Steps for Fixing Cracks in Your Driveway

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Home Improvement

How to Repair Cracks in Concrete Driveways


A beautiful concrete driveway can enhance your home’s curb appeal.
Photo courtesy of Dreamstime

The main reason for repairing concrete cracks is to prevent moisture from penetrating them. Additionally, fixing these cracks can enhance the appearance of your driveway. Since most homes feature driveways facing the front, repairing cracks can be a great way to increase curb appeal. Before you start the repair, assess the area and try to determine the cause of the crack. Tree roots, heavy objects, and standing water are common culprits. Water, in particular, causes cracks because it expands and contracts as temperatures change.

Before repairing the crack itself, you need to eliminate the underlying problem to avoid further damage. The method you use to fix the concrete crack depends on its size.

Preparation

  • Begin by cleaning the crack to create a clean surface that can bond with the repair material. This should be done regardless of the crack’s size.
  • Use a screwdriver or chisel to remove any loose pieces of concrete (be careful not to enlarge the crack).
  • Once you have cleaned the edges of the crack, use a stiff wire brush to remove any remaining debris.
  • Remove as much loose debris from the crack as possible. You can do this with an air compressor, a shop vac, or canned air (used to clean computer keyboards). The goal is to remove all the dust and debris from inside the crack.

Once you have prepared the crack for repair, follow the steps below based on the crack’s size. Use the specific instructions provided on the product packaging.

Fixing Small, Hairline Cracks in Concrete

  • Textured caulk, concrete sealer, or pourable grout are suitable for small cracks.
  • If you’re using concrete sealer or pourable grout, dampen the crack lightly with a spray bottle filled with water (textured caulk works best on dry cracks).
  • Fill the crack completely with the product and use a pointing trowel to press it into the crack.
  • If you use textured caulk, apply extra to allow for shrinkage as it dries.
  • Wear thick rubber gloves and use your thumb to ensure that you have filled the crack entirely.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for application guidelines.

FAQ

1. What causes cracks in driveways?

There are several reasons why cracks can appear in your driveway, including weather changes, ground movement, heavy traffic, and poor installation. These factors can cause the surface to expand and contract, leading to cracks over time.

2. How do I prepare the driveway before repairing the cracks?

You need to clean the surface thoroughly before repairing the cracks. Use a pressure washer to remove any dirt, debris, or loose material from the cracks. Allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding with the repair.

3. What tools do I need for repairing driveway cracks?

You will need a few basic tools such as a chisel, a hammer, a putty knife, a caulking gun, and a crack filler. These tools will help you to prepare the surface and apply the filler accurately.

4. How do I fill small cracks in my driveway?

If you have small cracks in your driveway, you can use a concrete crack filler that you can find at most hardware stores. Follow the instructions on the product label carefully to ensure you apply it correctly. Fill the cracks evenly, and allow it to dry completely before using the surface again.

5. What should I do for larger cracks in my driveway?

If you have larger cracks in your driveway, you may need to use a patching compound instead of a crack filler. This will require a bit more preparation, as you will need to chisel out the crack to create a wider gap, and then fill it with the patching compound. Allow it to dry completely before using the surface again.

6. When should I resurface my driveway instead of repairing the cracks?

If there are numerous cracks in your driveway, and they are too large to fill or patch, it may be time to resurface the entire driveway. This will involve removing the top layer of the old driveway and replacing it with a new layer of asphalt or concrete. This is a more extensive project than repairing cracks, but it can help to extend the life of your driveway.

7. How often should I inspect my driveway for cracks?

It’s a good idea to inspect your driveway for cracks at least once a year, especially after the winter season. This will help you catch any cracks early and prevent them from becoming bigger problems down the road.

8. Can I prevent cracks from forming in my driveway?

While it’s impossible to prevent all cracks from forming in your driveway, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the likelihood. For example, avoid parking heavy vehicles or equipment on the surface, and make sure to sealcoat the driveway every few years to help protect it from the elements.

9. Should I hire a professional to repair my driveway cracks?

If you’re not comfortable repairing the cracks yourself, or if you have extensive damage to your driveway, it’s best to hire a professional to handle the repair. They have the experience and equipment necessary to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

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