When Is Your Driveway Beyond Repair? 3 Ways To Tell!

Construction & Contractors Blog

A broken, uneven, and failing driveway is an eyesore, but it's also a practical problem for your home. You need your driveway's surface to be safe and level to protect your vehicles and prevent easily avoidable trips and falls for anyone walking across it. However, it's often challenging to know when it's time to stop putting money into repairs and instead tear out and replace the whole driveway.

Unfortunately, there's no cut-and-dried answer to this question. You can often continue to patch even a very old driveway, but often with increasingly worse results. While you can attempt to repair your driveway well past its usable lifespan, these three indications are usually a good sign that it's time to consider a complete replacement.

1. Pooling Water

You've probably heard that water drainage is the most important factor in keeping your home's foundation safe, but it's equally critical to protecting your driveway. Your original installers took great care to ensure proper drainage around your driveway because water intrusion can severely damage any asphalt surface.

Unfortunately, cracks and potholes can eventually cause water to seep beneath the surface, threatening the underlying subgrade that acts as your driveway's foundation. While these minor issues are often repairable, large pools of water indicate that the problem may already be too severe to correct. Once you notice these problems, it's probably time to tear out and replace your driveway.

2. Substantial Frost Heaves

Frost heaves are a frustratingly common problem for driveways in any cold climate. When water freezes, it expands, often with tremendous force. Water that seeps into the soil below your driveway is not immune to this phenomenon. Even the most well-constructed asphalt driveway can't withstand the force of water-soaked soil freezing and pushing upward on the surface.

A single frost heave may not mean your driveway is a goner, but multiple heaves appearing across the driveway can mean that you have a serious water drainage issue. While you'll want a qualified paving contractor to examine your driveway, the best solution may be removing your existing asphalt and regrading it to improve drainage.

3. Crumbling Asphalt

Is your driveway coming apart at the seams? It may seem like an odd question, but asphalt driveways can often fail by literally crumbling apart. You may notice small amounts of sand and pebbles, along with broken and weak sections, scattered across the surface. This process is known as "raveling," and it's a sign that the aggregate and binder are beginning to separate.

Raveling can have numerous causes and may be a correctable problem on relatively new pavement. Unfortunately, severe raveling on older driveways is often a warning sign that your asphalt is beginning to break down. You might be able to slow the process with sealcoating and repairs, but repaving your driveway is the only long-term solution. 

Reach out to an asphalt paving services company to learn more.


21 November 2022

And the Buildings Go Up

Have you ever driven past a large building that was still under construction? You may have stopped for a moment and admired the steel trusses and the heavy concrete blocks used to form and support such a large architectural creation. Here's a secret: construction workers do the same. Workers in this industry never cease to be amazed at what they can create from seemingly boring materials. Concrete turns into a school. Steel turns into a doctor's office. It really is incredible. You may not feel quite as amazed as you read about construction on this blog, but if you get at least a fraction of that wondered, amused feeling, we will be satisfied.