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Top Reasons Why Concrete Driveways Crack



Most driveways on both residential and commercial properties are built using concrete. While it is among the most durable construction materials, its notable qualities of durability and weather resistance may eventually fade away because of various issues, including the presence of cracks. These are not just an eyesore, but also a sign of an underlying problem. But what causes these cracks?


Improper Installation


One of the common reasons why cracks form on concrete driveways is due to poor installation. Sand, dirt or any light base material isn’t ideal because it attracts moisture and causes the concrete to expand and contract under extreme temperature changes. Cracks form as the driveway succumbs to uneven pressure during freeze-thaw cycles. A good contractor will construct the driveway’s base or subbase by packing crushed stone tight and installing aggregate material before pouring concrete over it.


Salt as De-Icing Agent


During the winter, salt is applied on road surfaces. It dissolves in the water that is present on the surface, which lowers the freezing point below the ice’s temperature and prevents it from freezing and getting slick. Doing the same for concrete driveways, however, can be bad because salt expedites the snow’s thawing process. Water will then seep into the paved surface, refreezing once cold weather sets in and exerting pressure on the driveway, resulting in cracks. Concrete maintenance experts recommend using sand instead of ice to help vehicles gain traction.


Tree Roots


In addition to freeze-thaw cycles exerting pressure on concrete driveways, the growth of roots underneath the soil is another reason why cracks appear. The driveway's placement must be considered to prevent cracks from appearing. Ideally, it should be as far from nearby trees as possible. Alternatively, a root barrier system can be installed together with the driveway to keep the roots from penetrating and causing cracks.


NAV Construction specializes in concrete-related projects, such as the installation of pavers, slabs, ditches and walls. Call (540) 812-2277, or fill out our contact form to get a quote or schedule a consultation.

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