Concrete driveways are by far the most popular driveways. One that has been professionally installed and well maintained can last for very many years. Even though concrete gives a very stable and durable surface which can withstand the vagaries of nature and handle heavy loads, the need for repairs still arises from time to time. There are thus several driveway repair options which one can pursue in case such a problem arises. But first and foremost, it is important to nab those small problems early enough before they become too expensive to repair so as to require total replacement or overhaul of the entire driveway. Some of the common driveway problems and the requisite repair options include but are not limited to the following:
One of the major problems you will find with driveways is cracking. Cracks are usually caused by weather extremities, poorly cured surfaces or too much weight. Normally, when making the driveway using concrete, it should be left for 3 to 7 days to cure properly as the surface remains wet. If the concrete is left to dry too fast, the resulting surface is bound to be weak. It is advisable to cover the surface with some plastic sheeting or even use a hose pipe to spray the surface so as to prevent it from drying out. Irrespective of the cause of cracks, it is recommended that the cracked surface be cleaned thoroughly so as to remove any foreign material from the cracks, fill the spaces with freshly made concrete then apply a suitable resurfacing compound on the entire driveway for uniformity purposes.
Another common problem that usually calls for repairs is termed as crumbling or spalling. This problem is usually caused by a deficiency in the concrete mix and is basically a surface problem. If left unchecked, crumbling can easily spread to cover the entire surface as it generally weakens the entire driveway, block by block. They are usually repaired by first cutting or chiseling away a clean edge that slightly extends past the crumble in the concrete first; don’t just work with the area that is crumbling as chances are that it the weakness has already extended slightly past what is visible to the naked eye. Once you have a clean edge on the concrete, remove all foreign particles from the affected place and then fill the space with some epoxy compound. Make sure you follow the instructions laid out in the epoxy compound container.
Another major issue that calls for repairs in driveways is stains. For the uninitiated, this may not look like a major problem but it does pose a huge issue to the homeowner if his or her entire driveway is dotted with dark, unsightly spots all over. Cement is naturally a porous material and therefore a driveway which is usually exposed to the elements of nature is bound to absorb foreign material from the surroundings. One of the major causes of stains is motor oil. Gutter downspouts can also cause stains. One of the easiest ways of getting rid of these stains is through pressure washing; this method though is most effective if performed immediately a stain is spotted. Household detergents can also be used to boost the effectiveness of pressure washing. Chemicals such as trisodium phosphate as well as commercial rust removers are also quite effective. Once the stain has been cleaned, it is advisable to apply a special sealer made specifically for cement surfaces to prevent any soaking in of stains in the future.
Discoloration is another major problem that driveways tend to have; this is totally different from staining as it mainly occurs at the initial stages when the driveway is being made. It can be caused by a variety of reasons; if you do the concrete finishing too soon or too late or if there is excessive hard troweling. Having variations in the finishing operations or concrete placing can also cause discoloration of the driveway. It is worth noting that when you place concrete in one continuous pour, the concrete should all be the same color unless one has decided to use some high quality color pigment. To solve the discoloration problem; it is advisable to maintain constant placing, finishing and curing conditions so as to ensure consistency. Discoloration can also be avoided by slightly accelerating the set time of concrete using chemicals such as liquid calcium chloride, steer clear of calcium chloride flakes as they are quite difficult to dissolve as they can also cause discoloration.