How to Protect Your Driveway From Cracking, Pitting and Crumbling
Friday, March 1st, 2019 by Thrasher
The concrete around your home can make a huge impact when it comes to curb appeal. This is certainly true for the driveway, which is usually the first thing you see as you approach a home from the street. So, when you have a cracked driveway that is pitting and crumbling, it can be an eyesore that creates a bad impression of your home even before a guest sets foot inside.
Not only that, but a crumbling driveway can also lower your home's value along with its curb appeal. Plus, driveway cracks and pitting present tripping hazards that can be dangerous to neighbors and family members alike.
So, you may ask, "How do I protect my driveway from cracking and crumbling?" or "Should I use a driveway sealer?" The answer is, it's easier and less expensive than you might think to protect your driveway and other concrete, such as sidewalks, patios and pool decks.
But first, let's talk about why good concrete goes bad.
Why a Cracked Driveway Leads to Crumbling Concrete Over Time
Water is concrete's enemy. Too much water can wash away the soil supporting your concrete. Too little and it can cause the soil to shrink. And when water freezes and thaws over and over, it can cause the surface of your concrete driveway to crack, pit and crumble.
Think of your driveway as a giant sponge. Concrete is porous, so it soaks up water at the surface -- maybe from rain or melting snow. When temperatures drop below freezing, water turns into ice, which expands and breaks the walls of those tiny pores, weakening the concrete. You probably won't notice this damage at first. Unfortunately, though, it worsens exponentially with every freeze/thaw cycle until the pitting and flaking become obvious to the naked eye.
Above: Over time, water and erosion can cause concrete slabs to sink and crack
Sprinkling salt to your driveway and sidewalks doesn't help either. Not only does it assist the freeze/ thaw cycle, but the salt itself accelerates the breakdown of concrete by causing corrosion under the surface, leading to cracked and crumbling concrete.
If your concrete isn't level, it can also be contributing to the premature wear and tear. Perhaps the slabs of your driveway meet at a spot where soil loss has created a low spot where water can pool. The pooling gives water more time to soak into the concrete and more opportunity for the erosion of the concrete. If you notice areas where water might be gathering, call Thrasher to schedule a free inspection to determine if leveling might extend the life of your concrete.
Staining Reduces the Attractiveness of Your Concrete
Above: Oil stained driveway concrete
In addition to damage caused by freezing and thawing, concrete's porous nature makes it susceptible to staining from chemicals, dirt and other materials. As with cracking and pitting, staining is an eyesore that can reduce your home's curb appeal.
So, how can you prevent all this from happening?
Applying Concrete Driveway Sealant to Prevent Damage
The key to protecting your driveway for the long term is to seal it from the elements. Sealing your driveway may seem like a no-brainer, but many homeowners forget this simple step only to regret it years later when it becomes necessary to replace or resurface their driveway.
So, how do you seal a driveway? You can buy a five-gallon bucket of driveway sealant at your local big-box DIY store, but not all sealants are created equal. The options available at retail stores are often messy and have to be reapplied every few years, which can get expensive. Plus, the driveway sealer you find off the shelf may not be compatible with new concrete.
Above: SealantPro being applied to a driveway
At Thrasher, we use SealantPro(TM) from Supportworks. SealantPro concrete sealant is a proprietary formulation unavailable anywhere else in the area that permanently protects concrete with just one professional application, extending its life by 3-5 times. Plus, our crews receive training from industry experts to ensure a perfect application every time.
How Our Concrete Driveway Sealant Works
SealantPro is a state-of-the-art material that bonds with concrete on a molecular level, permanently protecting it from water, dirt and other contaminants in a single coat. Once applied, SealantPro dries in minutes and is fully cured in just 6 hours, so you can use your concrete the same day. It is simple, fast, economical and extremely effective. Learn more about SealantPro >>
Whether you've just built a brand-new home, or you've updated your existing home with a new driveway, patio or sidewalk, it's a smart move to protect your investment with a concrete sealant.
What if the Damage is Already Done?
A sinking, cracked driveway can be lifted, leveled, sealed and stabilized to last for years to come. However, if the surface of your driveway has already begun to pit and crumble, concrete sealant will only protect against additional damage. For a driveway that's already plagued with unsightly surface damage, homeowners often turn to full replacement. However, there is another option: resurfacing.
Above: Common examples of pitted, flaking concrete.
Driveway Resurfacing vs. Replacement
Tearing out and replacing a concrete driveway is a huge undertaking. The old concrete must be jackhammered into manageable pieces and hauled away. Then, new concrete must be poured and left to harden and cure -- a process that can take several weeks, during which you'll have to park on the street and avoid your garage. It's noisy, messy and incredibly disruptive.
But, thanks to new technology, there is an alternative to total concrete replacement called concrete resurfacing. It's a quick, easy process that requires minimal disruption, yet it offers the same look and functionality of total concrete replacement.
At Thrasher, we use ResurfacePro(TM) to renew tired, broken old concrete. The ResurfacePro system works by coating your old driveway surface with a super-durable layer of polymer cement, giving it a brand-new look and restoring its function -- and unlike brand new concrete, it can be ready for use the very next day.
After driveway resurfacing, we recommend a coat of SealantPro concrete sealant to protect your driveway from future cracking, pitting, crumbling and staining. We can even develop a customized comprehensive solution that can lift, level and seal your existing driveway so it will not only have a new surface but also be just as level as the day it was poured.
Need an Expert Opinion on Your Driveway?
If you're ready to renew your tired, broken old driveway, give us a call at 800.827.0702 or use this form to schedule a free consultation and same-day quote. Our concrete experts will come to your home and walk you through a thorough inspection. You'll then receive a detailed estimate at the appointment for a solution that's customized for your home.