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Concrete driveway

I had a new concrete driveway poured about 4 years ago with city permit and inspection built to code. The driveway has literally started to disintegrate before my eyes. Is there anything I can do to stop this process, or do I have to replace. I believe the concrete or base is at fault but am not really sure. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have contacted the concrete company who poured it and they have admitted no fault on their part.

Re: Concrete driveway

What is your locale and at what time of year did you pour this drive?

Any chance of a pic or two?

Re: Concrete driveway

The driveway was poured in November. A powder chemical was added to the concrete mix by the contractor, not the concrete company.
I did have a hot spot in a different section of the driveway which I filled with hydraulic cement patch which seems to be working.
I live in the Chicago Illinois area.
No pictures of the crumbling cement are available at present but can take and e-mail to you if needed.

Re: Concrete driveway

It's impossible to say exactly why your driveway is spalling. It might be because the concrete was not air-entrained as it should have been. It might be because of the admixture that was used; too much or too little. Or it might be because the contractor troweled the surface while there was still too much bleed water sitting there. It might be because the concrete was allowed to freeze too soon.

If I were to take a SWAG at the cause(s), it would be ......

The weather was chilly and so the contractor added either a setting-accelerator with the intention of expediting the job...and in hopes of not having to cover the concrete too prevent freezing....or he added some calcium chloride to prevent the concrete from freezing. In either event, I suspect he ended up troweling the surface too soon (too much water present) which substantially weakens the end result. And the concrete may have also froze before curing. If the concrete was not air-entrained, the resulting damage would be worse that if it had been.

Also....if you are using de-icing salts on this driveway, that would only contribute to an exisitng problem or create/encourage spalling in and of itself...as these materials increase the number of freeze-thaw cycles. They can also cause corrosion of any contained re-rod and the expansion of the created rust would create internal pressures leading to/increasing the odds of... surface spalling.

Concrete is a fairly persnickety material to work with and certain guidelines/rules must be followed or things can go south in a hurry. Frequently, problems with resulting durability don't show up for six months or more. By this time, the contractor's time-frame of proveable responsibility is usually long past. This is why it is very important to find and use a reputable concrete contractor. Preferably one who has been in the biz for many years and has an outstanding reputation for high quality work.

Your driveway *might* be a good candidate for an overlay job, particularly so if it's just the surface that's having problems. Can't tell that from here, but a reputable concrete contractor in your area should be able to give you an answer you can rely on.

Re: Concrete driveway

Around here, (Pacific NW) most new home contractors have a clause in the contract that says something to the effect of concrete WILL crack, and that they will only warranty concreted if there's cracking or shifting in excess of a certain amount.

It sound like here there was some problem with the composition or placement of the concrete, though placing concrete in cold weather isn't uncommon. I would tend to place blame on the contractor rather than the supplier. The suppliers understand and tightly control the manufacture of their product; they cannot control how the contractor places it. Especially since the contractor modified the recipe, I would suggest any fault lies with him.

Re: Concrete driveway

Pics would help.

Have you considered sealing the concrete? I'd suggest a penetrating sealer to protect and preserve, if possible. We use SealRx (www.sealrx.com), but there's nobody in the Chicago area installing it at this time.

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