What causes a cracked driveway?

cracked driveway

As vital as a driveway is to the appearance and practicality of your home, we rarely give it much thought unless something is wrong. A cracked driveway can not only adversely affect the look of your property, it can be a hazard too. By understanding what causes a driveway to crack, you can work towards preventing it from happening in the first place, allowing you to maintain a safe and attractive driveway for longer. To this end, the experts at UK Surfacings Ltd have compiled some of the most common reasons for why driveways crack.

Poor driveway foundations

The root cause of many split driveways is a poor quality installation. In these instances, a contractor may not have taken the time to tightly pack the sub-base layer, or they might have scrimped on materials, using sand and dirt when crushed stone is the best and sturdiest option. If your driveway’s base is substandard, it can become prone to cracking as the materials beneath the smooth surface can shift easily and are more susceptible to seasonal pressures. Avoid this problem by choosing a reputable, well-established contractor.

Poor workmanship

If you don’t choose a professional to install your new driveway, you run the risk of the work being carried out sloppily, corners being cut and being left with a poor quality finish which is vulnerable to cracking. For example, if too much water is added to your concrete mix, a concrete driveway will shrink more when it dries, increasing the likelihood of significant cracks. Unknowledgeable installers may also fail to incorporate expansion/control joints which can help to manage the natural expansion and contraction of concrete in different weather conditions, without unsightly fissures.

Freeze-thaw cycles

driveway freeze

Water can seep into your driveway surfacing – including tarmac, concrete and asphalt – and, when the temperature drops, can freeze up. As water freezes, it expands, and it is this expansion which can put pressure on your surfacing and cause cracks. Seal your driveway periodically to reduce water infiltration and to keep it looking fresh.

Tree roots

Having a tree-lined driveway can look gorgeous but place them too close by and, as they grow, their roots can cause havoc with your surfacing. The growing roots will apply uneven upwards pressure on your driveway and will eventually cause cracks in any surfacing, from tarmac to paving stones. Plan ahead and install tree root barriers along the outer edge of your driveway to prevent this.

Excessive weight on your driveway

driveway damage

Your driveway may be robust and hard-wearing but you should still take care not to overload it. A family car or truck shouldn’t lead to any harm but large commercial vehicles can cause driveway damage. Paving stones and concrete can break and tarmac and asphalt can become dented under heavy loads so try to keep overly weighty vehicles off your driveway.

UK Surfacings Ltd are experts in providing high quality surfacing solutions. With over 30 years of industry experience and a team of well-trained, skilled operatives, you can trust in the standard of our work. For a reliable, cost effective surfacing contractor in and around London, get in touch with our helpful team today.