Your driveway is one of those things that you don’t think about until something goes wrong. But a cracked, crumbling driveway is a massive eyesore that reduces your home’s value and can even lead to sprained ankles or car damage. Fall is the perfect time of year to check your driveway and repair any problems you find, before colder weather gets here and increases the damage. Read on to see the “Big Four” problems that can destroy your driveway, and how to nip them in the bud and protect your driveway before it’s too late.
Driveways made of asphalt, concrete, or pavers can develop cracks due to weather and wear and tear. If your driveway has any cracks in it now, the winter’s rain or snow will cause them to grow. If you live in a part of the country that experiences temperatures below freezing, any moisture that gets in the cracks can freeze and put pressure on your driveway from the inside, causing cracks to grow longer and wider and leading to worse problems such as potholes or crumbling. Doing a thorough inspection of your driveway this time of year will allow you to catch any hairline cracks and repair them before them become driveway busters.
If your driveway has any cracks, first pull any weeds that are growing in the crack and remove any driveway chips or loose debris. Then follow these instructions for repairing minor cracks in asphalt, or these instructions for repairing cracks in concrete.
Whether your driveway is asphalt, concrete or gravel, it can fall victim to potholes. Potholes look ugly, put a strain on your car’s suspension, and can lead to sprained ankles and other injuries when your family and guests walk on your driveway. Gravel driveways are especially susceptible to developing potholes, because the gravel and dirt can shift because of wear, tear, and weather. Fall is an important time to fix any potholes in your driveway, because winter’s precipitation and freeze-thaw cycle will work on any potholes and make them much worse by the time spring gets here.
If your concrete driveway has a pothole, it may be beyond saving. If the problem is small, you can add some concrete to fill in the hole. Here’s how to deal with potholes in asphalt or gravel driveways:
Asphalt driveways can develop potholes from cracks that have gone untreated. If your asphalt driveway has a pothole, it’s essential to fix it now, before the problem gets worse. DoItYourself.com offers these easy, step-by-step instructions for fixing a pothole using asphalt cold patch.
Gravel driveways are inexpensive, but rain and regular use can cause your gravel driveway to develop ruts or potholes. The good news is that repairing a gravel driveway is relatively easy, and your driveway will look like new when you’re finished. Here are step-by-step instructions for repairing potholes in your gravel driveway, courtesy of the Home Depot.
If your gravel driveway seems to keep developing more potholes as quickly as you can fix them, you may have a drainage problem. If you see puddles in your driveway after it rains, this also means that you have a drainage problem that will lead to driveway damage. Check out these instructions for improving the drainage of your gravel driveway.
3. Standing Water
Standing water may seem like a minor problem for your driveway, but it can lead to cracks, potholes and crumbling, and even provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes during warmer weather. After a good rain, check your driveway for any areas of standing water, such as in the photo above. If you see any pools of water, fix the problem yourself or call in a contractor.
4. Moss, Lichen and Other Growths
Growths such as moss, lichen, mold and mildew, or algae will make your driveway look unattractive. These growths can be much more than just an eyesore, though. Moss can grow in cracks in your driveway just like weeds can, and cause them to become wider. Lichen can cause etching on the surface of some driveways, and algae, mold or mildew can make your driveway dangerously slippery.
If your driveway has any of these growths, zap them with Wet & Forget Outdoor. Wet & Forget outdoor removes moss, mold and mildew, green or black algae, and lichen with no bleaching, scrubbing or pressure washing needed. Wet & Forget also works with the wind and rain to keep these growths from coming back for a year or more in most cases. Just spray and walk away, and let us do the work for you!
Regular Driveway Maintenance
Once you’ve repaired your driveway, regular maintenance will help you keep it in tip-top shape. For a concrete or asphalt driveway, regular seal coating can keep your driveway looking beautiful and help prevent cracks. For gravel, keeping an eye on your driveway’s drainage and re-stabilizing your driveway when it needs it will help you avoid potholes, ruts, and gravel loss.
Photo courtesy of Tomasz Sienicki