On this page:
- How Pros Estimate Costs
- Benefits of Driveway Repair
- Factors Affecting the Cost of Driveway Repair
- What’s Involved
- What to Do Before the Repairs Start
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
- Find a Pro
The driveway is one of the most visible parts of your home, and it’s the main thoroughfare for vehicles entering and leaving your property, so keeping it in good shape has aesthetic and practical benefits. When erosion or soil settling undermine the foundation, the driveway can crack or heave. Even if the foundation stays in good condition, a driveway can simply wear out. Parts of the surface can chip away, holes can develop, and the overall appearance can become tattered and old.
Costs for repairs depend on many factors, and chief among them is whether the repairs are cosmetic or structural. Sometimes the surface just needs to be resealed, and sometimes a whole section must be dug up and replaced. If deterioration is extensive because of age, complete replacement may be required.
How Pros Estimate Costs
Patching and Sealcoating
Whether your driveway needs patching, a seal coat or extensive repairs, size matters. The typical charge for sealing cracks and patching is between $3 to $5 per square foot. The cost for seal coating is around $150 per 1,000 square feet of driveway. Pros estimate small repairs on a time-and-materials basis. A typical hourly wage is between $35 and $60 per hour.
When it comes to repairing concrete or asphalt driveways, pros can use standard materials, such as driveway filler and blacktop crack filler. Driveways made of pavers and other components may require specialty materials and techniques that can drive up the cost of the repair.
A driveway that is buckling or is no longer level requires more effort to repair than one that has only cracks and other cosmetic problems. The techniques used by the contractor can also affect price. For example, one contractor may fix a sagging section of driveway by removing and replacing it while another may use the less expensive method of slab jacking, which involves pumping fill material under the existing slab.
Driveway repair sometimes involves modifications to drainage systems and other landscape features, and those add to the cost of the project. The existence of heating pipes in a driveway also complicate repair; the pipes in a sagging slab may have broken and need to be replaced.
Benefits of Driveway Repair
Update the Landscape
The driveway is an important -- and perhaps the most visible -- part of your yard. If it’s in top shape, with a fresh coat of asphalt or newly finished concrete, it highlights your lawn, gardens and walkways.
Not only does a crumbling and dilapidated driveway detract from your yard, it may divert water into pools that can kill your grass and erode your garden. Cracks in the surface can also hasten erosion of the soil under the driveway itself and make a bad situation worse.
Large holes in the driveway and humps created by heaving can make it difficult, if not impossible, to drive on all or part of it. Repairing these problems, as well as extensive cracking, ensures you won’t get stuck or lose control in wet and icy conditions.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Driveway Repair
Scope of the Repair
Spot patching and crack filling are at the bottom of the expense scale for driveway repair, while slab replacement and substructure repair are near the top. Drainage repairs, sealcoating and leveling occupy the middle ranges. Repairs that involve a combination of slab replacement, substructure rehabilitation, drainage modification and surface coating are the most expensive.
DIY vs. Professional Repair
It’s possible for homeowners to accomplish a variety of minor repairs themselves -- such as patching and sealcoating -- thus saving the expense of a professional contractor. It’s difficult to avoid calling a pro, however, if a major repair requires the use of heavy machinery and large quantities of materials.
Techniques and Materials
Slabjacking and slab replacement are two examples of techniques with significantly different price tags that accomplish the same goal. It pays to discuss options with a contractor when contemplating a major driveway repair, because much depends on soil, drainage and other factors. There is often more than one way to do it, and many contractors know tricks that can save money while producing great results.
Filling Holes and Cracks
When your concrete or asphalt driveway is marred by a few cracks of holes, they can usually be repaired with mortar, concrete patch, or crack repair, which comes in a caulking tube. Before applying the material, the defect has to be meticulously cleaned to ensure the patching material will stick.
Sealcoating and Overlaying
Driveways with multiple patches usually benefit from an application of blacktop; a pro or ambitious homeowner spreads it with a large brush resembling a push broom. The driveway must be clean before the seal coat goes on, and power washing is usually the most effective cleaning method. It’s possible to overlay a thin layer of new concrete on concrete driveways, and the overlay can then be stamped or colorized. This process is a bit more complicated than sealcoating and should be done by a pro.
Leveling Sunken Slabs
When a driveway is has a major depression or gulley, it’s usually because the soil underneath has compacted or washed away, and new material must be added. One way to do it is to break up the part of the driveway that’s sinking, repack the soil and replace the slab. Another is to inject support material through holes in the sunken concrete. The latter option may be preferable if the surface of the driveway is still in good condition.
What to Do Before the Repairs Start
Whether you’re planning to repair your driveway yourself or you’re going to call a contractor, you can make the repair process smoother by sweeping off leaves, dirt, and debris and by power washing. If you’re planning to sealcoat, scrub out oil spots with detergent -- they can interfere with adhesion of the sealcoat.
Make a Plan
When you’re undertaking major repairs, you get the opportunity to make design and layout changes that are in harmony with the rest of your changing landscape. If you’re planning to extend or sharpen the borders or modify the surface color or pattern, draw out your plans to give the driveway repair pros a clear idea of how to proceed.
Research Materials and Techniques
Because there is usually more than one way to complete a repair, it may take a bit of research in your part to find the one that’s within your budget and best accomplishes your goals. Getting quotes from more than one contractor and looking up materials and how-tos online are two ways to do this.
|$7- $500||$150 - $6,000||$100 - $10,000|
The cost estimates here are for a driveway with an area of 1,000 square feet.
Crack Repair and Sealcoating: $7 - $500
- • Basic DIY: Patching material costs start around $7. You can do simple repairs yourself and save labor charges.
- • Enhanced DIY: Sealcoating material costs about $100 for a thousand-square-foot driveway. In addition, you’ll need to spend about $50 on application tools.
- • Basic Pro: Cracks have developed in one or more area. The cracks can be filled with caulk or patching compound and the paint touched up.
- • The Works: It takes about 8 hours to patch, wash and sealcoat a 1,000-square-foot driveway. In addition to materials, you’ll have to budget from $200 to $400 for labor.
Resurfacing: $150 - $6,000
- • Basic DIY: Patch and sealcoat materials cost about $150. Labor is free.
- • Enhanced DIY: Materials for resurfacing a concrete driveway, including concrete,forming materials and tools, may cost $200 or $300. Stamps, stains and other decorative options are extra.
- • Basic Pro: The national average cost for professional sealcoating is around $385.
- • The Works: It can cost up to $3,000 to have your driveway professionally repaved with asphalt or macadam. You may have to double this amount to repave a concrete or cobblestone driveway.
Slabjacking and Slab Replacement: $100 - $10,000
- • Basic DIY: Breaking up a section of your driveway that has sunk, adding fill and replacing the slab can be time-consuming and difficult, but the materials are relatively inexpensive and may cost no more than $100 of $200.
- • Enhanced DIY: Larger slabjacking and slab replacement procedures are generally not DIY jobs.
- • Basic Pro: Professionals estimate slabjacking by the square foot. Typical quotes are between $5 and $11 per square foot. The highest rate generally applies only to smaller projects.
- • The Works: When a large section of your driveway needs to be removed, the soil filled and compacted and the entire driveway repaved, costs can run in the neighborhood of $8,000 to $10,000.
Level of Difficulty
Patching products for repairing cracks and small holes -- as well as sealcoating materials -- are available at home centers and are generally easy for homeowners to apply themselves. Large-scale projects, such as slab replacement, are best left to pros with the equipment and manpower to handle them.
Driveway Repair Services
If you’re looking for a pro to get your driveway repair started, connect with qualified local driveway repair contractors to request estimates. Get the ball rolling before your small driveway problems turn into big ones.