Your concrete driveway and pavers experience a lot of wear and tear over time. Everything from impacts, root infiltration, water damage, temperature fluctuations, and more can affect your concrete in unexpected ways; knowing what can cause this damage can help you better protect it. The DuraSeal team discusses some of the most common reasons your concrete surfaces keep cracking and what you can do to address the ongoing issues.
Heat Expansion Cracks
Temperature fluctuations can have a noticeable effect on your concrete at any time of the year. Extreme heat causes your driveways to expand, pushing against anything it comes into contact with. When both materials can’t flex with the pressure, it can cause cracks to form in the concrete if it exceeds its structural strength.
Expansion joints can be used within your concrete — often a layer of asphalt, rubber, or lumber — to provide necessary shock absorption. However, even these measures can’t do everything to help fully alleviate the pressure and prevent cracks from forming.
Heaving cracks occur on the other end of the temperature spectrum after the ground around your concrete driveway or paver. The frozen water can lift the material several inches before thawing and settling back to its original position. The freeze and thaw cycle can cause an untold number of cracks to your surfaces if it can’t move with the cycles, definitively causing it to crack prematurely.
Additionally, encroaching tree roots can cause heaving cracks. The base of every tree reaches down into the earth and expands outward, trying to get the nutrition it needs to live a long and happy life. For trees planted near driveways, the roots can grow into the bottom layers of the concrete, continue expanding and cause cracks to form throughout.
If the ground beneath your concrete starts to settle, it can create cracks in the top layer of your pavers. This usually happens when a void is created in the ground beneath the concrete’s surface. Suppose you have had some work done on your sewer lines recently. If they forget to compact the soil in the surrounding area, the resulting gap in the concrete can cause the ground to settle and, ultimately, cause cracks to form.
Premature Drying Cracks
The curing process for your concrete is vital to the initial installation. If it gets thrown out of sync, it can quickly lead to two distinct types of cracks — crazing and crusting.
The cracks are characterized by fine, spider-web-like surface cracks that appear on the top of a concrete slab. These tend to form when the slab loses moisture too quickly, causing it to dry out and crack. This type might ruin the aesthetic appeal of your concrete, but it is not an immediate structural concern.
This type usually occurs during the concrete stamping process when your installers try to add textures or patterns to the surface. Depending on the weather conditions that day, the top layer dries out more quickly than the bottom, causing the surface to get a crusty look and feel. When the stamp is applied, it will pull the surface apart near the joints and cause small cracks around the edges.
How Do I Prevent These Cracks From Happening?
Homeowners want to do everything they can to protect their investment from cracking prematurely and becoming a constant eyesore. While they can perform preventative concrete maintenance to help give their surfaces a fighting chance, getting a professional concrete sealing service in NC, SC, GA, and FL can make all the difference.
DuraSeal has helped countless homeowners protect their concrete investments from prematurely cracking and structural damage. Our proven wood, concrete, stone, and masonry protection has helped keep their properties looking their best for years. Contact our team to learn more about our services and schedule your next appointment!