Home Inspection Question: Does my Driveway need repair?

Today we’re going to talk a bit of driveways!

Your driveway might seem pretty straightforward but it’s essential to understand the materials and potential problems associated with it when asking yourself, “Does my driveway need repair?”. Whether you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, each material has its own set of strengths and vulnerabilities. Asphalt driveways are known for their affordability and flexibility, but they can be susceptible to cracks, potholes, and a condition known as “alligatoring,” where the surface resembles the skin of an alligator. On the other hand, concrete driveways are durable and long-lasting, but they can develop cracks, spalling, and discoloration over time. Both types of driveways are susceptible to damage if the underlying soil moves. Often times, cracks in your driveway will form in common freeze/thaw cycles where melt water works its way into the asphalt or concrete and then expands as temperatures freeze at night. If left un-repaired over time, more and more water will work into the cracks and, those cracks will continue to expand even larger. These larger cracks in your driveway surface will allow a substantial amount of water to penetrate to the soil supporting the driveway and that’s where problems can really start accelerating! A common theme that you will see when it comes to many types of home damage is that water likely caused it in one way or another and, your driveway isn’t immune to its path of destruction.

Example Case: Asphalt Driveway With Alligatoring.

In the image below you can see where the surface of a driveway has evidence of an alligator skin like cracking texture. The side of the driveway has a railroad tie retaining wall to hold the driveway foundation soil in place but as you can see, the wall is bowing outward likely due to hydrostatic pressure from water saturated soil underneath the asphalt.

Does My Driveway need repair?

You can also see farther evidence of this of settling on the right side of the driveway where the asphalt is sinking down due to the added space created from the retaining wall movement. Had the driveway been maintained properly over the years, sealing and patching of the asphalt could have prevented water intrusion into the soil underneath and the resulting additional damage that will have to now be fixed, at a likely substantial cost.


When it comes to driveway repairs, costs can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the material used. For asphalt driveways, minor repairs like patching cracks and filling potholes typically range from $1 to $3 per square foot. However, if your driveway needs resurfacing or complete replacement, costs can be more in the range of $2 to $6 per square foot. Concrete driveways tend to be more expensive to repair, with patching and resurfacing averaging between $3 to $10 per square foot. For more extensive repairs like slab replacement, costs can exceed $10 per square foot.

Final Thoughts:

So is investing in driveway repairs worth it? Yes it is. A well-maintained driveway not only helps to prevent more extensive damage from happening, it also adds value to your property. Studies have shown that investing in driveway repairs can yield a return on investment of up to 75-100% at the time of sale. Neglecting repairs now could lead to more significant issues down the road, potentially costing you more in the long run.

In the grand scheme of homeownership, your driveway might seem like a small detail, but it plays a significant role in shaping the overall aesthetic and value of your home. By staying proactive with maintenance and investing in repairs when needed, you’re not only preserving the integrity of your driveway but also enhancing the appeal and value of your property. So, don’t overlook this essential home feature, give your driveway the attention it deserves and start each day on the right tire!