Should I Resurface or Replace My Concrete Driveway?
Concrete is normally a tough and durable material, but, without regular maintenance—or despite your best efforts—a concrete driveway can fall into disrepair. Cracks, holes, and stains can appear and will turn your once-pristine driveway into an unsafe and unattractive problem.
When that happens, you’ll have to consider what you want to do. Should you get a new surface on the driveway? Should you replace it entirely? This handy guide will walk you through your options and make sure you save both time and money.
Everyday Wear and Tear
Damage to a concrete patio or driveway—in fact, any concrete surface—isn’t always your fault. Constant use will put a strain on concrete no matter how much you look after it. A properly maintained driveway will last for years longer than one that’s unloved, but, even so, there will come a point in time when it will need work to restore it to its former glory.
What Can I Repair?
In the hands of a skilled contractor, almost any kind of damage can be repaired on a concrete surface. The damage might be only surface-level, or it might just be a worn decorative design. On the other hand, you might be looking at extensive structural damage from years of use and heavy weather.
Chipped edges are a little trickier to repair without making the driveway look uneven, but if it is a safety issue more than an aesthetic one, it can be done. Again, it all depends on you hiring a professional and reliable concreting company to do the right job.
Assessing the Damage
As with all decisions, the first step is to take a step backward. Look over your driveway and really try to figure out how much damage there is. Some questions you need to ask yourself:
- How deep do the cracks go?
- Is there no way to get that stain off?
- Does any part of the driveway move when you walk on it?
- Are you just dissatisfied with the way it looks?
This will help you understand what needs to be done and what your next move will be. If you’re still not totally sure, it may help to get an outside opinion from a friend, neighbor, or builder.
Your Three Options
When it comes to fixing a driveway, your two options are generally either resurfacing it or replacing it entirely. However, there is a third option: patching it with a little extra concrete where necessary.
If there’s only one hole or a surface-level crack, patching the concrete could be your best bet. This is both cheap and easy to do on your own, but you will need to be careful and make sure the hole doesn’t represent a bigger, structural problem.
The problem with patching is that, like most quick-fixes, it won’t last for very long. Water will find its way into the edges between the patch job and the driveway and will deepen the crack underneath it. You may find that you have to repeat the patch job every year as it fails. On top of that, if you rush the job, it won’t blend in with the rest of the concrete surface and look unattractive.
As a way to cover small pits and holes and shallow cracks, resurfacing is the way to go. All this involves is laying a new level of concrete over the top of the driveway and adding a texture again if desired. Sometimes, the top level of the existing driveway will be ground down to make way for the new layer.
Note that this will not fix any big structural problems with the driveway—if the new surface is laying on a broken foundation, the same problems will appear further down the line. Having said that, this is a great way to refresh your driveway as well as cover up permanent stains, adding a lot to “curb appeal” and the value of your home, especially if you’re about to sell.
The most drastic approach of the three is to rip out that old driveway and lay down a whole new one. You may not have a choice in the matter, here: If the surface has cracked all the way through and is showing signs of instability, this is the only safe option.
Obviously, this will be the most expensive option. On the other hand, getting an all-new driveway means you have the chance to change the shape, size, and design—to accommodate more cars, for example, or follow a different path.
Sticking to Your Budget
Probably the most important thing to most homeowners is the expense of repairing your driveway. Patching it is, by far, the cheapest way to fix up small issues, and replacing it entirely will cost you the same amount as installing a new driveway in the first place. Before you get started, you’ll have to consider how far your budget stretches.
Of course, you also have to factor in the longevity—how long the repair job will stand up for after it’s done. If a replacement driveway costs twice as much as a resurface, for example, but will last three times as long under pressure, then it’s probably worth it in the long run, especially if you’re planning to hand that house on to the next generation!
How Will It Look?
The idea of “curb appeal”—how attractive your home is from the street—is worth repeating here, as it does matter a great deal. You want a house and front yard that you’re proud of, not one that you’re constantly trying to hide from your neighbors.
Because you can redesign your driveway’s texture and pattern with a resurface, and its size and overall design with a replacement, you should consider your choice as not just repairs, but an opportunity to match your new artistic vision.
Maintenance Is Vital
Deciding how and when to fix your driveway can be exhausting, stressful, and draining on the wallet. By the time you’ve finished, you’re probably hoping that you never have to do it again!
That’s why regular, adequate maintenance is essential: It’ll mean that you have to have to resurface or replace your driveway and hand over your hard-earned money far less often. If you don’t have time in your busy schedule to care for your concrete, then consider hiring a professional cleaner. It’ll save you money in the long run.
Calling in the Professionals
Cross Construction Services, CCS Concrete Driveways, are the experts when it comes to fixing and building driveways. With over 30 years of experience in driveway and patio construction in Houston, we’re the people you need to call if you can’t decide whether to resurface or replace.
We’ll provide you with an unbiased and accurate assessment of your driveway and your options and take the weight off your shoulders. Our estimates are free, and our reliable specialists will deliver you a solution that will save you time and stick to your budget.
Got a driveway problem you don’t know how to fix? What are you waiting for? Call us at (713) 254-1703 today!