Repairing a Cracked Driveway

A crack in a driveway can not only be an eyesore but a hazard for your home as well. Not only do you have to worry about the damage to your tires and potentially tripping over the uneven ground but a severe crack could cause your driveway to fail a city inspection when you want to sell your house. What you use to repair the crack will depend on what your driveway is made of and the climate in your area so you will need to do your research before you buy any repair products.

Patching Driveways in Varied Climates

Most cracks in a concrete driveway occur because the cement expands and retracts as the temperature changes throughout the year. If it does not have enough room to move, the layer will split, resulting in a nasty crack that will need to be repaired. This will need to be done in such a way that the concrete can move as necessary or you will simply wind up with another crack that needs to be filled in later.

If the crack in your driveway is small all you need to do is perform some preventative maintenance to help prevent the crack from turning into a serious problem, much like you would take preventive measures after removing mold from walls. You can purchase concrete sealer from your local hardware store. Simply pour this material into the crack and let it set according to the instructions. Taking the time to fill in all potential cracks can prevent serious damage later.

Cracks that are already quite large will need to be cleaned out before you can fill them in. A wire brush can help you pull out any dirt, plants or bits of broken concrete that might be stuck inside. In order to prevent further cracking after the repairs have been made, use a chisel and hammer to expand the crack so it is at least half an inch deep. You want the crack to be wider at the base than at the surface so the new concrete can help hold it together.

Once you have widened and cleaned the crack you can start filling it in. You can use standard cement, but if you are worried that more expanding and contracting may occur that could reopen the crack vinyl concrete may be necessary. The vinyl gives the product more give so it can move as the temperature changes. Simply press the new concrete into the crack according to the instructions on the package and allow it to dry. You may wish to wear old clothing and protective gloves when working with concrete as it is very difficult to get it off of anything it gets on.

Make sure you cover the new concrete with a damp cloth after you have filled in the crack. Keep it covered and damp for at least two days or until it feels firm and dry. Double check the instructions for the filler you chose in case it needs any other special care before it can set.

When repairing a cracked driveway it is important to stay off of the surface as much as possible until the repairs are complete. Putting a great deal of weight on wet concrete can cause it to shift and your filler may not set properly. Be sure to read the instructions or ask an employee at the store when you purchase your filler product about when you can plan on being able to drive on the cracked surface again. The more care you put into doing the repairs correctly, the less likely it is that cracks will be a constant issue on your property.

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