Why is My Driveway Crumbling?

At some point in their lives, most homeowners are going to take a good long look at their driveways and notice that something’s wrong. It seems like only a year or two ago that the surface was freshly installed, brand new, flawless and smooth. Now it truly looks as though the years have taken their toll. Cracks are beginning to show, and whole pieces of concrete or asphalt may be coming loose. These are natural effects of time, weather, and temperature swings. All pavement crumbles eventually — but why so soon? Why is my driveway crumbling before their time?

The answer lies in the mistakes and blunders commonly made by companies who specialize in pavement installation and repair. There are plenty of good ones out there — people who are skilled and accomplished with all types of pavement, and genuinely do good work — but there are also people who aren’t very professional at all. Here are some specific reasons why your driveway is crumbling so soon.

Errors were made during the installation process

Your pavement contractor may have lacked the knowledge, equipment and experience to really do the job right. All of these factors are necessary for a quality installation. If any of them are absent, you’ve got problems. It’s especially important to have a contractor who does quality work on the base and sub-base layers — that is, the layers of pavement that lie beneath the actual surface, and support it though the years. Cutting corners in this area, or using sub-par pavement mixtures, is guaranteed to bring frustration over time.

You (the homeowner) used too much salt or chemicals to melt ice

If you reside in a state with cold winters, it’s important to keep that pavement clear. Salt and other chemicals are commonly used to cut through snow and ice. This is good in the short-term, as it enables us to leave home and get to work. But in the long term, it degrades the composition of the pavement — particularly in the case of asphalt. The presence of too much salt can allow water to pass through the pavements outer surface, which then freezes and expands/contracts with changing temperatures. Cracks and crumbling can definitely result from this.

Trees are growing under the pavement

No pavement can compete with the power of a huge, mature tree. Their roots go very deep into the ground, and can push up against pavement, causing all kinds of problems. How do you avoid this? An expert pavement specialist will look for these things right away. If you choose a reputable company, you’ll know about such possibilities before any pavement is installed.

Keeping your driveway strong for years to come

If you’ve already got cracks and trouble spots in your driveway, a specialist may be able to effect quality repairs that really do extend the length of the driveway, and solve your problems for a number of years. If the situation is really bad, it might be time to think about milling the old pavement and starting fresh with a reputable, upstanding contractor who does things right.