Cracks in the Driveway

This being such a common issue. I just wanted to compare how you report on cracks and what recommendation you offer.


Depends on the size of the crack and is the cause known. Too many factors not enough info…

To me it depends on the size of the crack and the age of the driveway.

Many times I write typical settlement cracks, keep an eye on them; or the driveway needs to be repaired.

Also, depends on size/depth, can be trip hazard.

Other than that I couldn’t think of a reason to mention it.

I always mention to seal cracks to prevent further deterioration from freeze/thaw cycles. (I am in Ohio, ice is that stuff you use to cool your drinks down there in Florida):wink:

Ditto. Other statements if its spalling, raised by tree roots, or just generally deteriorated.

Good info…

I will ask you what type of driveway First.
Tar-mat ( asphalt ) or cement.

Tar-mat or asphalt.
1: How long are the cracks and how wide do they separate, and where are the separations in proximity to ground compaction if any?.( depressions )
2: When they separate ( cracks ) do they have any compression imprints,( due to water infiltration and frost heave in climate is cold. ( zone 6 or lower ) or car weight compaction.
Near trees because rots will work there magic, and I can go on.
That’s a good starting point for asphalt.
If you see no compression ( ground deviation or bumps) convex or concave impressions, and the driveway is smooth and sloped towards the street then it is acceptable.
You might recommend sealing if you notice to many cracks for they will open up and let water and allow frost heaves.
Most driveways are acceptable and look on Google or ask inspectors for reference material.
Cement is another story but similar in detection methods.
There should be expansions cuts to accept movement all ready in place.
You will look for spalling, cement surface waring away irregularly and agrogate is showing on the cement.
You will look for all the same evidence as tar-mat ,cracking ,length of cracks how wide do the separate.
Again its objective to guess and you need examples.
INCHI has completed inspection reports that have been used by myself for reference.
They are inexpensive and I suggest you turn you eyes that way.
I purchased them and they are an excellent tool to help you with your report writing.
I hope I was helpful and hope you enjoy your new vocation as a home inspector.
Good luck.

The cause of cracking…

  • it can be differential drying rates and shrinkage between the main body of the pour and the concrete surface. The slab will be stable after the concrete has cured.
  • It can be inadequate compaction at the time of original construction, which will stabilize after initial settlement.
  • It can be soil movement related to moisture levels in the soil beneath the slab. The source may be runoff or leaking pipes.
  • It can be concrete poured too thin over structural steel allowing corrosion, which causes steel to expand, cracking concrete.
  • It can be lack of adequate control joint spacing.
  • It can be the shape of the slab. Outside and inside corners develop high stress when concrete is curing that is relieved by cracking.
  • It can be impact, although you’d expect to see surface damage in addition to cracking.

The big question about cracks is… are they likely to continue and cause more damage?

Not as “common” as you thought, is it?!

Just a lot of “common” minds…

Thanks for the info - most all of the driveways here are concrete and almost always have at least less than a 1/4" crack.

Thanks - great info on how cracks are formed. What suggestions do you recommend to your clients, I usually tell them to fill with masonry caulk or comparable crack filler?

You are asking questions without giving specifics as Mr.Shepard pointed out.
What are they caused from Mr.Strump.
Any relations to Donald Strump. Just joking.
I had to.
It is dependent on the nature of the damage.
I myself do not tell clients about how to repair things I do not know and practice keeping my mouth closed anyway but that’s me.
I just started inspection as a certified residential build inspector ( that should get 1 member going ) and have a restoration company also. So conflict of interest.
I am or should say was an apprentice cement finisher but I got tired of looking at my feet and being on my knees. Same as roofer 12 years plus. 1 more trade but no need for that.
Mr.Shepard pointed out some keen observations you should be looking at to understand whats going on, and why they ( the drive way ) is cracking before you suggest repairs. ( just my opinion and I am new ) Read your SOP again and see if it helps.
Good luck and call me if you want.
Read Mr. Shepard’s observations and note them.Might get you some feathers in your cap.
Thanks for coming back.

I had one , 1/2 mile long driveway with Large settlement cracks . yes i reported it Because of the cost to fix it. about 300 feet (new Home). The cost to repair will mean ripping up and re pouring. Normal cracking is also mention to seal cracks to prevent water damage.

Just a question Wayne.
If you give the wrong information ( telling them to use a certain material or product ) and it backfires and causes more problems and greater damage to the drive, can you be held liable.
The driveway sealer for tar-mat drives is no brain’er most of the time.
But certain sealers, on cement drives, can cause and adverse reaction to colored concrete. Its not that simple a fix as to advise caulk and that,s it.
Just asking.
That 300 foot redo would cost a pretty penny, and now who knows how deep they dug the base?

Best practice is to report all cracks in all materials as a note in the body of the report for future reference. I am seeing some buyers more worried about small common cracks in the driveway more than the age of the water heater or roof.

I do not tell them how to fix it Robert Just advise to seal it.

I never give advise on repairs, even if they ask me Mr.Wilson.
I explain that its a conflict of interest ( to Me ). Been doing that for 4 years now.
I wanted Mr.G Strump to see everything in play.

Thanks Wayne.

I think the best you can so is to tell them whether cracking is likely to continue, and if you don’t know… tell them that.

With shrinkage cracks, inadequately spaced control joints or inadequate original compaction, it’s probably stable. If soils in the area are known to be unstable with changes in moisture content, cracking may continue.

Corrections will vary with the cause. For cracks that have stabilized, they s should be filled “with an appropriate material”. Suggest one if you feel confident.

For sections that have suffered vertical displacement… that’s a trip hazard and should be corrected (getting into a different area here).

For problems relating to soil moisture content… recommend improving drainage. It may be trickier if an underslab pipe leak is the source.