Every year after winter we get asked the question, should I repair or replace my concrete driveway or garage floor?This year has been one of the worst winters in the past 6 years because we have had extreme temperature changes, snow on the ground for many days with above average freeze/thaw cycles.All of these are having a major impact on concrete surfaces.You can easily see the damage caused by the freeze/thaw cycles on the roads that we drive every day with pot holes popping up everywhere.Driving to work has become an obstacle course.Today, however, I am focused primarily on concrete surfaces.
So how do you know when it is time to replace your concrete versus repairing it? When considering repair, the following things are important:
- 1.How extensive is the repair i.e. crack filling, expansion joint repair, leveling concrete sections, concrete patching and how bad is the surface of the concrete?
- 2.How much will all the repair cost?
- 3.Will the driveway or garage floor look bad after all the repairs? Remember that 35% of the front of your home is the driveway.
- 4.What are your plans regarding the future of your home? How long will you remain in the home or do you plan to sell soon.
When evaluating repairs each problem must be looked at individually and then as a total solution.
Crack evaluation – Most cracks occur in winter due to the heaving of the ground during freeze/thaw cycles. If your driveway has small cracks from hairline size to one-quarter of an inch-wide they can be repaired by filling them with a flexible caulk. Crack Repair This type of repair will not make the crack disappear but it will extend the life of the concrete. If the cracks are larger, they can be repaired but sometimes it is more effective to replace the section of concrete. Large cracks are telling signs that the section of concrete is over unstable ground. Approximate cost repair to repair cracks is between $8 to $10 per linear foot.
Expansion or Control Joints – The purpose of the joints is to allow the concrete to expand and compress during winter and hot summers.Depending on the material of the expansion joint some will last for many years specially caulk-based joints versus the standard dark brown cardboard or asphalt joint material.The cardboard or asphalt materials will fail when exposed to water over time. They also tend to shrink over time therefore allowing water penetration under the slab. Water under the slab can cause the concrete sections to move or sink. Joint filling should always be tight in between the slab sections. Expansion Repair Approximate cost to remove and reseal an expansion joint is between $10 to $12 per linear foot.
Leveling Concrete Sections – When concrete is exposed to extreme weather, the ground under the slab can heave or sink moving the section of concrete up or down.It is necessary to level the sections or they will crack as you drive over them creating more problems. To level the sections, it is necessary to hire a mud-jacking company. We recommend a company that use poly-jacking because it is longer lasting and requires smaller holes to inject the leveling material.Leveling services start at $750.00.
Concrete Patching – Is a short-term solution but it will fill large holes. Patching will never match the color of the existing concrete but will extend the life of the concrete.Highways always seem to be under repair because it is very hard to bond old concrete with new concrete.It is difficult to approximate the cost to patch concrete because it can be done by the home owner or concrete contractor. SealGreen garage repair You will find that most qualified concrete contractors do not want to patch small concrete driveways or garage floors. Their time during the year to replace entire driveways is very limited and is the most profitable.
Driveway Surface Restoration – During extreme weather conditions the top of the concrete surface may peel off due to a poor installation. When water penetrates the concrete and freezes it will expand between the layers of concrete. Usually it is going to be between the finished layer of the concrete and the rest where the large aggregate is located.This happens due to using a deicer or snow melters that melt the frozen water but do not prevent water from refreezing. A good snow melt will prevent the water to refreeze therefore there is no expansion between layers. Restoring the surface is difficult and can be as expensive as replacing the section of concrete or entire driveway.
Two options are available repairing the surface:
- 1.Wash and Seal the surface to reduce or prevent further damage to the concrete. Wash and seal driveway This will not improve the look of the concrete but will extend the life for many years. Approximate cost to wash and seal an is between $0.75 to $1.00 per square feet.
- 2.Resurfacing will improve the look of the concrete if a qualified person applies the resurfacing material. It is as laborious as pouring a new concrete slab when done well. We are in the Midwest and we have noticed that resurfacing works best where there are no extreme weather conditions like Florida or California.A poor resurface job will start peeling within one to 2 years because they are applied over a weak surface, so preparing the existing surface is very critical for a successful overlay restoration job. Approximate cost to resurface or apply an overlay is between $2.50 to $4.50 per square feet.
Once you have determined the total cost of your repairs and compare them with the replacement cost of the section of concrete or entire driveway, we can tell you that if your total repair cost is more than 50% of total replacement you will be best position to replace than repairing concrete.The approximate cost for an entire drive replacement is about $ 5.00 to $10.00 per square feet. It is important to know that a low price per square feet price also means that you will be giving up some of the materials needed to install a good drive or garage floor. Therefore, the life expectancy may be reduced.
No mater if you are repairing or replacing your concrete you should always seal the concrete because it is proven that sealing concrete new or old will extend the life of the concrete many more years.
As a final note be aware that this year the winter weather has damaged many concrete driveways and garage floors. It is imperative that if you need any of this service to start contracting now before the concrete season starts because there is a limited amount of time in the year to repair or replace concrete and a limited amount of qualify concrete specialists.
For more information visit www. Sealgreen.com