Home owners with concrete driveways rarely require having these repaired, if they are well maintained. However there is an assortment of reasons why repair might be necessary to a concrete driveway. The weather is the primary reason why concrete tends to undergo stress and thereby break down over time. The repair work required may be minimal, but many times there are conditions which require the concrete structure to be torn up and completely replaced.
Minor concrete driveway repairs
Small cracks or chipping of the concrete surface is the most common complaint home owners have when it comes to repairs to concrete driveways. These should be immediately dealt with when seen to occur. If small cracks and chips on the surface of the concrete are left un-repaired, these could develop into larger problems which may require major work to be carried out. Minor repair jobs require simply cementing in the affected area or applying other bonding agents that are available at most hardware stores.
Cracks and chipping of the concrete surface occur due to expansion and contraction of concrete caused by changes in weather through seasons. Heat causes concrete to expand and cold causes the concrete to contract. If there is rapid heating and cooling, such as on autumn days and nights, the stress on the concrete may cause minor cracks to appear or for small areas of the concrete surface to chip away.
Major concrete driveway repairs
Small cracks when left un-repaired usually develop into large cracks that go deep into the concrete. These kinds of cracks require major repair work to be carried out. The other most common reasons a concrete driveway will require major repair would include buckling of the concrete. Concrete buckles when the soil beneath the concrete surface sinks. This is caused due to water freezing under the concrete during winter which causes the concrete to rise up or bulge. During the summer, the water under the concrete may cause the soil to sink, which would cause the concrete to form a slight trough. This kind of trough will crack the concrete from within and cause its strength to diminish. Over a few seasons, such buckling will shatter the concrete and cause small areas of the concrete to form bowls.
The best solution in conditions such as this is to rip away the old concrete and prepare the ground surface again, preferably with reinforcement like small concrete piles. Following this, the driveway may be poured and allowed to set.
Hiring a contractor
Depending on the severity of the problem, a home owner would require to hire a contractor to do a professional job. To go about hiring a contractor, call the contractor who first installed the driveway if possible. If this is not possible, ask around for references, or call the local directory services for a list of contractors within the area. Call these and speak to them about the problem and get quotes and job references. Always check with the references. Select a contractor with enough experience at a reasonable cost.