Step on a crack, break your mother’s back… and pocketbook. Concrete driveways crack for many different reasons. It is in the very nature of the material. Although we can never expect to have a crack-free concrete driveway, here we’ll discuss some major causes and ways to hopefully lengthen the lifespan of your concrete. if you interest please visit Lifting Equipment.
Stop the Sodium
Concrete fluctuates in temperature changes. Heat expands, cold contracts, ultimately causing concrete to crack. If winter brings you ice and snow, your concrete driveway needs your help. Although you may want to use salt to dissipate the ice, your concrete driveway will suffer. Concrete molecularly freezes at 18 degrees Fahrenheit, and thaws at 35 degrees. Ice facilitates the freezing and thaw cycles, speeding up the melting of snow. The moisture from the melted snow and ice will seep into the concrete and the next time it freezes, moisture freezes inside the concrete. This creates pressure, causing cracking. Likewise, the salt will re-crystallize in the pores of the concrete, damaging the structure of the material. The two suggestions here are to use sand as an alternative to salt, and to make sure to apply a sealant to the concrete once a year.
Sunny Side of the Street
Just as winter causes extreme conditions, so does summer. Concrete baked in the summer sun will expand and then drop back down as night falls. Just like with moisture, yearly applying of a good acrylic silicone solvent based sealer to the concrete will help guard against cracks. The cracks can also be repaired with an epoxy injection, dry packing or routing and sealing techniques to stabilize the cracks.
Lose Some Weight
A major cause of concrete cracking is having more weight on it than the structure can withstand. The majority of residential driveways are four inches thick and designed to hold less than 10,000 lbs. of weight. While this isn’t a problem for families with cars, trucks or SUVs, anything heavier than that may be too much for the driveway to handle. Large trucks and RVs easily exceed the 10,000 lb. limit, and will cause damage. While wire mesh or rebar will be used to help support the concrete, if you intend on having heavy vehicles on the driveway, opt for a five or six inch thick driveway, or park the heavy vehicle elsewhere.
Good Hiring Practices
A lot of issues with cracking come from the initial pouring of the concrete by your contractor. It is vital you have a contractor who is skilled and knows what he or she is doing. Too much water in the mix, pouring concrete onto frozen ground, and the improper installation of wire mesh or rebar can all cause cracking. The base of the concrete slab is vital to the health of the driveway in the long run, so your contractor should be skilled at laying the prepping the ground in a way that is right for your location’s needs. Control joints are also immensely important. An example of these is the large “cracks” between sidewalk squares. They are there to allow for the expansion and contraction of the concrete so real cracks don’t occur.
Cracks are going to happen in concrete. However, minimizing cracking and adding longevity to a concrete driveway can be accomplished. For more information, contact a concrete driveway contractor near you.