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Old 03-10-2014, 04:57 PM   #1
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


Hi -

A bit about me: I'm a general handyman and I have some reasonable concrete experience. I'm also quick on the uptake with learning background information to make jobs successful.

The customer I'm considering doing the job for wants his driveway both repaired and also widened. But let's start with the repair issue:

The driveway is about 33 feet long. There are several fairly large cracks. Also spots where the slab seems to have sunken a bit - not too terrible, maybe an inch or two off what it was. Water pooling up there, mud, etc.

I'm wondering - is is possible to simply go over the old concrete - say use patch or even epoxy or some such to repair, smooth the cracks, then go over all that with filler concrete?

Or would one concrete mixture over the whole thing be recommended? For instance patching over the whole thing - using sakrete patch or whatever?

Is raising the concrete (possibly even with some of the polylevel pump-in stuff) absolutely necessary?

The next thing is that he wants the driveway expanded from 8 feet to 11 feet along the whole length.

Do you think I should do the patch/leveling work as one separate job and then do the extension, or all at once? I'm favoring the former because it looks like a fairly large job to extend it.

I'm open to any and all comments and suggestions. We can talk more about the extension part as the thread continues.

Thanks a lot

Will

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Old 03-10-2014, 05:05 PM   #2
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


Ayuh,.... Honestly, yer plan won't work,...

A complete demo, 'n repour is the only way to get a satisfactory driveway,...
Or,...
A Dig-out, regrade, 'n Pave it with blacktop,...

Both well above a "Handyman" chore,...

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Old 03-10-2014, 05:07 PM   #3
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


Before undertaking a project like this, it is usually a good idea to determine why the driveway has settled and cracked. After all, you don't want to "fix" it only to have it crack again etc. Many problems with concrete are associated with improper preparation of the subgrade. Either incompetent soil was left in place, improper fill was placed, the fill was not properly compacted, or similar issues.

If your client does not want to spend the money to determine the cause of the problem, they certainly would not want to spend the money to fix the problem. In that case, patching would seem reasonable, and widening with minimal subgrade preparation might be OK. Just so long as you explain to the client in writing that the same issues they had with the old driveway are likely to recur with the new driveway. Patching or overlay does nothing to correct underlying problems with the subgrade.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:14 PM   #4
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


That's funny, that's almost exactly what a buddy of mine, also a civil engineer - he used to manage civic building projects said today when I asked him about it. Maybe that's the way a civil engineer thinks. At least he said the same thing about the substrate being the likely cause and that busting it out and doing it over is the way to go.

BTW - I was thinking $500 labor for just the patch, maybe $800 if I had to bust portions of it out and redo it, and $1200 - $1500 labor if I do the widening job (i.e. for all of it). I know you'll probably say there's no way to tell without looking at the job, but how do those numbers strike you as labor rates? Even just impressionistically...

Ballpark?

Way too cheap?

too expensive?

Just imagine a 33x 8 foot driveway, with 3 large cracks, a little sunken. Imagine fixing the cracks or redoing it, then imagine expanding it to 12 feet. How much would you charge for this work and these different options.

Even very vague ballpark figures that other people might use help me with pricing, which I often find kind of tricky.

One last thing - if I dig it up and find no substrate - then put some gravel or sand (which would you recommend?) - would I still want to put some substrate down? It seems this would mean that only part of the driveway would have substrate under it unless I do the whole driveway.

thanks a lot for the replies

Will
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:14 PM   #5
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


also - would I use rebar mesh in the partial driveway repair?
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:46 PM   #6
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


You should be honest with your customer and tell him you really don't know what you are doing, but are willing to work cheap while you learn. He deserves to know.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:26 PM   #7
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


The prices you quoted are extremely cheap for someone who knows what they're doing, very expensive for someone like you is going to do a trial and error! I personally don't think you should be taking this project at all and don't think that there's any method of repair that will stand the test of time. As mentioned by another poster earlier the correct and best repair would be to tear out the existing driveway and pour the widened driveway all new.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:38 PM   #8
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


Will: What do you value your time at per hour?

Figure at least 10 hours, just for the basics, then double it, because " What ever can go wrong will".

You really need to solve the riddle as to why it cracked and sunk. And repair it correctly.

I would advise them to call a real driveway team, get it done right.

There is no shame in saying that I cannot do this right, but here is someone who can.

ED
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:02 AM   #9
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


I will be more blunt. IF your customer would not be so cheap and find the money to do this correctly he would not have to do anything to the driveway but wash it and seal it every few years for the next couple of decades

If he lets you have at it he will pay your price and he will pay the real money to get it done correctly later when that fails, which means trying to be cheap with something that is expensive to do correctly will cost him more money in the long run, which is how it typically works.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:16 AM   #10
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


some harsh posts, huh ? we often advise h/o's & diy'ers who are doing their own work on the cheap but usually they're got 0 experience,,, from reading some of their posts, not a clue about what to do either

so - if you're willing to learn AND ' have some reasonable concrete experience ' why not do it ?

the crks MAY have formed because the joints were installed incorrectly, the base was not compacted properly, excessive loads above design strength, yada, yada, yada

the mud is from what's called 'pumping' & is largely from not properly sealing cracks when they occur,,, wtr leaks down thru 'em & soaks the base mtl,,, then loads press down on the conc forcing it down into the soft base

ixnay on patch or epoxy - same w/an overlay,,, could use some bagg'd conc mix from the apron/vest stores to replace sections,,, however the best conc repr won't last UNLESS you remove the soft base you'll need to fill w/well-compacted base material then place the new conc,,, when mixing the conc, too much wtr's not a good thing

mudjacking ( raising sunken conc ) can be done w/cementitious grout or polyurethane foam - probably not the best solution but only opinion 'cause no pics

adding on a 3' piece isn't difficult - you probably know what you're doing there - excavate soil to proper depth ( 4" compacted base + 4" ov conc ),,, mix, place, & finish,,, a keyword on this item is proper jointing,,, conc likes to be square,,, IF it were our job, we'd groove in a contraction jnt every 4' - that won't match the existing d/w pattern but its better than having your customer complain about cracks

so - take your time - think the job thru - don't take shortcuts IF you think of them

all the prev posts make some good points but its only rocket science when you're building rockets - lastly, good luck !
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:37 AM   #11
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


Quote:
Originally Posted by itsreallyconc View Post
why not do it ?
Read the original post again. He is not a DIYer, he would be doing this on a paying customer's driveway.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:46 AM   #12
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


read it the 1st time - understand what you're saying, too,,, if he wants to go to school, its all on him

we daily advise diy'ers on projects who we know are in above their heads - ability, intelligence, & common sense - eg, look how many think apron/vest stores are the source of the right stuff ?
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:08 AM   #13
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


The driveway at the home we bought just last year was patched in various spots, leveled, and also had 2 successive layers of asphalt over the one. It is really one of the few places where they decided to go cheap. All defects are telegraphing right through to the top layer. When we get the funds together in a couple years we plan to rip it up and do it right so we don't have to think about it again for a long time.

An important point is to establish what type of understanding there will be between the original poster and his customer. It is all about expectations. I will temper my prior argument with the condition that if the home owner understands that this is a learning experience for you, he only neeeds things to look good and hold up for a few years, and he accepts that periodically re-doing parts of this patch will become part of the normal routine, I guess you might as well have at it and see how it turns out. But if the property owner is looking for the longevity and aesthetics of a professional repaving job at handyman prices, I hope the poster is ready to give back any profit he will make on this job by devoting more time to repairing sections of it again down the line at no extra charge.

Last edited by eharri3; 03-11-2014 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


1 of the items that's important when overlay w/either blacktop OR conc is referencing the existing crks - this includes res driveways & interstates,,, IF work's done cheaply, final cost's likely much more

having specialized in repairing other contractor's f/u's for yrs, we were always thankful for those guys
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:24 PM   #15
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Repairing a cracked and slightly sunken driveway


IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO IT, DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

Apologies for the yell, but do you understand that this is not really a D I Y job.

ED

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