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May 31

Driveway Reminiscent of Dan Akroyd, Refrigerator Repairman

Posted by C. Mason Hearn in repairs, driveway, cracks

We have a 13 year old aggregate driveway that has a number of cracks throughout. They are not severe, but I am afraid they will get worse with time. Is there a way to repair them or do we have to replace the driveway with a new one?

Robert S.; Glen Allen, VA



We get so many inquiries here regarding domestic cracks of all sorts... perhaps there might be some business plan that might be written around these.  Hey, do you remember Dan Akroyd in that very old SNL skit, the refrigerator repairman?

If the extent and nature of the cracks is indicative of settlement (ie: the original subgrade compaction was not adequate and therefore you have "structural" problems under the drive), partial or complete replacement might be in order.

However, the less-severe (and by far less-costly) first step might be to mitigate further problems by filling the cracks with an appropriate filler or sealant.  For cracks less than ¼", there are a number of commonly-available sealants (essentially, caulk) formulated specifically for this purpose.  Following the preparation and application instruction is key to a successful job - typically, clean out the crack thoroughly, inject the sealant deeply into the crack, and clean the surface before curing.  All sealants have their limitations - inspect the resulting job on a regular basis.  If the sealant bond breaks and allows moisture back into the crack, it's no longer doing its job.

If the cracks are larger than ¼", it is likely that you have an ongoing problem and no cure will be very permanent.  However, for a shorter-term aesthetic improvement, there are latex-modified grouts that may help.  Here again, clean out the crack, removing all dirt and loose concrete.  Depending on the nature of the crack, one may need to chisel it out somewhat (filler in a "V"-shaped crack will surely spall back out).  An application of bonding agent to the sides of the old concrete will improve the longevity of the fix.

Either of these remedies may be "DIY" projects, although obviously, the latter is more dependent on proper prep and installation.


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