How To: Fix Driveway Cracks

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You can fix driveway cracks that are under half an inch wide with concrete or asphalt fillers, sealers, or resurfacers. Cracks that are ½-inch wide or larger typically mean more serious structural damage and might need a more permanent fix.
There are a lot of frustrating things that can come up when you’re a homeowner, and cracks in your driveway are one of them. Sometimes the cracks are simply cosmetic and form as the driveway material dries, but some cracks can signal a structural issue. It’s important to catch and fix driveway cracks as early as you can to avoid a costly replacement job. 
To help you along the way, Jerry, the super app for home maintenance tips and affordable home insurance, has created this guide on how to fix driveway cracks. We’ll go through some repair processes, reasons your driveway may be cracking in the first place, and, of course, how your homeowners insurance fits into all of this.
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Repairing cosmetic cracks—a.k.a. crazing

Not all driveway cracks are the same! They can appear on your driveway’s surface in several ways. 
Some of the least malicious cracks are crazing, or narrow, hairline cracks that typically only affect the surface of your driveway material. Crazing happens when the driveway material dries too quickly, but it typically doesn’t mean that the whole structure is compromised—it just doesn’t look very nice. 
Crazing can be fixed with resurfacing products that act as thin-layer repair solutions. Resurfacers are designed to fill in cosmetic cracks and leave a smooth surface behind. 
While spreading a resurfacing product on your driveway is not over laborious or technical, it will need your focus to evenly cover the surface. It is probably easiest applied with a long-handled squeegee and your rapt attention to the specific instructions on whichever product you purchase. 

Repairing cracks less than ½-inch wide

If the cracks you spot in your driveway are wider and deeper than surface-level, a simple resurfacer solution may not help your situation much. 
Although cracks a bit more severe than crazing cracks don’t necessarily mean you’re facing serious structural damage, you’ll want to fill them properly and promptly to avoid seeing them grow. 

What you’ll need

To repair cracks that are less than half an inch wide, gather these materials:
  • Protective gear. Long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and safety eyewear are all important when working with driveway materials. 
  • Hammer or masonry chisel. You’ll use these to break up any pieces of driveway that are cracking off so you can have a clean fill area. 
  • Pressure washer. You want to clean your driveway and the crack so the filler product will better adhere to the surface. 
  • Shop vacuum. This will be useful in removing any remaining bits of debris or dirt from around and in the crack. 
  • Non-porous backer rod. Stick a backer rod into the crack before filling to form a sturdier surface and fill up some of the space so you don’t have to use as much filler. 
  • Crack filler specific to your driveway material. It is recommended that you use a flexible filler in a squeezable tube or tube designed for a caulk gun for easy application. Be sure to get the right filler material for concrete or asphalt. 
  • Putty knife or trowel. Use this to pack the filler in and smooth the surface over. 
After you round up all the necessary crack-filling materials, you can begin the process of fixing the driveway cracks. 

How to fill cracks less than ½-inch wide

Don your safety gear and head out to the problem area with your hammer or masonry chisel. Identify any areas that aren’t solidly a part of the larger structure and break them off to remove them. 
  • Thoroughly was your driveway and around the driveway crack(s) with the pressure washer to remove dirt and debris that will stop the filler from adhering to the existing material. 
  • After everything has been power washed, use the shop vacuum to such up any remaining debris inside and around the problem area and let the driveway surface dry completely
  • Once the driveway is totally dry, put the backer rod snuggly into place and follow the instructions on your chosen filler to fill in the gap in the crack. 
  • Use the trowel or putty knife to compact the filler down and scrape off any excess so you’re left with a smooth and level surface that matches the rest of your driveway. 
Curing and drying times vary between products and depend on the weather, but make sure you give the new product the proper drying time that is recommended on the product you used.
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Repairing cracks ½-inch wide or more

Sometimes you get unlucky and you’re dealing with pretty significant cracking. Trying to fix driveway cracks that are ½-inch wide or wider on your own can be tough, especially if you’ve never worked with your driveway material before. 
Cracks of this size can often mean deeper structural issues that could require a full replacement of the slab in which the crack appears.
For this kind of fix, you’ll have to bust up the old concrete or asphalt, level the underlying surface, construct forms, and mix and pour the new material. It may be a good idea to consult a professional before trying to fix driveway cracks that are half an inch wide or wider. 

How do driveway cracks occur? 

Seeing a crack in your driveway can be downright disheartening. Was it from something you did? Was it an accident? 
Sure, some instances are avoidable, but some happen outside of our control. Here are several reasons driveway cracks may occur: 
  • Repeated pressure from heavy loads like vehicles or trailers.
  • Tree roots or weeds spread and grow under the driveway surface. 
  • Water repeatedly fills small cracks and freezing, causing expansion. 
  • Stress from heavy objects falling on the surface. 
  • Surface material drying too quickly after being poured. 

Why is it important to fix driveway cracks?

As homeowners, you want your space—including your driveway—to be in the best shape it can be. Each part of your home contributes to your satisfaction or dissatisfaction in living there, and cracks in the driveway are not exactly morale boosters. 
Fixing driveway cracks will up the aesthetic value of your home, but it’s also important to your driveway’s structural integrity
Ignoring the cracks in your driveway rather than repairing them leaves them at risk of spreading and growing into much more substantial problems. What may have been a quick and relatively inexpensive fix could turn into a total driveway replacement. 

Does homeowners insurance cover driveway repairs?

When you notice some damage to your driveway, you may immediately start considering if your homeowners insurance will cover it. Since homeowners insurance covers both the structure of your home and the structures on your property, your driveway falls under that coverage umbrella. 
However, whether or not your policy will actually cover the cracks in your driveway depends on how they got there. If the damage was done from one of home insurance’s named perils, like a falling tree or lightning strike, it’s likely you’ll be covered. 
If cracks form in your driveway due to aging and natural wear and tear, it’s likely that damage won’t be covered since it will be seen as a preventable and foreseeable occurrence. 

How to find affordable homeowners insurance 

When disaster strikes and you’re left with any kind of significant damage to your home, you don’t want to have to rely on a shoddy homeowners insurance policy that doesn’t really do anything for you.  
To protect yourself from facing that reality, use Jerry to shop for your home insurance! Jerry is a super app and insurance expert designed to make shopping for home insurance as easy as possible. Download the app, answer a few questions, and Jerry will take care of the rest—finding you the perfect policy at the right price.
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If you’re dealing with driveway cracks that are less than ½-inch wide, grab a flexible filler agent that is compatible with your driveway’s surface and after ensuring your driveway and the crack(s) are cleaned and free of debris, follow the instructions on the filler you purchase to repair your driveway cracks. 
For cracks wider than ½-inch, you may need a professional’s help.

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