Posted on: 24 March 2021
That new concrete driveway you got should last years, but it's already starting to show areas that are pitted and rough. You need to find out what's causing that condition, also known as scaling because it's not normal and shouldn't be happening. The best option is to contact the company that installed the concrete and have them do a petrographic inspection. This is a microscopic inspection that can show why the concrete isn't holding its shape even though it's relatively new and should be very strong.
One issue could be that the concrete wasn't cured properly. When concrete is poured, it hardens and has to cure. Curing is not the same as drying; curing is a process that lets moisture and the concrete mix intermingle and form the strongest possible bond. Curing may take the form of spraying the concrete with water several times a day, or spraying it less but keeping it covered. If the concrete doesn't cure properly, which usually takes the form of not getting enough moisture so it dries out too early in the process, the top layer can chip off very easily because the concrete isn't at its maximum strength.
Freezing and Thawing, Especially When Already Damaged
A very common issue that driveway owners have to deal with is the freeze-thaw cycle. In winter, when temperatures fall below freezing, any water in the concrete, such as rain that seeped into small cracks, can turn to ice and expand, causing the concrete to weaken, if not actually crack. As a result of repeated freeze and thaw cycles, the concrete can start to scale, resulting in surface pitting. This is why you're supposed to seal concrete, too, so that moisture can't get into the concrete in the first place (this is after it's been cured, of course).
Sometimes the problem isn't concrete—and petrographic analysis will show that. Impact damage, for example, can leave pits even in strong, well-cured concrete. If your kids have been trying skateboard tricks in the driveway, for example, the impact of the board as they stumble off and send the board flying could leave little chips in the surface that can become more noticeable the more they hit the concrete. Add in the freeze-thaw cycle, and you have yourself some scaling, too.
Once the petrographic inspection is done, you'll know what you have to do. Sometimes the entire driveway will need to be redone, such as with improper curing, but you could luck out and just need patching, such as with impact damage. For more information, contact services like Keystone Geoscience.Share