When to Repair or Replace a Concrete Driveway

Have you replaced your concrete driveway? If so, have you given any thought to repairing it, or adding another coating? If so, your decision may be wise. There are numerous reasons to replace a concrete driveway, as outlined below.

The greatest reason to replace concrete driveway costs is that they are very expensive to replace, especially if they are located outdoors in an area exposed to inclement weather. The average cost to repair an aggregate driveway range between $500 and $1,100, depending on the size of the space, and the condition it’s in. The lowest cost to repair an aggregate driveway per linear foot is $200, while the highest price per linear foot for repairing a driveway is $2,200 for reselling a flat space of imprinted concrete on top of a newly poured concrete slab. For this reason alone, many homeowners choose to immediately replace concrete surfaces with higher quality asphalt for their driveways, walkways and porches. Not only is asphalt more affordable, it is also far easier to apply than concrete, which greatly reduces the amount of labor required to prepare it for installation.

When faced with the decision to replace concrete or to repair and reinstall an asphalt surface, the same considerations that must be addressed apply. First, most local building codes will require that driveways have a minimum thickness of one-half inch. Fortunately, it is not necessary to have an extra three inches of depth for concrete driveways. In fact, most professional experts recommend that newly constructed driveways have a minimum thickness of just one-half inch to reduce the risk of concrete cracking. Also, new asphalt surface will typically require just one day to two days to dry for the best result.

One important thing to keep in mind when deciding whether to replace concrete or to repair and reinstall an asphalt surface is that there are actually multiple ways to construct and install a concrete and asphalt foundation. Many local home improvement stores offer the use of stamped concrete and stamped asphalt to cut down construction costs and increase the time it takes to install a new driveway. However, there are other options as well.

There are three main options when deciding how to replace concrete driveway costs. They include: concrete, stamped asphalt and exposed aggregate. Concrete generally costs the most per square foot due to the relatively low cost of raw materials and the amount of labor required to install concrete. In addition, stamped concrete requires the most specialized and expensive concrete mix and application processes which can be very costly. Moreover, an asphalt driveway allows for greater flexibility, such as varying the thickness of the base material by one to three inches and adding decorative concrete surfacing to change the appearance of the overall surface.

Although concrete is the lowest priced option for driveway installation, some of the cost savings come from choosing to use stamped concrete instead of exposed aggregate. Exposed aggregate is constructed from pre-fabricated aggregates (e.g., gravel, crushed stone or sand) and requires the least amount of processing and finishing since the aggregates are already on the surface. The most labor intensive part of the fabrication process for exposed aggregate driveway surfaces is the application of the chemical etching, which dulls the surface and makes the sealant/stamped patterns more noticeable after it dries. This is where stamped concrete saves the most money per square foot.

The second most expensive option for a concrete driveway is to replace it with new surface materials. While new construction can save you up to three times more in labor costs over existing construction, new construction also requires an investment in new materials such as asphalt, bitumen, rock carpet, etc. that will need to be installed over an extended period of time. Over the long run, these materials will end up costing you significantly more than a comparable asphalt alternative.

Concrete resurfacing is less expensive, because materials do not have to be purchased all at once. If a contractor does not need to replace the driveway in one fell swoop, then a complete resealing project can take less than seven years to wear off, whereas a full replacement will probably take closer to twenty years. In addition, since surface resurfacing projects do not require the purchase of new aggregates or other materials, the average cost of this method is much lower than any of the other options.

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