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Re: concrete driveway

Posted By: Phil
Monday, 4 June 2001, at 1:24 p.m.

In Response To: concrete driveway (ben)

You must first find out why your concrete driveway is cracking and bulging up. It will not do you any good to fix the problem now if it will occur again in the future. Concrete problems are the result of one or more of the followings. (1) Poor Drainage. Water accumulating underneath the concrete slab will freeze in winter. The solid ice will expand and lift your driveway causing it to crack. I have seen ice lifts a slab by as much as one inch upward. Water draining inderneath the concrete slab can cause dirt underneath the concrete slab to wash off. This causes the concrete slab to sink and crack, causing even more damage to the surrounding slab. (2) Tree roots. Over a period of time, roots of neighboring trees will crack and lift concrete slabs. (3) The use of poor quality concrete or inferior workmanship. If the right mixture of aggregate and cement is not found in the concrete poured, the concrete will be weak and will be more susceptible to cracking. Last month, I purchased four bags of Quickret concrete mix and found barely a trace of cement inside the bag. The bag was pretty much 95% aggregate. I had to fix this by adding more cement to the mix. (4) Settling. Did the contractor grade the area with a bulldozer before pouring the concrete? The ground below your driveway may be sinking. (5)Misuse. Is the proper thickness of concrete poured for the driveway? Generally, concrete driveways must be at least 4 inches thick. Did an 18-wheeler drive on or park in your driveway? Did the contractor use rebars, wire mesh or fiber chips to strengthen the concrete? Fiber chips mixed with concrete before it is poured seemed to be the trend for patios and driveways these days. Contractors charge $100 extra for fiber chips for each cu. yd. of concrete. Once you find the reason for the cracks in your driveway, then determine the best (and cheapest) way to fix the problem. I rule out roots because your driveway is fairly new. Settling or poor drainage may be causing the cracks. I will not rule out that inferior concrete material was used. A quick way to fix cracked driveways is to use Epoxy Aggregates resurfacing. These surfaces are tough and add beauty to your driveway, but it will be a waste of time and money if the problem appears again later. Epoxy aggregate resurfacing can cost you more than the cost of replacing the driveway. Check the yellow pages for contractors offering this service under CONCRETE.

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