, plus it will look a whole lot nicer.

Driveway Sinkage

Puddles On The Side Of Driveway

4. Sinking & Puddles Around Your Driveway

Incorrect drainage of water can lead to puddles and trenches on the side of your driveway. When water runs off your driveway, it wants to drain to the side (depending on the slope). This results in water pooling on both sides if there is no correct drainage. Over time this sitting water muddies and can be harmful to your driveway.
 
If there is an incline or decline on the driveway, the water will then run in the according direction. This moving water carves out a trench like dip on the side of the driveway.
 
I have written a post on how to prevent/solve these puddles and trenches from forming, check it out here.

5. Wavy Driveway

Driveway waves or ripples can be a result of a few factors.
 
Incorrectly compacted earth on the base of the driveway can cause these ripples and waves. When excessive weight is placed on top of the soft earth an impression will begin to form on the driveways surface. To prevent this, ensure the excavation and compaction of the soil are done properly in the first place. Asphalt is far more susceptible to these wavy patterns as concrete tends to crack rather than dip.
 
The soil or base substance must be compacted before any layers are applied to the base. This ensures that the soil below the driveway is also supporting the weight applied on the surface.
 
The second reason for the wave-like appearance is the sheer weight on top of the driveway. Heavy vehicles such as camper vans or RV's can be to much weight for your driveway to handle. Over time, this weight will displace the asphalt on the surface.
 
Most residential driveways are not built to sustain this amount of weight. In saying that, it is totally fine to occasionally park a heavy vehicle on a driveway but doing this repeatably will take a toll.
 
The solutions to this problem are pretty straight forward. One, resurface your driveway until everything is level once again. Two, avoid parking heavy vehicles on the driveway. Three, tear up the driveway, re-compact the base and re-fill the driveway.