Concrete is a durable surface that is common in most homes in Rochester, NY. Though durable, concrete driveways do depreciate and develop cracks over time. Cracks may occur soon after installation or develop after some time. Several reasons and circumstances cause cracks to develop on concrete driveways.
Types of driveway cracks in Rochester
- Plastic shrinkage cracks – Plastic state is when concrete is full of water before hardening. The water takes up space making the slab a certain size. As the slab loses water while curing it shrinks. Due to the rigidity of concrete, shrinking makes the concrete slab develop stress. This causes the slab to crack to relieve the tension therein. Too much stress on the driveway can cause the slab to completely break apart. This is very common when pouring concrete in hot temperatures.
- Expansion cracks – These happen as a result of hot weather. Like anything else, concrete expands in hot temperatures. The expanding process pushes against objects on its paths such as adjacent slabs or brick walls. If these objects along the path are unable to flex with the expansion, a crack will occur.
- Heaving cracks – These are cracks that develop as a result of ground movement. This movement usually happens during the cycle of freezing and thawing. During cold winter, frozen areas can rise to several inches. It settles back again when thawing when summer comes around. Tree roots can also cause heaving which is a problem for more homeowners than you think.
- Settling cracks – These occur when the stamped concrete is settling over a recent void.
- Overloading cracks – This happens when you place a very heavy object on a concrete slab while doing your concrete driveway repair. Concrete is a strong material but it has its limits in terms of load-bearing. This usually happens when the areas beneath the concrete have become soft due to extreme weather.
- Premature drying cracks – This is when crazing cracks appear as a result of concrete losing moisture very quickly.
Are cracks on the concrete driveway normal?
When a contractor is pouring concrete on your driveway they put joints. Contractors need to place these joints when the cement is still wet. The joints or seems are there to direct the cracks towards them instead of occurring through the field. Even if your contractor does this, it is not a money-back guarantee to the homeowners that no cracks will ever appear. Cracks on concrete driveways occur anywhere at any time whether you live in Sterling Heights or Rochester Hills.
Having cracks on the driveway is a very normal thing. You may try to avoid this by employing the services of soil experts or engineers to avoid cracks. The truth is this also is no guarantee. Cracks on driveways are normal unless the cracks are excessive or occur soon after installation.
How do I stop my driveway from cracking?
Concrete is among the most durable building materials that are a favorite of many contractors. It is ideal for constructing driveways, pool decks, patios, sideways, and many similar things. When doing a concrete project correctly it can remain strong and look good for many years. To do this you must avoid the common mistakes many make during and after pouring the concrete. Cracks are prone to intrusion by water which can make it worse. This happens when the water expands and contracts when it freezes and thaws. Water can also seep through the cracks and into the soil beneath the driveway. This causes liquefaction in the soil which exacerbates the problem and numerous concrete repair projects.
There are several ways to stop your concrete driveway area from cracking. These are:
- Adding control joints – Even if you allow your concrete driveway to properly cure after pouring, it may still crack. This is because of the water that disappears in the hydration process. For this reason, it is important to add control joints. Control joints are weak spots that you cut intentionally into the slab of your driveway to pre-empt future cracks. They direct the cracks towards them instead of them occurring on the larger body of the property. There are three ways of adding control joints. You can use concrete grooving tools to ply the concrete when still wet. You can insert expansion joint strips of flexible wood when pouring the concrete. Lastly, you can cut the joints a day after pouring them using a concrete saw blade.
- Properly curing the concrete – Concrete usually takes 28 days to cure completely. During this time is something you need to do in the first few days. The concrete binding agent cement cures gradually. It has to retain moisture for it to reach its full strength. To minimize the risk of cracks in the concrete, spray it with water every day for the first week. The amount of water you use will depend on the weather of the day.
- Compacting the base – You must have a compact base before mixing the concrete that you will use. Without a compact base, a void will develop under the concrete driveway which will eventually develop cracks.
- Using enough water – Using too much water in the concrete mix makes it weak heightening the chances of cracks. The mixture must neither be too watery nor too dry.
- Using reinforcements – Concrete is strong on its own but you can make it stronger with come steel reinforcements. Do this by adding rebar in grid patterns sitting approximately halfway through the concrete slab.
Should driveways and concrete slab cracks be sealed?
You need to seal the cracks on your driveway to prevent any further damage. This should be part of the ongoing maintenance of your driveway. You must perform this sort of maintenance regularly. Some concrete repair companies offer crack sealing as a part of their after-sales customer satisfaction service package. Periodical sealing of your driveway and patio prolongs its life. Most contractors in Rochester, NY, recommend that you do this concrete driveway repair approximately every three years.
The best time to work on your driveway or patio repair is between May and October in Rochester NY. This varies from place to place. Ensure that there are no chances of precipitation on the day you pick to do the project. This is because the seal coat needs an estimate of 12 hours without disturbance from the elements to cure properly.
Contact a concrete contractor in Rochester, NY
According to customer reviews, there are several unethical contractors out there that aim to rip you off by doing a shoddy job. If you are planning on building or renovating your driveway, visit Northeastern Sealcoat & Paving at 470 Hollenbeck St No. 3, Rochester, NY 14621. You can also call us on 585-544-4372 if you have questions and consultation on contractors, repairs, patio, cement, gutters, stamped concrete, repairs, asphalt, and any other repair services. you can email us for replacement services and get an estimate based on work from previous customers’ experience. however, our priority is more about meeting your specifications so you can have the best customer experience.