A paver driveway can be an attractive alternative to concrete, but you may be concerned about cracks. The following guide can help you understand the main causes of cracking as well as providing you with tactics to prevent the problem.
Common causes of cracking
Cracked pavers generally occur because of one of the three following reasons:
A bad base. When a paver driveway is installed, the base is the key aspect that will allow the pavers to take stress without developing cracks. A sturdy base begins with the removal of several inches of soil. This is then tamped down to prevent it from settling further. Then, a gravel base is added. The purpose of this is to allow water to drain away without compromising the integrity of the drive. Finally, more sand is added and tamped down to prevent settling. This is all topped with the pavers. If any part of the base isn't installed properly, settling and cracks occur.
Poor drainage. Drainage can compromise an otherwise good base. Many people opt to use sand joints between pavers, as this allows moisture from rain to drain instead of sitting on the drive. This isn't a problem unless you have a low spot where excess moisture may collect and weaken the pavers. To solve this, a drainpipe should be installed within the base materials to help route extra moisture away from the pavers.
Too much weight. When choosing pavers for a driveway, look for reinforced varieties. These have a metal mesh netting inside that allows them to handle the extra weight of cars. Using patio pavers means they are more likely to crack beneath the weight of a vehicle.
How to handle cracks
Fortunately, cracks in pavers are much easier to repair than cracks in concrete. Most repairs begin with removing the damaged pavers and then assessing the cause. Removal is simple since the sand joints can be scraped out and reapplied at will. Installing a drainage pipe or shoring up the base is usually what is required to prevent future breakage. Then, new pavers are installed and the driveway is as good as new.
Sometimes the damage is only on the surface of a paver. In this instance, you can lift the paver and flip it over to the unblemished side. You may want to move it to the edge of the driveway where it is less likely to suffer further damage, since it is already weakened.
For more help, talk to a paver contractor in your area.