First Impressions – Your Driveway

July 2016

The driveway to your condo building can tell much about your building, its management and the quality of its reserve fund.

Is your driveway in need of repair? Does it have uneven spots or holes that need to be filled? Does water accumulate in areas after a rainfall? These are indications that your driveway is in need of repair. They can also be indicators of further damage below in an underground garage.

A parking lot or building entrance is the first impression to a visitor. When the area looks bad, this impression can carry over to the remainder of the building.

A poorly maintained driveway can be an indicator that unnecessary and costly repairs to driveways and parking lots are pending.

Paved surfaces require regular maintenance and repair. Regular maintenance and repairs can save on costly rebuilding of this infrastructure.

Your driveway is constructed using one of three materials.

Asphalt, common for roadways, is made up of sand, rocks and petroleum. It is flexible and takes six to twelve months to fully harden. During this time the surface may become soft on warm days. Asphalt can become an urban heat island where the temperature may be 15 to 25 degrees hotter than surrounding areas. Turning a steering wheel when a vehicle is not in motion may leave an imprint. Asphalt wears down faster in cold temperature, rain, snow or heat. Dripping oil may damage its surface. To better protect asphalt, a sealcoat is generally applied every few years.

Concrete is made of crushed stone, sand and cement. It is a more solid surface that is costlier than asphalt. Concrete is more flexible and can better accommodate the weight of vehicles without cracking. It has a life span of 20 years or longer. Concrete is susceptible to water infiltration and damage. Small cracks should be repaired to avoid having them become a major repair. When damage is found, early repair is recommended to prevent further damage and more costly repair.

Brick is a popular material for driveways and walkways because of its curb appeal – it looks good. While more fragile than concrete, it holds up well with regular use over an extended period of time.