In theory, a concrete driveway can withstand several decades of use before it needs to be replaced. However, in practice, there are a number of factors which can affect the length of its lifespan. Read on to find out more.
The quality of the base
The quality of the driveway's base can play a determining role in its longevity. A good base will provide support and drastically reduce the likelihood of the concrete developing cracks or other issues after it has been installed.
If the concrete contractors who installed you driveway were careful to ensure that the soil was evenly compacted before they began fitting slabs or pouring the concrete mixture, the chances of your driveway sinking into the ground, or sustaining structural cracks in the future will be far lower.
Conversely, if they failed to ensure that the soil was uniformly compacted, or if they did not take the composition of the soil into account and make the necessary adjustments (for example, if the soil is composed of clay and sand, the sand would need to be replaced with crushed rock, as this substance is far too soft to serve as a solid base), then the driveway will almost certainly be more prone to both minor hairline cracks and larger, more problematic structural damage. Unfortunately, in this type of situation, the only long-term solution is to have the driveway torn down and rebuilt.
The proximity of tree roots
The presence of a large tree near your driveway could have a significant impact on the driveway's lifespan. The roots of trees often extend far beyond their trunks. If these roots begin to grow into the soil underneath your driveway, they may cause the concrete to lift up and crack. In addition to having a negative impact on the appearance of the driveway, this can also affect the condition of the vehicles that are driven and parked over it. Cracks and bumps may cause your car tyres to wear out faster and may even damage the suspension.
As such, if you wish to extend the lifespan of your driveway and protect your car from damage, it's important to address root-related damage as soon as you notice it. There are several methods of resolving this issue. One of the most effective is to have your concrete contractors reinforce the driveway with rebar (a type of rod made from reinforced steel); this can prevent the tree roots from pushing the driveway upwards and developing mounds or cracks. Additionally, it may be necessary to cut down the tree that is causing the problem.