Fortunately we are a very busy company and because of this, efficiency is important in everything we do. We sure do not want to engage in any unnecessary work! We think you will agree, we all have plenty to do! But because they are dissimilar materials, aggregate driveways and concrete foundations or garage floors often do not meet tightly, leading to the possibility of:
- Water infiltration
- Insect infestation
- Weed growth
Due to the highly variable Nashville weather, the extreme high temperatures and especially the Winter lows, you may want to consider this little project. You should be able to do this in an hour or so and for under $20.00 materials cost.
Water Infiltration Can Lead To Breakage In The Concrete
When water enters the seam or crack between an aggregate driveway and a concrete garage floor or foundation, it isn’t a big deal most of the year in Middle Tennessee. But on colder Winter days this water can cause damage to both the aggregate driveway and the concrete when it freezes. Sealing the seam eliminates this problem since it eliminates the water!
Insects Love To Make Their Home In Nice Moist Concrete Cracks!
Ants are fun! They like to make these cute little piles of sand and dirt outside their nests as they add room after room for their growing families. The problem is that this sand and dirt is never replaced, so over time hollows develop underneath the aggregate driveway surface leading to 1) more water accumulation leading to 2) cracking due to freezing or even sagging. Keeping the ants out is easy… a good crack sealant will be impassible to the little buggers!
What about insecticides? They work for a short period of time, but the ants are persistent and before you know it they will be back!
Weeds Are Strong Enough To Break Up Concrete
Though we all know the power of tree roots, even smaller plants can cause pressure damage to the aggregate/concrete seam… not so much to break up your entire driveway but enough to make inviting holes for (you guessed it) water infiltration and insects. Ah… the concrete crack troubles go round and round and round!
The solution is simple… seal the seam with a flexible concrete crack filler. It’s not hard to do and will last for many years with proper preparation.
How To Seal Your Nashville Aggregate Driveway Seams
The first step is to, if necessary, open up the crack so it is at least 1/4″ wide and at least an inch or so deep. The crack filler is less likely to fail if it is firmly seated in the crack, as opposed to simply putting it over the surface as you would apply tub caulk. We used a masonry grinder, which does a good job on both the driveway and the concrete and isn’t dulled by the dirt. If the crack is already wide enough but just messy, you can use pretty much any tool that will fit into the crack to scrape out loose material… old screwdriver, pry bar, chisel. etc.
Use A Vacuum And Thoroughly Clean Out All Loose Debris
It isn’t necessary to wash the surface and a little remaining dust isn’t a problem. Use a vacuum around the crack so the filler stays clean while it dries. Leaves and twigs will stick to it till it skins over… take a little care and you’ll have a neater looking job.
You have a choice of concrete fillers in caulking-type tubes or in plastic jugs that are pourable. For this repair, we prefer the thicker filler in caulking tubes. It shrinks less and (in our opinion) will last longer than the watery liquid. However, on the opposing side, the liquid form is easier to use, cheaper and doesn’t require a caulking gun.
Use A Caulking Gun To Apply The Concrete Filler
We use Artistic Polymers’ PolyRock® speed fill because it will fill cracks up to an inch wide. Some brands cannot bridge a gap that wide because they shrink too much and will pull away from the edges, breaking the seal! Cut a 1/4″ opening in the end of the tube to give you good volume. You’ll want to pump the caulk as deeply as possible into the widened seam so work slowly and deliberately to allow the thick filler to push into the crack. It is not necessary to fill the seam level to the surface. In fact, you will find it neater to have the caulk a slightly lower than the surface during this initial application.
Once the crack is filled, use your finger to smooth and press the caulk into the seam. Since the driveway is rough, don’t expect a bathroom caulk-level of smoothness. You can apply the crack filler before or after you seal the Nashville aggregate driveway… it’s your choice. Although since you are dealing with aggregate, we like to apply sand to the caulk while it is still tacky. Once it dries you can brush or vacuum the remaining sand up and then apply a sealer. This adds a final touch that translates to a professional looking job.