Balancing Urban Development and Water Conservation

The Garage Apron/Driveway Joint. What the heck happens there?

Posted April 16, 2020 @ 4:22pm | by Victorian

The Garage Apron/Driveway Joint. What the heck happens there?

One of the most common repairs is the joint between the garage and the driveway.  If you’ve experienced this, repaired it, to only have it happen again you’re probably not a happy camper. 


Frustrating? A waste of money? 


Absolutely. We’d rather you spend money on other pleasures in life than fixing a pavement collapse situation at your garage over and over again.


We’d like to elaborate why this happens and what can be done to permanently fix the issue.


First, garage construction. To be clear, this is not our expertise. :)

During construction of the garage foundation work, there are concrete blocks placed around the entire perimeter. 


Certainly there are many particulars beyond our scope of expertise, we’ll only expound on what we experience. 


Each concrete block contains two large holes. Generally the corner blocks of a structure are filled with concrete but the center ones are left open. 


This is where issues can happen years later. 


Initially soils and base aggregate for the driveway are moved around and fill these holes (to some extent) but those materials are neither compacted or filled in a way that ensures any permanent stability. So then...


The power of water.

As time passes and the joint between the garage floor and the driveway are exposed to water from rainfall events, the power of the water will move soil with it. 


If there’s a place for it to go. It will go. 


Once any of the top layers of soil move through those open holes of the concrete block the surface of the driveway will start to collapse. If you have a concrete driveway, you won’t notice as much of a collapse? Why? 


Concrete is a rigid pavement and will create a “bridge” over an unsupported area. 


We actually have seen some major wash-out under garage floors, up to 6’ deep because of concrete’s amazing bridging abilities.


Why asphalt why?

One of the many pros of asphalt is that it’s considered a flexible surface. And deemed self-healing meaning

that as it expands and contracts with swings of temperature the oils in the asphalt will become rejuvenated and self repair where concrete’s rigidity is not as forgiving.


Here’s where the con doesn’t work in our favor. 


When the pavement surface of asphalt is unsupported, it begins to collapse, especially in areas where it’s exposed to loads (your car driving over). The adjacent pavement will join in and collapse as well.


The fix.

For these circumstances, it’s imperative to expose the concrete block, fill with sand or other self-compacting materials, and then cap with concrete.


Then the driveway joint can be reconstructed with compacting base aggregate and new asphalt. 


There! You’re good to go not having to revisit that issue any longer. Now you have the time and energy to focus on all those other household projects!


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I have already recommended you! Our consultant, Shelly, was extremely knowledgeable. She explained (the process) in technical detail. She is the reason I chose Earth Wizards over the other 5 bidders. Installation crew was terrific and exceeded my expectations.

- Don P.
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