Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Driveways

One of the better things that I decided to spend time doing last night, rather then blogging was researching driveway repair.

Since we've moved into the house, there has been a gap between the driveway and the floor of the garage. I assume at one time the two met but over time the driveway has shrunk/slid down the hill enough to make a gap. Shortly after I moved in, my Dad and I repaired the gap by filling it with cold asphalt filler. That worked pretty good, especially when I had the driveway sealed the next summer and they covered the asphalt patch with some sort of rubberized crack filler.

Unfortunately the asphalt filler didn't really address an underlying problem, which was that the garage slab is apparently a little too short and so part of the driveway gap sits over foundation blocks. I tried to work around this by putting a 1x2 under the asphalt filler to provide some support.

That actually held up surprisingly well for the past few years. But on one part of the gap, the part over the foundation block was slightly wider then the 1x2 could cover. During the hot spell a few weeks ago a chunk of real driveway broke off and fell down into the foundation block leaving an ugly hole in our driveway.

What I've been researching is ways to fix this. At the most expensive end of the spectrum I could hire someone to come out, rip out the old driveway, fix the problem near the garage (somehow), and put in an entirely new driveway. Slightly less expensive (probably) would be to have just a concrete apron put in.

I have a feeling those are both pretty spendy options, and so I've been considering trying to fix it myself. The current front-runner in theories (suggested by friends at work) is that I would buy some no-mix concrete and use that to fill in some or all of the foundation blocks under the worst sections of the gap. Once that hardened I would put down some sand and/or class 5 gravel over the concrete and then use the asphalt filler to fill in the hole in the driveway and the gap between the driveway and the house again. Then I would have someone seal it (that is my addition, to get more of that rubberized crack filler over everything).

It seems like this would probably fix the problem, if I can get a reasonable amount of concrete to form up and provide support for the new patch. A slightly easier variation would be to fill the foundation with sand, but I am worried that might eventually 'hourglass' away on me if I wasn't really careful to ensure I had filled all the way to the bottom of the blocks. On the other hand, I obviously don't need a whole lot of support to keep the gap filled as a 1x2 has held up just fine.

I'll probably call around and get some estimates for a complete driveway replacement just to validate how much that would be (especially since there are some other parts of the driveway that have settled over time so would be 'fixed' at the same time). Our driveway isn't very long (perhaps 350 sq feet), so it is possible that a new driveway wouldn't too outrageous.

But then again, asphalt pretty much follows the price of oil, so I won't be holding my breath.

1 comment:

Stephen Chang from NJ said...

You are very kind to share your experience. Thank you very much from a not-handy man.