When to Hold Them and When to Fold Them With Driveway Repairs and Replacements

Asphalt driveway

Even though the driveway is basically a large lump of concrete, asphalt, pavers, or rocks, it can be really expensive to install. Often times, you have to tear out the existing driveway and lay a foundation before putting the new driveway down. Replacing your driveway can cost a few hundred dollars for a simple gravel driveway, and run up to $3000-$4000 for a nice quality brick or concrete driveways.

To save money, many homeowners try to patch or ignore their cracking, crumbling, or sunken driveways instead of replacing it altogether. Sometimes this can be a real money saver, if done right.

When You Can Get Away With Making Repairs:

Driveways handle thousands of pounds of weight from moving vehicles all day every day, often in extreme temperatures. Even a well-built driveway is prone to incur some damage from time to time.

If you have a basic gravel driveway and Don’t intend to upgrade it, you can usually fix any damage by filling in the holes that cause sunken driveways, and resurfacing it with a truck full of new gravel. If you have concrete or asphalt driveways and incur a crack that is less than a quarter-inch wide you might be able to get away with filling it it rather than undergoing a total replacement.

Before using a liquid crack filler to repair the damage, do an inspection to make sure there is no damage to the foundation that will lead to further cracks or sunken driveways.. Keep in mind that a liquid crack filler is a temporary solution and as water gets into the repair, it will gradually need to be replaced again.

Cost of Patching and Repairing: Doing the repair yourself will cost about $3-5 per square foot of damage, hiring a contractor for driveway repairs will cost about $6-10 per square foot.

Other Considerations for Repairing Instead of Replacing:

Even if the damage to your current driveway looks repairable, sometimes it’s a better investment to do a complete redo:

  • If your driveway is 20 to 25 years old, you’ll probably constantly have to make repairs, until it would have been cheaper to do the replacement.
  • If you were doing repairs so that you can sell a home, having patched over cracks on your driveway is sometimes a big turn off to potential buyers
  • If your current driveway is unattractive or poorly installed and takes away from the curb appeal of your home, the face-lift of a new driveway may significantly improve your curb appeal.

The Compromise Between Repairing and Replacing

Before tearing out your driveway and laying a foundation for a new one, you might get away with the less expensive option of just resurfacing your current driveway. Basically, your contractor will strip the top layer of your driveway and lay a new one. The look of your resurfaced driveway will be practically brand-new, unless there are issues with the structure of your driveway. The resurfacing will hide cracks, holes, and pits for a while, however sunken driveways usually are not good candidates for resurfacing.

Cost of Resurfacing: The most basic resurfacing service usually cost about $2.25 per square foot. If you opt for stained concrete, or stamped impressions in your driveway, it can cost 2 to 3 times more.