How to repair cracks in walkways and driveways

Driveways and walkways are pleasant to walk on and look at when they are new and crack-free. When they are well maintained and free of damage, they are rarely noticed. However once they have some damage, they are easily noticed and may give the home a dilapidated appearance. You’ll either have a concrete or asphalt driveway as these are the most common in America. Asphalt experiences cracks more easily than concrete. This is because of the the method of setting these materials to form the driveway or walkway. Concrete when poured has joints placed along its length to break the grade. These allow the concrete to expand and contract without cracking. Asphalt on the other hand has no joints and this makes it more vulnerable to cracks.

Repairing asphalt cracks

Asphalt mostly found on driveways  experiences cracks for various reasons.  It can be affected by surface water settling on it when it rains. Sometimes roots may crack the asphalt from below as they push their way through. Even soil from a flower bed nearby will damage the asphalt when it gets on it and becomes damp.

  • The first step when repairing an asphalt driveway is to clean it up. Use a shovel to get all the dirt, grass and debris off it. Sweep out the remaining all the remaining dirt with a hard brush or broom. Once the driveway is clean, it will be easy to identify the problem areas. You’ll need to identify all the cracks, and every damaged part before you begin repairs. Once you have identified the areas requiring repair, power wash the driveway including the inside of the cracks.
  • To repair cracks, you will need to use a caulking tool to apply the asphalt filler which is a rubberized caulk. This will allow you to get the material right inside the cracks to seal them properly. This caulk will seal the crack and also allows for expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature.
  • For severely damaged areas, the asphalt requires replacement. You’ll use a cold patch asphalt to cover these areas. The advantage of cold patch asphalt is that it does not need to be heated. It hardens with use and the more it is driven over, the harder it becomes.  Damp the material into the required area and then tamp it down. It is recommended that this is done on a hot day.
  • Once all the material is dry, apply the sealer. Look for a no stir sealer that you’ll be able to apply on your driveway pretty easily. Apply it slowly and evenly looking to achieve a smooth finish all round. Allow the first coat to dry for several hours before applying your second coat. Sometimes a second coat is necessary especially for the driveways with high porosity.

Causes of concrete cracks

Cracks in concrete driveways and walkways arise from various factors. 
  • They may be as a result of freeze-thaw cycles or roots pushing up from the ground.
  • Sometimes concrete was poured over soil that was not properly compacted.
  • Concrete was poured out too thinly.
Repairing these cracks should be a priority. When left as they are, further damage may result when moisture seeps into the soil underneath.
 

Repairing cracks

  • The first step is to clean up the area of the crack. Water will work just fine for this purpose. Use a brush to help remove the stubborn dirt inside the crack. Make sure you remove all the water from the crack before applying the bonding glue. One way to do this is to press a dry sponge into the crack to absorb all the moisture.
  • The next step is to spread the bonding glue into the crack thinly. This is not required if your surface is sufficiently moist but many people will still use it.  Remove any excess glue in the crack with a sponge.
  • Pour out the concrete mixture into the crack up to the level of the rest of the walkway or driveway and let it sit for about twenty minutes.
  • Finally smooth out the top with a sponge to blend it with the rest of the concrete around it.
  • Some people will want to completely mask the crack by covering the entire driveway with a thin layer of concrete mix after filling the crack.  This requires allowing the concrete in the crack to rest for a few hours before applying the resurfacer. Also, wet the surface first before applying this material as it will keep it from drying out too fast. Apply the resurfacer slowly and try and achieve a smooth even finish.
  • By passing a broom over the surface you will create a non-slip finish which makes the walkway safe to walk on when its wet.

Cracks on driveways and walkways will eventually come up on any walkway and driveway.  They do not however have to remain an eyesore as they can be easily and quickly repaired.

Video – How to fix or repair chipped cracked or broken concrete

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