When Homeowner Repairs Are Uninformed And Go Awry

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

When homeowner repairs are uninformed and go awry.

Homeowners often go ahead with "repairs" that are improper or simply uninformed.

Concrete driveways can spall.  Spalling means that the exterior layer, the final layer sometimes called the cream, cracks, flakes, or chips off.

That thin, top surface can be damaged by deicing salt, or may be too rich with sand, and with time it begins to crack and come loose. 

When that happens the rocky concrete below is revealed.  It isn't pretty, but not much of the structure of the material has been compromised.

To solve the problem this homeowner decided to "repair" it himself.   He thought asphalt was the way to go.

Not calling a knowledgeable contractor to put a layer of asphalt over the top, he instead went cheap and bought the thin tar used to seal cracks in existing asphalt material.  With that tar he essentially painted the surface of the spalling driveway concrete.  A true topcoat of asphalt would have worked, but that would have required more money!

After slopping a thin coating of that liquid tar over the driveway it dried and began its short lifespan.  Subject to weather and temperatures that coating quickly cracked and began to flake off. 

The result was converting the driveway from UGLY to UGLIER.

The driveway was 600 or 700 square feet and certainly worse following the repair than it was before. 

My recommendation:  if you see the need for a repair be sure to research it carefully!   Some ideas are not good ones!  And consulting with knowledgeable people before making any final decision is not only smart, but circumspect.  And get more than one opinion or idea!  But to think that the cheap and suspect repair is the best approach often bites back from behind.  Or, in this case, from below.



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comments (6)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

As with many things, it's often a better idea to pay for quality.

Jan 24, 2018 03:04 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

While showing homes in the last 26 years, I came across some of the aweful repairs made by homeowners who did stuff they don't know anything about, which put themselves and their familes in danger

Jan 24, 2018 03:56 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Ugh... Dats ugly! Did it stick to your shoes, tires, and everything else it touched? LOL

Jan 24, 2018 07:54 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Jay, we just bought a condo that was a do it yourself owner fix. What they did is make it worse. They were proud it it but we plan to gut it.

Jan 24, 2018 09:37 AM
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

One of our neighbors had a concrete driveway failure, on a 340 foot driveway.  The original builder poured concrete directly on dirt without any sub-grade materials.  Over the years water compromised the surface below the driveway.  On days with heavy rain we would see mud pouring out into the street.  Finally, one day the delivery truck bring roofing materials to the house for roof replacement collapsed the driveway.  He now has a new asphalt driveway!

Jan 24, 2018 11:22 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kat - I would think if one is doing this for himself he would go with a quality job!  This job was pathetic.

Sham - I have to agree.  I have seen dangerous work many, many times.

Fred - it's winter.  Who knows how sticky this stuff got over the summer!

Joe - points of view are everything!  Didn't Einstein say it's all relative?

Unbelievable, Stephen!  All it took was a little weight!  Foundation is everything.

Jan 24, 2018 05:23 PM