As winter turns to spring and the snow continues to melt, you’ll likely start to notice the impact winter had on your home, and odds are, it’s not very pretty. Harsh weather can damage many areas of your home and winter can be particularly hard on your driveway. While plows and de-icers wear away at your driveway’s sealant, freezing and thawing cycles and snowmelt lead to the formation of deep cracks and fissures. Here are 3 signs your driveway could use some TLC after this long, cold winter.
1. Standing Water
The first and most obvious sign of damage is water pooling on your driveway’s surface. Though it may seem minor, you should reach out to a pro who can rectify this drainage issue. When melted snow fails to drain away from your driveway, there is a chance that it will seep into small cracks in your driveway’s surface and freeze. If this water freezes, which we know is likely during the ups and downs of a Canadian spring, it will expand and slowly break apart your driveway’s foundation. As a result, it’s best to have a driveway specialist come by and repave the surface of your driveway before it needs to be replaced altogether.
Luckily, if you notice cracks but they are less than ¼” wide, they can be quickly repaired by a pro using a liquid crack filler. Cracks this size are usually a result of concrete shrinkage, which is common as your driveway settles and water in the concrete mixture begins to evaporate. The important thing to remember is that if these cracks aren’t properly filled or repaved, water will enter the lower layers of your driveway and cause further damage.
While small cracks are a bit of an eyesore, they usually aren’t indicative of a larger structural issue. However, take note if the surface of your driveway starts to resemble the texture of an alligator’s back. Concrete and asphalt driveways need to be resealed every 2 to 3 years. It’s especially important that Canadian homeowners adhere to this regular maintenance schedule due to our extreme climate, as sealant protects your driveway from U.V. and water damage.
Alligator cracks are a sign that your driveway hasn’t been adequately protected, and indicates that the sub-layers of your driveway may no longer be able to support the surface. If left unaddressed, the networks of cracks will continue to grow, leaving potholes where pieces have chipped away. Hire a pro to repave your driveway before it becomes unsafe for cars and pedestrians.
If you have an asphalt driveway, you should also check for signs of raveling. Asphalt consists of two ingredients, binder and aggregate. Down the line, it’s possible that these ingredients will start to lose their bond. Loose pieces of gravel on the surface of your driveway are solid evidence that this is the case. If treated by a pro right away, this problem can be quickly resolved. However, if left unaddressed, larger pieces of aggregate will come loose, breaking up the surface of your driveway entirely and allowing water to gain access to the base of your driveway. If you’re unsure how to identify this kind of damage, have a paving specialist come by to diagnose the issue and decide on the best course of action.
If you notice any of these signs of damage, your driveway is likely due for an update. Whether you decide to repair or renew your driveway, you’ll need the help of a pro to get the project done. Head to HomeStars to find the best company for the job.
Cover image courtesy of J.H. Rudolph & Co., Inc.