There's more to installing a new driveway than many homeowners expect. If you've never had to replace your driveway before, or you've only done patches and minor repairs, you might be surprised at all the necessary work before any asphalt goes down. While these tasks can increase the job's cost, they're essential to creating an attractive, durable, and strong final product.
Grading is the first thing you'll need to do with any driveway project, and it's arguably one of the most critical. If you fail to grade your driveway, it can have some severe consequences for its long-term appeal and your maintenance costs. Here are three things that can go wrong if your driveway doesn't have appropriate grading.
1. Foundation Damage
The subgrade is your driveway's foundation, but it also protects your home's foundation. As water runs off your roof, it will make its way onto your lawn, driveway, and sidewalk, ultimately running away from your home or draining harmlessly into the terrain. All homes require adequate lawn grading to direct water safely from the structure.
However, your driveway can potentially cause issues with this process. Water that reaches your driveway will run across the asphalt, and incorrect grading can cause that water to run back towards your home. This excess water can even cause foundation damage. Relatively small (often unnoticeable to the untrained eye) grading issues can cause big problems, so it's crucial to get it right.
2. Driveway Damage
Your asphalt driveway is also vulnerable to water damage. Most contractors design driveways to direct water down the street or away from the asphalt surface. Water that pools on the driveway will eventually find its way into cracks or potholes, where it can seep beneath the asphalt and cause long-term problems such as frost heaving.
A properly graded driveway will ensure that water doesn't remain on the surface for too long, prolonging the life of your driveway and helping prevent avoidable damage. By getting your driveway's grade right from the start, you'll save on long-term maintenance costs and enjoy your driveway with minimal frustration.
3. Landscape Damage
Although your home's lawn and landscape are crucial to ensuring adequate water drainage, they can also be vulnerable to excessive water. Too much runoff from your driveway can create puddles or even cause erosion on parts of your lawn. These problems tend to compound over time, resulting in surprisingly severe damage to your landscape.
A professional grading contractor will be aware of these problems and can help ensure the grade of your driveway doesn't create any unexpected effects on your home or landscape. By ensuring the correct grade for your driveway, you'll be able to protect your property from the many potential problems caused by unmanaged water flow.
Contact a contractor for more information about driveway grading.