Possible Reasons that Your Driveway Is Sinking

Written by Small Business Magazine on May 18, 2016. Posted in Asphalt driveway, Asphalt driveway mn, Concrete repair

Driveway repairs

Over time driveways tend to sink a little bit. Sunken driveways are perfectly normally although it can get to a point where it’s gone to far. This can happen whether you have concrete driveways or asphalt driveways. At some point, sunken driveways do need to be repaired. If the driveway has gone four or five inches below your garage door then it’s time to do something about it. If you don’t, when it rains the water will pool in the dip and end up seeping into the soil. The end result is a completely destroyed driveway. It’s smart to get the driveway seen to before that happens or you will be paying a lot more money than you would for a simple sinking driveway.

If you have an asphalt driveway then you are probably looking at around $1000 to get it dug out and repairs and a concrete driveway will cost a little more than that. If you are feeling brave, you can do it yourself but it is not recommended. The danger with that if you could start the job, screw it up, have the call the professionals anyway, and then pay even more for a ‘fix my DIY’ job instead of initial repair.

If you call someone who actually knows what they are doing when it comes to sunken driveways then the whole job won’t take much more than a day or even a few hours with the right equipment. The whole material will need to be lifted and removed with a pry bar. The contractor will then fill the area again and pack it down with either sand or whatever material they use to raise the foundation so that the final layer of concrete or asphalt will match the level of the garage. This is being done at an angle which makes it a little more difficult. The final step involves pouring the concrete or placing the asphalt over the sand. The entire time the sand must be kept level and the packed tightly in order to ensure the the driveway doesn’t start to sink again too soon.

There are several reasons why your driveway could be sinking.

  1. The most common reason is because of an unstable foundation to begin with. The sand or packing stone underneath should be at least two inches thick when properly packed. The better you pack, the less sinking happens but the truth is, driveways are heavy and once the concrete or asphalt is in place it will weight on the sand, it will do a better job of packing then hands or even machines can do which means the weight of the driveway will lower the foundation, making the driveway appear to be sinking.
  2. If you have gotten a crack in your driveway and have not had it repaired right away then water could get into the crack. It will seep into the sand or base beneath and cause it to become mud. This makes the foundation slide and shift and sometimes compact further making the driveway push it around and sink.

  3. If you have had a leak in your pipes underground this could also cause a sinkhole under your driveway. A water line break can go unnoticed for a long time and could be decaying the foundation beneath not only your driveway but your whole house.

  4. A common practice for builders used to be that when trees were dug up, they would use the stumps as filler for under driveways and pack the stone or sand around it. The problem with this is within a few years, the stumps begin to decay and cause sunken driveways.

There are plenty of do it yourself methods and easy, quick fixes on the Internet for homeowners to try but the truth is, you will end up having to do something about it sooner than later if you go for one of these techniques. The best thing to do is just call a professional and let them get the job done correctly and then you won’t have to worry about it for awhile. Temporary fixes will cost you more money in the long run even if it seems cheaper initially. Plus, a contractor may guarantee their work or put a warranty on it.

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