Go back
Home Logic Article

Why Is My Driveway Sinking? The Definitive Answer

why-is-my-driveway-sinking

You probably worked very hard to have your new driveway laid and paid a substantial sum for it. Not only did it look fantastic once it was finished, but it was practical and useful too.

So, imagine your disappointment if a few weeks later you notice that your pristine driveway has begun to sink, develop dips, and moves away from its original position. You would want to know why this is happening, and also how you can fix it. Here’s a few top tips and tricks to get you started…

Sunken Driveways: The Great Debate

Most of all, you would want to know what type of driveway to choose to prevent this happening the next time. We are able to tell you all of this and more.

It is possible to add around 20% to the value of your home by simply improving the outside space. A new driveway is a great way to achieve this. However, if your driveway starts to sink over time, it will begin to crack and look unsightly, thus reducing the value of your home.

New buyers will always think about what they will need to do to improve their purchase, and a new driveway can be an expensive, additional cost. To invest, you need to know that your driveway has been built of firm foundations, with a strong sub-base to support the surface.

Overall, block paving tends to suffer the most from sinking; in the majority of cases, this is due to inadequate ground preparation, with not enough of the base dug out before the drive was resurfaced.

To rectify this issue, there are 3 main plans of attack:

Plan Of Attack No.1: Relay Your Paving Area:

Far from an easy option, relaying your paving area requires a lengthy process consisting of marking the area, before removing the jointing sand between blocks.

As a result, the sunken blocks become loose, with the rest of the blocks following suit, enabling you to tackle the task at hand.

Plan Of Attack No.2: Level Up The Uneven Area With Grit Sand:

Another option on offer is to level up the uneven area with grit sand. Again, this isn't quite as plain sailing a process as you might initially imagine.

Over time, the grit sand can easily become displaced-with the same problem needing addressing again and again.

Plan Of Attack No.3: Call The Company That Did Your Block Paving:

If all else fails, it's definitely worth getting on the blower and giving the company in question a call.

The majority of tradesmen take pride in delivering first-rate standards of service to their customers. Unfortunately, from time to time, you get one or two rogues out to make a fast buck, who cut corners to cut costs-putting your paving in jeopardy in the process.

If they've got a conscience, then they'll admit their mistakes, and do all they can to put them right, by repaving the sunken areas at no extra expense to yourself.

If they continue to let the phone ring off the hook, then it's worth making their dire standards of service public, by leaving reviews on sites such as Trustpilot, as well as on their social media pages. Hopefully they will see the error of their ways-and do all they can to make it up to you to give you the top-quality driveway you deserve.

why-is-my-driveway-sinking

Driveways sink for a variety of reasons, but with adequate edging in place, this problem is quickly prevented-with refreshingly minimal effort

Driveway Experiencing A Distinct ‘Sinking’ Feeling? Here’s 5 Main Reasons Why

Driveway sinking is one of the main risks that any homeowner takes when they decide to install a new driveway; and it happens much more often than it should.

It can lead to water pooling on parts of the driveway which, in turn, can lead to frozen and icy patches, algae growth, and hairline cracks expressed in the surface. There are many reasons why it might happen. Here’s the 5 key culprits that cause it….

Key Culprit No.1: Poor Foundations

Most driveways will have heavy vehicles driving over them several times a day. This means that it is extremely important that the driveway surface you can see rests on firm foundations.

This foundation should include good drainage, and be covered by a concrete or tarmac base. These surfaces are solid enough to take the top surface of your choice.

Key Culprit No.2: A Lack of Edging

The edges of your driveway should always be marked out with some kind of edging strip, such as bricks or a small wall.

This is designed to keep the driveway surface in one place, and prevent it from moving around or shifting.

why-is-my-driveway-sinking10.jpg

Water seepage doesn't just cause puddles to develop on the surface-it can also interfere with the foundations below as well

Key Culprit No.3: Water Seepage

If you driveway has developed cracks, water can seep into the surface, and cause puddles under the foundations. This can cause the driveway to begin to move.

This differs from a porous or permeable surface, where the water is designed to sink into the driveway, in a uniform way across the entire surface.

Key Culprit No.4: Water Leaks

If a pipe under the driveway has begun to leak, over time, it may affect the soil beneath your driveway, causing it to dip and sink where the ground has become saturated.

This can happen over a long period of time, which means the implications often go unnoticed until they cause critical concerns with the sub-base.

Key Culprit No.5: New Properties

Driveway sinkage often occurs on new homes or where a driveway has been laid for the first time. This is because the land that the driveway has been built on has not been given enough time to settle before building took place.

In many cases, new developments will use poor quality soil, or will leave bricks, stones and even tree stumps in the ground; these can all cause a type of subsidence as they decay and settle.

why-is-my-driveway-sinking

If the underlying issue's the sub-base, the only way to repair it is to start afresh-to prevent the same problem from happening again

Can A Sunken Driveway Be Repaired?

If your driveway is a simple gravel one, you can just top up the stones every year or so to maintain the required level. But in most cases, the repair job on a sunken driveway is much more complicated.

If it is determined that the sub base is the issue, the only way to repair it is to start afresh. This means ripping up the old driveway surface and base, and replacing it with a layer of compacted soil, stones and concrete, to offer the very best chance of the same issue not happening again.

If the issue is water related, you may need to locate the pipe and dig up that section of driveway to repair it. Needless to say, this can be incredibly costly.

Other options include cutting away the dipped sections, and replacing them with new paving stones or concrete sections with the ground underneath built up. This can result in a patchy looking driveway – not what you were hoping for.

If your driveway has dropped in a uniform way across the entire area you can think about adding a topper such as paving bricks or a resin coating to the required depth.

Resin bound driveway material may be a good option for this if your driveway does not have cracks. It can be trowelled into place, and used to build up certain areas to achieve a flat finish. The right base is essential for this however.

why-is-my-driveway-sinking

The success of your driveway project depends solely on installation-and will be the difference between a driveway that stays put, and one that might shrink or shift over time

Get It Right The First Time With A Credible Contractor

When you decide on the contractor for your new driveway, always ask them for a guarantee that the driveway will not sink, and that they will fix any damage if it does. Do not accept any statements that suggest that sinking is normal – with the right preparation it should not be.

Your contractor should also understand the soil in your area, and the right way to prepare it to prevent sinking and water issues.

Always choose a contractor who can show work they have done before. You should look at the driveways they have laid, and check for any sinking, water pooling and dips in the surface.

Seeking A Sink-Proof Surfacing Solution? Try Resin

Clearly making repairs to a brand new driveway should never happen, which is why it is so important to choose a contractor who understands driveways, and a material that will work perfectly for your needs without sinking, and with a long lasting finish.

resin bound driveway material can be used to repair a driveway in some cases, but usually it works best if it is laid from scratch. The process is extremely important and will be the difference between a driveway that stays put and one that might sink or shift.

Your resin bound driveway should start with the contractor digging out the foundations of your driveway and compacting the soil. A layer of sharp sand and stone will provide extra drainage to prevent sinkholes and future dips. This should be compacted as well.

Over this, a layer of either concrete or tarmac should be used. This material is permeable, and will allow free drainage of water, plus it is very stable and flat – providing the perfect surface for the final resin bound layer.

Resin bound material is resin and stone mixed together, and then trowelled onto the prepared base to a depth of around 15mm or more in some cases. You can choose stone in any colour you like, and the result is an attractive finish that should be sink free-even after many years of use.

If you are thinking of building a new driveway, or you want to replace an existing one (perhaps because it has sunk) you really need to ensure the base and foundations are perfect and that the top layer is permeable, flexible and long lasting.

Take the first step to a resilient new driveway today, by simply clicking the button below!