Concrete is an amazing material. It’s affordable, very durable, and versatile. It can be customized in any number of ways to achieve the look you want, as well. However, it is not forever. Eventually, your concrete driveway will need some TLC. If yours is looking a little worse for the wear, you might be wondering whether you should resurface or replace your concrete driveway. Both options have their own pros and cons. Here’s what you should know.
How are driveways damaged?
You’d think that a material as hard as concrete would hold up for decades without any need for maintenance. The truth is that driveways have to put up with a lot of abuse. They’re constantly exposed to the elements, which means that not only do they suffer through the expansion and contraction of the freeze/thaw process, but they’re inundated with rain, baked in the summer sun and more. They have to deal with thousands of pounds driving on them every day, as well.
Add to that the fact that concrete is actually porous, and you begin to see why, if not properly maintained, they can begin to deteriorate. Freezing and thawing, coupled with moisture and the weight of vehicles on the surface, will eventually cause small cracks to form. These will grow over time, eventually widening, and leading to crumbling concrete that needs to be replaced or repaired.
Maintenance matters a great deal
Next, understand that concrete driveways need regular maintenance. Generally, this takes the form of sealing them against moisture intrusions. However, it can also include patching small cracks before they become major problems. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of a concrete driveway by many years, helping you avoid the cost of major repairs or replacement.
Take stock of the situation first
Before you make a decision one way or another, take stock of the situation. How old is the driveway? How has it been maintained over the years? How severe is the damage? You also need to think about your budget – repairs can be relatively affordable, and replacing the entire driveway will be much more expensive. With that being said, repair costs will definitely add up over time, and you may spend more trying to keep that old driveway together than you would if you just replaced it.
Patching versus resurfacing
If you think that repairing your driveway is the best option, you have the choice of patching or resurfacing. Resurfacing a driveway is more expensive than patching, but it can provide a much better appearance. Patching holes and cracks is usually more affordable, but it generally leads to reduced curb appeal. As a note, there are quite a few products on the market that can be poured just an inch or so thick over the deteriorating driveway to solidify things. They can also be stamped or textured easily, and are ready to walk on in a matter of hours.
Redoing the entire driveway
If you find that the driveway is just too far gone for repairs to be worthwhile, your only option is to have the entire driveway replaced. This is the most expensive option upfront, but ultimately costs less than multiple repairs will. You also have the option of having decorative concrete installed to give you a different look.
Before you make any decision, hire a professional to inspect your driveway and to provide an expert’s opinion on what your next steps should be. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that your existing driveway can be salvaged.
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