Proper Use and Maintenance of Your Concrete Driveway Is Vital to Minimising the Need for Crack Repairs

Concrete is a popular choice of material for commercial and residential driveway installation in Australia, thanks to its incredible strength and durability as well as its low-maintenance nature. Concrete driveways are not, however, completely invincible. Like other types of concrete paving, concrete driveways are susceptible to cracking. Concrete cracking can be caused by several different things, including: shrinkage of concrete post-installation, exposure to cold and wet winter conditions, structural overloading and use of chemical de-icers. 

While crack formation in concrete driveways is inevitable, proper use and care of your concrete driveway will help to prevent cracks and minimise the need for crack repairs. Here's some advice you should use in that regard.

Sealcoat your driveway: The first thing you can do to prevent cracking is to apply concrete sealer onto your concrete when it is completely cured. This will add to the cost of installation, but it will remarkably enhance the moisture- and water-resistance of your driveway. Without sealer, moisture will be absorbed into the concrete paving. As freeze-thaw cycles take place during the winter months, the moisture and water in the concrete will freeze and expand upwards, resulting in the formation of cracks through a process referred to as frost heaving. Periodic sealcoating of your concrete driveway is critical to preventing cracking that may be terminal to your driveway.

Avoid overloading your driveway: Although concrete is one of the most robust and durable materials available for construction of driveways and other types of paving, each concrete driveway has a specified structural load capacity that must not be exceeded. Knowing the structural load capacity of your driveway and avoiding overloading is critical to preventing cracks, which are usually the first warning signs of impending structural damage.

Use sand instead of chemical de-icers in winter: While rock salt and other chemical de-icing agents help to quickly get rid of the ice that makes driveways wet and slippery to drive on during the winter season, they can be particularly detrimental to your concrete driveway. The thawing ice-turned-water may seep directly into the paving, leading to cracking. Choose your ice-melting products carefully, especially if your concrete is not properly sealcoated. In winter, sprinkling sand on concrete will provide the maximum traction possible for vehicles without damaging your driveway.

While it is virtually impossible to entirely prevent cracks in concrete, the above-discussed concrete care tips can help control and minimise the problem. For further guidance, contact a certified concrete contractor today.