When Is It Time to Replace of Old Concrete Driveways and Patios?

Concrete driveways and patios can last quite a long time with the right maintenance and care. Eventually, they still do wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, you can expect to get between 20 to 30 years out of your concrete patio or driveway. As your driveway or patio starts to age, it will show signs that it could need to be replaced.

When Concrete Driveway and Patio Repairs Are Acceptable

To slow the signs of aging and help extend the life of the concrete, concrete driveway and patio repairs are necessary. Some of the more common repairs you should address sooner, rather than later, include:

  • Cracks: If you start to notice small cracks in the surface of the concrete, have these repaired by qualified Houston concrete contractors. If you do not repair cracks, they will continue to expand and get much bigger. Cracks will also start to become more noticeable, as water will erode the concrete and create gaps.
  • Chips: If there are small areas where part of the concrete has been chipped off, have it fixed. Chipping occurs when a heavy object impacts the concrete and causes part of it to come off. For instance, you might accidentally hit the edge of the driveway with a lawnmower blade.

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What Concrete Driveway and Patio Maintenance Can Help?

In addition to taking care of concrete repairs when they occur, regular concrete driveway and patio maintenance also helps extend the longevity and useful lifespan of concrete. Maintenance should include:

  • Cleaning: You will want to clean your concrete driveway and patio every month. Basic cleaning involves sweeping off dust, dirt, and debris. It also involves keeping grass and weeds from growing around the concrete, as well as in between each concrete section.
  • Stain Removal: If you notice stains in the concrete, you will want to get these removed. Stains can set into the concrete and not only affect the appearance but also cause faster deterioration of the concrete.
  • Resealing: Depending on the amount of traffic and types of weather your concrete driveway or patio is exposed to, you will want to get it resealed every two to three years. Resealing the concrete helps protect against staining, the elements, and other issues which can affect how long concrete lasts.
  • Drainage Issues: If you notice the water is pooling and not draining away, it needs to be fixed. Drainage issues can result in additional damages to the patio or driveway, as well as cause faster deterioration of the concrete.

You can have both concrete driveway and patio repairs and maintenance taken care of by our Houston concrete contractors. We offer a variety of services to keep your driveway and patio looking great.

Five Signs You Need to Replace Concrete Patios and Driveways

No matter how well you keep up on your concrete repairs and maintenance, eventually you will still need to replace it. You will want to watch out for these signs to know when it is time to get a new concrete patio or concrete driveway:

  1. Repairs are becoming excessive. There is a breaking point you will reach where repairs start to become more and more frequent. When having to get your driveway or patio repaired is part of your normal maintenance routines, it is time to get your patio or driveway replaced.
  2. Wide, deep, or excessively long cracks. Cracks can get to the point where they can no longer be repaired. If you notice wide gaps, cracks that appear to go all the way through the patio or driveway, or cracks that run from one end to the other, it is time to get a new patio or driveway.
  3. There are sections of the driveway or patio which are no longer even or are sinking. If excessive drain water gets into cracks, it can cause the underlying soil to also erode. This can lead to parts of the patio or driveway sinking. In turn, this can lead to even more cracks and breakage, as well as unevenness in the surface.
  4. Large missing concrete chunks. If there are multiple areas where large chunks of the concrete are missing around the edges of concrete patios or driveways, these cannot be repaired. Any attempted patching does not hold long and quickly wears away.
  5. The driveway is already 20-plus years old. Getting a new concrete driveway or patio now will provide you and your family with 20 to 30 years of enjoyment and make your home look great.

Getting a new concrete driveway or patio installed not only improves the appearance of your home but could also increase its value. In addition, most homeowners only have to replace their concrete driveways and patios once or twice in their lifetimes.

What Can You Do with Old Concrete Driveways and Patios?

When you are having concrete driveways or patios replaced with a new one, you can recycle the old concrete being torn out. There are several neat landscaping design ideas where the old patio or driveway can be repurposed around your home.

  • Have the concrete broken into smaller sections and use it as a faux tile walkway. The broken up concrete can be placed over a solid substrate. To give the appearance of tile, mortar is poured in between each of the pieces. The surface is finished off with a clear protective sealant.
  • Use the concrete in place of mulch in flower and garden beds. You can have the concrete broken up into pebble-like pieces and spread it over your flower and garden beds. The concrete will look like small stones.
  • Use the concrete to build a retaining wall around a flower or garden bed. You can have the concrete broken into block-size pieces and use it to build a small retaining wall to create an elevated flower or garden bed.
  • Use the concrete to build a privacy wall. You will need some wire gabions—small metal cages. Fill the space inside the cage with the broken up concrete, and then secure the cage in the ground to make a decorative privacy wall.
  • Use it as drainage If you have drainage problems around your home, you can dig up the ground and fill it in with the broken-up concrete driveway or patio. You can also use it in this manner and place it around underground drain lines which route water away from the home.
  • Recycle part of the old concrete into your new concrete driveway or patio. The old concrete can replace some, but not all of the new concrete used for your new concrete driveway or patio. It is crushed down into a powder and then mixed into the new concrete.
  • You can take the old concrete and a pond liner to build a pond. Ponds are great water features to add around your home. Once built, you can put chunks of the concrete into the pond itself to give your fish areas where they can hide.
  • Use it in your fish tank. You can have the concrete broken down into right-size pieces and use it in your fish tank in place of pebbles or rocks. Small pieces also work well to serve as the foundation for new coral you are trying to grow in your tank.

This is just a small sampling of the many different things you can do with your old concrete driveway or patio. Hopefully, these ideas will give you the inspiration to come up with even more great ways to use the old concrete around your home.

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Why You Should Hire Professional Houston Concrete Contractors

When it comes to installing a brand new concrete patio or driveway, it is something that is better left to experienced Houston concrete contractors. It might seem like it is not that difficult to mix and pour concrete. However, there is more to installing a new concrete driveway or patio that tends to get overlooked.

First, the underlying surface must be properly prepared. It has to be dug out deep enough so that, when the concrete is poured, there will be a solid and strong piece of concrete. If the ground is not dug out correctly, then the concrete patio or driveway will not be thick enough. This will lead to premature cracking and splitting.

Once the ground has been dug out deep enough, then the soil underneath must be compacted to be as firm as possible. Depending on where you live, you may need to use another type of soil as the substrate layer and have that compacted prior to pouring the concrete. Otherwise, if the ground is not compacted correctly and the concrete is poured over it, it will lead to sinking, cracking, and splitting of the driveway or patio.

Next, some sort of added support needs to be placed over the compacted ground before the concrete is poured.  This often involves using solid metal bars, which will provide additional support after the concrete sets.

Last, the concrete has to fully cure, and then it must be properly sealed and protected. If you do not wait until it is cured and attempt to seal it early, it will only lock in excess moisture and cause the driveway or patio to wear out much faster.

Getting a new concrete driveway or patio requires following the right steps for a solid, strong, and great-looking driveway or patio. For all of your concrete driveway and patio repairs and maintenance or to have a new concrete driveway or patio installed, please feel free to contact the Houston concrete contractors at Cross Construction Services by calling 713-254-1703 today!

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