Even if you have an absolutely beautiful home, a crumbling driveway can kill its curb appeal. Though driveways can last for decades, replacements will be needed eventually. Check out these signs so you’ll be able to recognize when it’s time for a new driveway for your home.
Have you started to notice cracks forming in your driveway? This is a common issue that develops in both concrete and asphalt surfaces over time. In many cases, gas, oil, de-icing salt, and other harmful substances penetrate the driveway surface and worsen the cracks. If you live somewhere with freezing temperatures during the winter months, it’s likely that water will seep into the cracks and expand once frozen.
While small cracks can potentially be repaired, cracks that are especially long, wide, or deep are signs of more serious damage. In these cases, it’s best to get a complete driveway replacement since the bigger cracks can’t be repaired (or attempts at repairs will last only a short time). If you decide to try patching your driveway first, keep in mind that the spots that have been repaired will likely appear much darker than the surrounding pavement, which isn’t great for your home’s curb appeal.
While a crack is unsightly, a pothole can actually be problematic for your car. Going over a hole in the driveway every day is bound to be tough on your tires and suspension system. These large holes form when the ground beneath the driveway expands and contracts. Over time, the driveway material on top starts to weaken, and pieces eventually crack or crumble away to form a pothole.
As with cracks, minor potholes can often be repaired. However, even a filled pothole doesn’t solve the problem of the ground below contracting and expanding, so it’s likely the pothole will show up again eventually. Replacing your driveway can be a great solution, especially for an older driveway. Newer materials are made to withstand these issues better than the driveway materials that were used decades ago.
3. Drainage Issues
When your driveway is in good condition, water won’t affect it much. But if you have drainage issues with your driveway, it can lead to serious damage. An uneven or sloped driveway will often have water running down the middle or pooling water in one or more areas. This can weaken the driveway in the spots where water tends to gravitate and result in an increasing number of cracks and potholes.
There are plenty of potential repairs for a driveway drainage issue. Sometimes, adding curbing or inlets can help to direct the water off the driveway. However, you may need to completely replace your driveway before adding these features to fix the damage that’s already been done.
4. Rough Appearance
Fading from exposure to the sun’s UV rays is a common issue with home driveways. These rays penetrate the driveway surface, oxidizing the surface and causing the color to fade away slowly.
If your driveway is starting to look pretty weathered, you may want to consider getting a replacement. Though the problem appears cosmetic, UV exposure can also weaken the driveway. To fix the fading, you could try applying concrete or asphalt sealant, which can help to restore the original look of the driveway. But if the durability of the driveway has been affected, it’s best to go with a total replacement.
5. Lack of Resealing
Do you have an asphalt or concrete driveway? If so, it’s important to know that it should be resealed every two to three years. This helps to prevent breaking and cracking, particularly around the edges. If you haven’t remembered to keep up with this regular maintenance schedule, the cracks in your driveway may be too serious for an effective repair. Therefore, a complete replacement will be necessary instead.
6. Past its Prime
Let’s face it: Sometimes, your driveway is just too old. It’s bound to happen eventually; most asphalt driveways are only expected to last about 15-20 years, for example. If your driveway is past its prime, you may be experiencing a combination of all of the issues mentioned above. After years of exposure to harsh weather, UV rays, damaging chemicals, and daily use, things such as cracks, potholes, and fading are inevitable. At this point, repairs are also less likely to be effective.
A driveway replacement can solve your issues quickly and completely. You won’t waste time and money trying to patch a driveway that’s simply at the end of its practical life span.
Driveway Replacement Options
Are you coming to the realization that you might need a new driveway? Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. You’ll hire professionals to do the work, and depending on which type of driveway you choose, you may not have to deal with a replacement again for several decades. Here are a few options to consider:
- Asphalt driveway: This type of driveway is typically the cheapest to install. It’s also more resistant to cracking. However, the look isn’t as desirable to some homeowners, and it’s only intended to last for about 20 years.
- Concrete driveway: A concrete driveway can cost twice as much to install as asphalt, but it can last for up to 50 years when properly cared for. Concrete is also very rigid, so keep in mind that cracks will eventually develop if you live somewhere with frequent freezing and thawing.
- Paver driveway: A driveway made from pavers or cobblestones looks luxurious, but there’s a high cost to match: It usually costs at least twice as much as concrete. This option allows a more customized look for your driveway, and since it’s made from individual pavers, it’s easy to replace those pavers that break or crack over time. However, the spaces between pavers can also lead to increased weeds, grass, or moss growing on the driveway.
A new driveway can give your home a fresh, updated look while also providing a more practical solution for your family. Know when it’s time to replace your driveway by using the signs listed above.