Written by Gloosworks Alberta Ltd. and published on https://blog.renovationfind.com/
Concrete driveways are standard in various neighborhoods as it offers unparalleled durability, but while it’s made to last, various elemental factors and heavy foot traffic can still subject it to wear-and-tear. If properly taken care of, concrete driveways should last as long as 30 years, though cracks, potholes, and other signs of damage can appear.
Once you notice crumbling edges, cracks, sunken areas, or faded colors, it begs the question: should you resurface, repair, or replace your concrete driveway entirely? The guide below should clue you in on the differences and which scenarios call for the best solution.
CONCRETE DRIVEWAYS: WHEN TO REPAIR, RESURFACE OR RESEAL.
While concrete driveways can last decades, some things can cause damage that shortens their lifespan. Exposure to extreme weather can cause wear and fading; cracks can develop, or oil leaks from vehicles can lead to stains. All driveways age and deteriorate and become a use and safety hazard. The goal with any driveway should be to maximize the life expectancy as much as possible before having to completely remove and replace it. This requires a solid maintenance plan annually or longer term depending on what sealer is applied.
SEALING: Extend the lifespan and maintain the quality of your concrete.
Sealing should be done on all new concrete or exposed aggregate concrete. minor hairline cracking should also be repaired and sealed against water penetration.
Whether you have a beautiful new concrete driveway poured or an existing driveway, it is important that you protect and maintain your investment. Concrete driveways, particularly in climates that experience frequent freeze/thaw cycles, benefit immensely from penetrating and topical sealers. These sealers strengthen the surface and repel water, oil, salt, mold, and protect against freeze/thaw cycle damage. This type of proper driveway maintenance saves you money in the long run from costly concrete repairs or replacement. Sealing a concrete driveway can be compared to waxing your car or wearing sunscreen. Protect your investment now before it becomes a problem down the road.
A concrete sealant is typically made of acrylic, polyurethane, or other types of penetrating resin. Sealants are available at different types, water or solvent-based and even can be tinted. The most economical being the acrylic sealers for short term protection up to polyurethane sealers for a longer-term solution.
Acrylic sealants require more frequent applications but do provide quality protection. An acrylic sealer can be water-based or solvent-based. Solvent-based acrylic sealers give you that dark wet look most desired for exposed aggregate.
Polyurethane sealers are harder and more durable than acrylic sealers. This makes maintenance requirements of polyurethane sealers low, but cost more for the initial application.
Ultimately, longevity depends on the specific sealer you choose the climate, the surface type, and the amount of pressure the surface experiences over time. If you notice even the slightest cracking in your driveway, you will generally want to repair and seal it immediately. Exposed concrete is more susceptible to damage from freeze/thaw cycles.
REPAIR: Depends on the extent of the damage.
Knowing your driveway needs repairs can be as easy as visually seeing the damage. Cracks and small holes are both unsightly and risk spreading and becoming worse. Most concrete damage can be repaired as long as any cracks and holes are smaller than 1/4”. These types of damage can be patched, either as a DIY job or by a professional. Anything larger may need to be resurfaced. Before repairing, make sure your driveway is level and structurally sound. If the cracks are the result of uneven support, then patch repairs will not fix the underlying problem. If this is the case slab jacking may be required.
Minor Cracking or small spalls can be repaired using different methods to blend the repairs with the surrounding surface.
RESURFACE: Extensive damage or a New Look
Resurfacing your driveway is the right choice if the damage appears on the surface and if the repairs allow you to maintain the integrity of the driveway as a whole.
If the top of your driveway needs extensive repairs but the foundation is still intact, or if you are concerned about the look of patched concrete or filled in cracks, consider resurfacing it instead for that overall new look.
If you like the look of fresh concrete, your damaged concrete can be restored to a like-new finish. Spalling, deep cracks, and a severely degraded surface can be repaired and coated with StreetBond. This is especially economical for big projects like driveways or small projects such as sidewalks, patios, and steps. StreetBond can protect the repairs and eliminate years of wear embedded in your driveway. Streetbond is an excellent choice for protection and comes in many colours as well!
For a driveway, sidewalk, patio, or even stairs, another option is to coat with a rock/resin mix. This is applied by trowelling over the damage concrete with various types of River Rock. We use a UV stable polyaspartic resin that has flexibility as well as tremendous strength. This application can eliminate all those concrete problems with a one-step overlay of beautiful stone. This rock coating is not only durable, it also ads curb appeal and value to your home.
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