4 Signs You Need To Replace Your Driveway

Posted on: 16 December 2014

Has your driveway seen better days? Over time, many driveways crack and erode. Some cracks and breaks are more severe than others are. You can repair and apply a topcoat to minor cracks, but if your driveway has severely deteriorated, you may need to completely replace it. While it may require a significant investment, it's a necessity. Driveways are usually a prominent property feature, and an unattractive one can ruin the curb appeal of even the best looking home. Here are four signs that you need to remove and replace your driveway.

Your driveway is old.

Most asphalt driveways have a lifespan of 10-30 years. Concrete driveways can last even longer. Those figures, however, are mostly for driveways in moderate climates that have been well maintained over the years. A driveway in an area that has harsh winter climates is exposed to lots of water, salt and other damaging winter elements and will have to be replaced sooner.

The older your driveway is, the less basic repairs will help. Asphalt and concrete become more prone to cracking as they age, so if yours is nearing the end of the average lifespan, it's time to consider replacing it. Patching will only frustrate you, because new issues will arise as soon as you've eliminated the old ones. In the end, the extra effort spent in upkeep isn't worth it.

Your driveway hasn't been resealed regularly.

Asphalt driveways have to be sealed every two to three years to prevent cracking and breaking around the edges. While sealants are relatively affordable, many homeowners are short on time and forget about doing the required maintenance. If yours has been neglected over the years, the cracks and breakage may be too extensive to repair.

The base under your driveway is in poor condition.

If you know what kind of base is under your driveway, take that into consideration. In areas with clay soil, for example, the driveway is more prone to moving and shifting. To stabilize the driveway, you'll need paving contractors to remove the old one and put in a thick layer of limestone or con-bit. In areas were soil is particularly unstable, a geotextile fabric may need to be put in place. These materials are durable and strong, providing a better base for the asphalt that will be laid over the top.

A significant portion of the driveway is covered in large cracks or holes.

Small cracks less than a quarter-inch wide aren't serious. They're surface cracks and do not indicate deep-level damage. These can be repaired by filling in cracks and applying a sealant. Cracks that are wider than a quarter-inch indicate significant structural issues. Filling in the cracks won't solve any problems—it will just cover them up.

The same applies to holes in your driveway. Both small and large holes can lead to further damage even if they are patched. Water will continue to seep in between the materials, causing the driveway to crack and break. Patching will also make your driveway look bad because the patched areas will likely be darker than the rest of the surrounding pavement. That's a serious kick to your home's curb appeal.

Will a new driveway increase your home's value? Maybe, but probably not. But you can rest assured that an old, cracked, crumbling driveway will affect the value of your property. The driveway is just one of those things that people only worry about if it's in poor condition. So, if you plan to sell your home or get it appraised in the near future, it's in your best interest to replace the driveway if it meets one or more of the above conditions.