Concrete is a strong and durable material, but even it has imperfections and can wear down over time. One of the most common visual signs of this happening to your concrete is the appearance of cracks, which may be large or small and can appear on several different sections of your concrete driveway, patio or other area.
At Lift-Up Concrete, we’re here to provide high-quality commercial and residential concrete lifting and leveling services for these and all other concrete concerns. Some driveway cracks may just need simple caulking as a filler, while others may signal the need for more significant leveling services that may also include caulk. Let’s go over some of the basics on why your driveway or other concrete surface may crack, plus why it’s important to fill these if they’re present.
Why Driveways Crack
There are a few different reasons why a concrete driveway might begin to crack:
- Drying: In some cases, concrete that isn’t cured or poured correctly can dry too quickly after being applied to a given surface. This will cause it to craze and crust over – the former refers to a network of small cracks that take place due to moisture content, while the latter occurs on stamped concrete when the pattern is pressed too early in the process.
- Shrinkage: Concrete is made from a combination of cement and water, which hardens as water evaporates. This causes a shrinking process, but if too much water is used, the shrinkage will be more than expected and can cause cracks.
- Weather changes: Another cause of concrete shrinking and expanding, even sometimes months or years after the concrete has been installed, is temperature or moisture changes. Temperature and humidity increases lead to expansions of concrete, while the other sides of these coins cause it to contract. When this happens too often, concrete can crack from the strain.
- Settling: When the soil collapses below concrete for various reasons.
- Heaving: When the ground pushes up against concrete and leads to cracks, usually due to growing tree roots or a heavy freeze and thaw cycle.
- Overload: In some cases, too much weight can put such large amounts of pressure on the concrete that it cracks.
Importance and Benefits of Filling Cracks
A few reasons why being sure to fill cracks that appear in your concrete surfaces, particularly driveways, is important:
- Safety: Driveways free of cracks prevent injury to you and any pedestrians.
- Damage: Cars, tires, bikes and any other items that touch the driveway will be at lower risk of damage.
- Leveling: Procedures like concrete leveling with raise and align your slabs, and this process is often combined with caulking to seal any cracks and keep the driveway level.
- Appearance: Finally, from both a comfort and home value standpoint, a clear driveway without cracks is the way to go.
For more information on why sealing concrete cracks is important, or to learn about any of our concrete raising or leveling services, speak to the pros at Lift-Up Concrete today.