Different types of concrete crumble
- Pitting – pitting is crumbling in one or two specific areas no bigger than 1 foot by 1 foot squares. Pitting is quite characteristic and easy to identify. It’s when the rocks in the concrete have popped out and the surface looks like it has bits missing from it. Pitting is very common and does not affect either the strength or integrity of the concrete. Pitting often comes from salt on the concrete surface for an extended period of time. Even if you don’t salt your concrete driveway in cold weather, your car will pick up salt from urban roads and transfer to your drive from under the car and in the wheel wells.
- Small and fixable – this is an area of concrete when you are down to the stone, and this can look like several areas of pitting all joined together. The area is probably big enough to be removed and replaced with new bags of concrete. These patches are often caused by a bad batch of concrete, but the crumbling can also be caused by extreme exposure to external chemicals like salt or acids. If the driveway is really old, then it will just be plain wear and tear
How to fix a crumbling concrete driveway
If you have discovered pitting and it is small and in limited areas, deep clean the driveway with a power washer to remove any residual salt, oil and dust before commencing driveway repairs. Let the concrete dry for a few hours and then apply a Penetrating Salt Guard Sealer to the entire driveway, not just the affected areas. This won’t restore areas which are already crumbling but it will prevent them from growing and the Salt Guard will protect the rest of the driveway from pitting. You should wash and seal the driveway every couple of years to protect it.
If the area is larger and looks like several sections of pitting joined together, then a professional driveway restorer or installer will know how to fix a crumbling concrete driveway best. They can cut around the affected area, remove the crumbling concrete and pour new concrete spaces. Rebar dowels will help the existing driveway surface bind with the new concrete.
A concrete driveway beyond driveway repair
There are many reasons why a concrete driveway is worn beyond repair and the most common is usage over a long period of time; concrete doesn’t last forever. Full replacement is usually the only option, and you will need to contact a contractor in your area for a price to remove the rubble and replace the surface.
Care and maintenance of a concrete driveway
If you have installed a new concrete driveway or inherited one at your new home, then it pays to take care driveway repairs sooner rather than later. This will reduce cracking and pitting and extend the lifespan of the concrete as well as its appearance.
Concrete driveways should be sealed every three to five years, more frequently if you live in a cold area which is prone to snow with treated roads. The chemicals in rock salt and winter road applications can destroy the surface of concrete and cause spalling and pitting. Never use ice-melting products on a concrete driveway, they spell certain death to the surface.
If you have an oil spot or a leak, clear it up as soon as you see it. A stain may remain, but this won’t harm the concrete structurally. If the oil is left, then it may seep into the concrete and compromise the structural integrity. Mop up any excess with sand or cat litter and then clean the stain with a commercial de-greaser, water and a strong bristled brush. The stain won’t go completely but you will protect your driveway from actual physical damage.
Checkout this short video on how to fix a crumbling concrete driveway:
Once you understand how to fix a crumbling concrete driveway, you may decide to go ahead with repairs or completely resurface if the damage is too far gone. You may want to learn more about the cost of pouring concrete if you intend to repair, or learn more about the cost to remove a concrete driveway in order to have a new one installed. Whatever choice you make, you will need to know the cost to sealcoat your new or repaired drive.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ‘spalling’?
Professional driveway installers use the term ‘spalling’ and this means that the original mixture used to create the concrete contained too much water. This leads to crumbly patches on your concrete surface with small pits which accumulate water. Spalling does not lend itself to effective repair by homeowners, but if the cracks are not severe, a professional may be able to patch and repair the driveway.
I have bought a house with a concrete driveway, how do I know if it is in a good state of repair?
Get an expert out to evaluate the concrete and advise you how best to care for it. If any remedial work is required, it is best not to leave it as the concrete will deteriorate further. A good driveway installer can advise you on a programme of care and maintenance which may be something you can do yourself with some help on an annual or biennial basis. A driveway in poor condition may not be beyond repair but if pitting areas or spalling is not remedied then eventually the whole surface will succumb to deterioration and crumble to stone.
Will a new concrete driveway add value to my home?
A concrete driveway professionally installed and well cared for will add between 5% and 10% to the value of your home. Parking is very high on a buyer’s list of requirements especially if you live in an urban area with limited street space. If you are replacing a crumbling concrete driveway, then it is definitely worth the investment. Concrete doesn’t have to look plain and municipal; it can be imprinted (read more about pattern imprinted concrete driveway costs) with attractive and unique designs that are tailored to your property.