What Causes Driveway Cracks?

Cracks in a driveway are an inevitable part of being a homeowner. They typically begin to crack when the material breaks down and separates. Finding cracks in a newer driveway can be infuriating, but understanding why they occur can help you to prevent and correct them.

Asphalt vs. Concrete Driveways

Asphalt and concrete are the most popular types of materials used for driveways in the United States and both can crack for the same reasons. Because driveways made from asphalt are usually set up as a long surface, they can crack more easily. Concrete driveways won’t crack as easily because they have controlled joints spread throughout. Regardless of the material you use for your driveway, large cracks should not occur for several years.

Poorly Installed Driveway Base

One of the most common reasons for cracks in your driveway is poor installation. This is usually from an incorrect construction of the base or subbase. Because of this, it’s important to find a highly ranked paving company. Good paving contractors will construct a driveway subbase from crush stone, ensure it’s packed tight, install an aggregate base then pour concrete or asphalt over it.

Lose the Salt When Melting Ice

For some surfaces, salt is great for increasing traction, but it can do some serious damage on asphalt and concrete. When you spread salt on your driveway, it is speeding up the process of thawing, causing water to make its way into the surface. Here, it will refreeze, put pressure on the driveway and cause it to crack. To prevent cracks in the winter, try spreading sand. Sand will give your vehicle the traction it needs, but won’t cause the snow to melt and result in a crack.

Control Tree Roots

Much like melting snow, growing tree roots can create pressure on your driveway. As roots of trees grown, irregular amounts of pressure are put on the driveway and foundation, causing it to crack. When installing a new driveway, take into consideration the placement of your trees.

The best way to prevent driveway cracks is by hiring the right paving company for a residential installation. For more information or to request a quote, contact Driveway Specialists today! We can be reached by filling out our online contact form or by calling (844) 244-4249

Should I Use Hardscaping Services for My Yard?

The difference between a beautiful and an eyesore of a yard can really set you apart in your neighborhood. A beautiful yard can improve your home’s curb value and provide a space that can be enjoyed by family and friends. Some yards can be more challenging to maintain than others and thinking of an attractive solution can be a challenge. For homeowners with difficult yards, Driveway Specialists recommends hardscaping services.

What Is Hardscaping?

A hardscape is any type of inanimate object that can found and incorporated into a yard. These objects can be anything from bricks to wood and can be used for walkways, retaining walls and driveways.

When Can I Use Hardscaping?

  1. If there is a spot in your yard that sees a lot of foot traffic, you should consider a walkway for people to get from a to b. If you’re a big fan of backyard gatherings, a patio would be great for you!
  2. If your home has a drainage issue and there is some flooding after rain or melting snow, hardscaping is for you. In ground pipes covered by stones are a great fix for flooding while still looking nice.
  3. If you find that your home is a bit too close to your neighbor’s, a privacy wall is a great way to get back from of that privacy. Typically, privacy walls are made from wood or brick.
  4. For yards damaged from soil erosion, a retaining wall will help to prevent runoff. These cement, brick or stone walls help to keep soil from leaving your yard.

For homeowners that are interested in learning more about our hardscaping services, contact Driveway Specialists today! To request a quote, fill out our online contact form or reach us at the following number (844) 244-4249

The Most Important Reason to Pave with Asphalt in Massachusetts

Asphalt is the most common material for driveways and parking lots in Massachusetts, and the entire northeast. You may wonder why that is, and the answer is pretty simple, but also pretty interesting. Simply put, asphalt is better suited to the freeze and thaw cycles in the northeast than other materials such as concrete.

The reason asphalt is a better option is because it has space to expand and contract with the temperature. Asphalt is made of stone aggregate held together with a refined petroleum binder (which is actually called ‘asphalt’– the end product is properly called ‘asphalt concrete’). The space between the aggregate is filled with the sticky binder, which can expand and contract without cracking the entire parking lot.

Concrete, on the other hand, is less pliable. While it is also made up of stone aggregate, the whole product is bound together by a cement, which hardens as it cures. This cement is great for certain applications where structural strength is of utmost importance. But it is less than optimal where temperature fluctuations cause the block to expand and contract, since the cement turns into a solid with zero ‘give’ in it.

Concrete lots are more common in the southern United States, where it stays warmer most of the year. Massachusetts does not, as we all know. With summer temperatures sometimes breaking the 100 degree mark, and winter temperatures falling well below zero in some areas, every piece of pavement in the state experiences significant expansion and contraction on a yearly routine.

There is one smaller advantage to asphalt pavement for your parking lot: since asphalt is black, it absorbs heat from sunlight, and emanates it slowly. This aids, a little bit, in snow melt, which keeps your lot usable more often that it would otherwise be.
Driveway Specialists is a third generation asphalt paving company, specializing in asphalt driveways and parking lots. We have a longstanding commitment to excellent work and friendliness, and use only the best equipment in all of our projects. If you’re considering installing, repaving, resurfacing, or replacing an asphalt driveway or parking lot, consult us first for an experienced evaluation of the demands of your project. If you’re in Boston or Norfolk County, or Middlesex County, call (844) 244-4249. We can also be reached via email at drivewayspecalistsinc@gmail.com, or via the contact form in the sidebar.

How to Decide Between Sealcoating & Resurfacing Your Driveway

Asphalt driveways are just like anything else: they require some level of care, maintenance, repair, and eventual replacement. Our care & maintenance tips are a great place to start if you want to extend the life of your driveway and get maximum value for your investment. Even with proper care, asphalt will develop cracks that require you to answer a question: can these be repaired with sealcoating, or do these cracks require a full resurfacing of the driveway?

Sealcoat comes in three general types: coal-tar, asphalt emulsions, and acrylics. Sealcoat acts as a protective layer over the entire area of the asphalt, sitting between the asphalt and the elements, as well as the physical wear and tear of vehicle tires. Combined with a crack filling material, sealcoating can repair isolated cracks in an asphalt driveway, and extend its overall life.

Some cracking is not confined to the surface alone, and calls for the resurfacing of the entire driveway with fresh asphalt. Such cracking comes in a pattern that resembles alligator hide– looking a lot like thick scales. This type of cracking permeates the asphalt, significantly weakening it.

It might be tempting to fix this with crack-filling rubber, but this is just asking for more trouble in the warmer months. As the rubber heats up, it becomes adhesive, sticking to anything that passes on top of it. Or rolls over it, in the case of vehicle tires that are hot from being on the road. The rubber sticks to the tires, and when the vehicle next moves, the rubber goes with– along with chunks of the driveway.

Whether your driveway needs sealcoating or entirely new asphalt, Driveway Specialists can inspect and recommend the right service. Asphalt is our game, and we are very good at it. Call us today at  (844) 244-4249.

Driveway Specialists. It’s all in the name.