Know the difference between a concrete driveway replacement and repair to save money on your maintenance!

Concrete driveways are strong, durable, and require little maintenance. Concrete is a favorite driveway building material, even though it can be more expensive to install than asphalt.

Concrete is a mixture of stone particles, water, and cement. It’s pourable in raw form and will adopt the desired shape. Without prior experience, installing a concrete driveway isn’t a DIY job. There are specialized tools, expertise, and skill required that most DIYers don’t have. 

This article will go into the signs you should look for to know if issues with your concrete driveway will require a repair or replacement. Your path forward with a concrete driveway professional will depend on which evidence you find!

Is your concrete driveway showing signs of aging?

Consistent use of a driveway will cause wear and tear. It’s inevitable, and there isn’t much you can do about it. 

Even if you never use your concrete driveway, the elements will take their toll. Severe weather damage over the years adds up!

Think about how much weight passes over–or rests–on the driveway–vehicles driving on the surface every day, sitting overnight. RVs, boats, and extra cars sit for days, weeks, and months on your concrete driveway.

Keeping the causes of the damage in mind, the three signs of an aging concrete driveway are:

  1. Cracks
  2. Holes
  3. Stains

Of the three of these, the desire to get rid of stains comes down to mostly cosmetic preferences. Cracks and holes could indicate structural damage.

If you want to maintain a high-quality concrete driveway, it’s essential to get ahead of the problem. Waiting to address issues could make problems worse, turning a simple repair into a more costly replacement!

Repair or Replace?

A driveway repair involves grinding down the top of the existing concrete and adding a new top concrete level. Repair is the perfect method to deal with persistent stains, minor cracks, and small holes.

A driveway replacement is the removal of the entire existing driveway, then replacement with a new one. It’s a time-consuming, costly process that involves numerous labor-hours and specialized equipment.

Let’s go into detail about how to know if your concrete needs to be repaired or replaced.

A severely cracked concrete driveway requires replacement

The depth and length of the cracks

Take a look at the cracks. There’s a chance you could get away with a repair if they are only surface-level and aren’t very long. This type of damage indicates that the damage is only on the surface and hasn’t affected the underlying foundation.

If any of those cracks go straight through to the foundation, you are looking at a replacement. The cracks will get larger if you wait, which could cause issues with your home’s foundation if the cracks in question are close enough to the main structure.

The length of the crack that will require replacement can best be determined by a concrete driveway professional. Most, if not all, offer free estimates, so there’s no harm in getting someone out to your home who has experience with concrete driveways.

There’s a hole in the concrete.

This issue requires a similar analysis as the crack issue.

Repair is possible for holes that don’t go beyond the surface.

If the hole goes down to the foundation, replacement is required.

If there are multiple holes, regardless of depth, it’s best to consult with a professional who has substantial concrete experience. Over time, a fissure can open between these holes, creating a web of problems that could have been solved with a simple repair if caught in time. 

The concrete shows signs of instability or sinking.

Instability and sinking are signs of a compromised foundation. The biggest problem with these issues? They can cause issues with your home’s structure and require repairs not just to the concrete driveway but to the house itself.

Unfortunately, issues with the foundation require more than a simple repair. A specialized team with specific equipment can take care of your concrete driveway. If you’re in the Atlanta area, the Revere Construction and Roofing (RCR) team is just a phone call away!

A good test: if any part of your concrete driveway moves when you apply pressure, it requires replacement. Shifting indicates there is underlying damage to the foundation.

A concrete driveway can last up to fifty years

How long does a concrete driveway last?

Concrete driveways generally last between 25-50 years. This wide range is dependent on use, weather, maintenance level, and quality of the installation. 

RCR uses the latest technology and highest quality materials in their concrete driveway installation. You can expect your concrete driveway to last on the higher end of the spectrum with typical use.

If there were any issues with the concrete curing/hardening process during installation, it would take years off the expected lifespan. Proper installation is why it’s essential to choose a team with experience navigating the challenges concrete presents.

Also, the hardness of the underlying soil plays a role. If on the softer side, there’s an increased risk of shifting. Shifting will damage the concrete above. It’s an aspect of concrete driveway installation often overlooked but has long-reaching ramifications if not addressed.

Team installing a concrete driveway

When is the best time to install a concrete driveway?

The curing/hardening concrete process is best completed in ideal conditions: 70 degrees with minimal moisture. These conditions indicate that the fall and spring are great from a temperature standpoint, as long as it isn’t raining. The summer and winter can work as long as the weather isn’t on the extreme hot or cold side. If it is, there’s a chance your concrete driveway specialist will wait until better conditions are available. 

Concrete driveways installed in colder climates will require longer to cure. This temperature consideration also applies to winter in more temperate climates, and quality concrete driveway professionals keep this in mind.

Since there has to be some moisture during the curing process, water might be added to the surface in hot weather to slow down the curing time. This requirement is especially relevant in the summer. An experienced concrete driveway professional will know the right times to add the necessary amount of water.

How long does it take to fix a concrete driveway?

The timeframe of fixing a concrete driveway depends on whether you need a repair or replacement. If you’re considering the fix as first reaching out until completion of the project, keep in mind the above temperature considerations: you might have to wait for favorable weather conditions.

A repair can take as little as one day, depending on the extent of the damage.

A replacement requires at least two days—approximately one for demolition and one for installation. These days might be non-consecutive. Your concrete driveway professional will guide the timeframe of your project. 

Once work is completed, wait about a week before driving on the surface and a month before parking vehicles larger than a small car. If possible, wait a month to put RVs, boats, and extra vehicles back on the surface.

If you’re not sure, contact a professional.

Getting ahead of the problem will prevent any issues from magnifying in intensity. If left untreated, even small problems that might have needed repair can become a problem requiring replacement.

The concrete professionals at Revere Construction and Roofing are here to serve the Atlanta, Georgia area. Our team has decades of experience handling the community’s concrete needs, and we’d be happy to help you with our expertise.

If you notice any of the above issues with your concrete driveway, give us a call or reach out via our contact page. We provide FREE estimates and will point you in the right direction to keep your concrete driveway in pristine condition!