Is it common for water to get under the driveway?

grydMarch 19, 2014

I have an 2.5 year old asphalt driveway and water seems to make its way under the areas where the ground alongside the driveway is higher (several inches more elevated) than the driveway itself. It especially happens when we have a bad (snowy) winter like this and extra snow is piled up along the side of the driveway. Does water drain straight down through the soil or is it normal for it the move horizontally as well and get into the soil below my driveway? My driveway has rised up considerably this winter. I hope it will go down. Is there anything I can do about this?

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Trebruchet

No. Your asphalt has frost heaved.

The only solution is to remove it and install a european style insulated/drained underlayment system. This isn't inexpensive.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:17PM
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gryd

Thanks. I know it has frost heaved. Would better or more base made a difference? Are you saying that this doesn't happen to a lot of driveways or do you think the raised yard next to the driveway made for poor drainage?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:58PM
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Trebruchet

The lack of proper bedding is the reason for the heave. Proper bedding is expensive; most folks just accept heave as a trade-off for the money they saved.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:12AM
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gryd

What would be considered proper bedding for an area prone to frost heave? More of a gravel base or the expensive european underlayment system?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:32PM
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snookums2

Your driveway is only 2.5 years old and showing signs of failure. You have a claim against the contractor for a faulty installation.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 6:48AM
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Trebruchet

"Your driveway is only 2.5 years old and showing signs of failure. You have a claim against the contractor for a faulty installation."

Not in the least. Read your contract.

I'm willing to bet this homeowner didn't pay for the excavation of soil, the installation of insulation and stone for drainage which would have prevented the frost heave, but cost 3 times as much.

When you lay asphalt on dirt, you're going to get heave. If that's the case, the homeowner has gotten exactly what he's paid for.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 10:39AM
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snookums2

"I'm willing to bet this homeowner didn't pay for the excavation of soil, the installation of insulation and stone for drainage which would have prevented the frost heave, but cost 3 times as much ... the homeowner has gotten exactly what he's paid for."

And who is supposed to know how to lay a driveway? Contractor is responsible for scoping the job for what needs to be done and how, and his workmanship in executing. He sold his customer a bad job for which he is responsible, unless the HO agreed to chance something else to cut costs.

Gryd, did you have an agreement to skimp and not lay the driveway correctly, in a way appropriate for the weather conditions and to last a good while? Was this a cheap project? Did you get multiple bids and choose an outlying low baller?

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 23:15

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:44PM
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snookums2

Actually, as far as him getting what he paid for, re-reading this thread, we don't know anything about this house and whether he hired someone, had a new build or bought someone else's house.

Gryd, you are correct there shouldn't be water pooling on or around the drive, to avoid frost heave. See link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Asphalt drives

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 11:11PM
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gryd

Thanks for everyone's comments. I had a 2 year warranty though I did notice some minor problems prior to the warranty running out this past November. I emailed the contractor at that time but he didn't respond. I wasn't too bad and I had no idea it would heave up so much this winter. It is not a new construction and the contractor was aware I had problems in this area in the past and said it was cause there were cracks in the old driveway. I paid for the addition of base but not for excavation of the soil. I'll need to look but most of my estimates were for regrading the existing base, not excavation. This guy claimed it wasn't necessary to remove the old soil and base but that part wasn't in writing. On the other hand I never agreed to skimp, expressed all my concerns to the contractor and was told it should last 15 years unless I had an underground stream (which I don't). Can I still call him after the warranty ran out if I can prove the problems began to a lesser degree last year?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:40PM
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kirkhall

You should consult a lawyer to determine that. But, soon. The longer you let it go (it is past your warranty date) the less of a case you'd have.
Do you have any pictures from prior to November?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:06PM
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snookums2

Well you did contact him within the warranty period. Try again, that the problem has gotten worse.

A letter from your lawyer can work well. There's always small claims court if it needs to be redone.

How much did the driveway cost?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:58PM
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gryd

I don't think he'll respond as he didn't during the warranty period but it can't hurt to try again, The driveway cost 4400. It has settled down this past week.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:53PM
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gryd

Looking at the driveway today it is almost back to normal. I will still make the contractor aware of the problem but I'm sure he'll claim that it is normal during a harsh winter and no harm was done.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:17PM
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snookums2

I don't know what it should have cost but that is a whole lot of money. Who would intentionally pay all that for some bandaid 3 year duration driveway. Rip off. Hope it holds up. Document in case you need to go to small claims. He's being a real jerk to you.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:06PM
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schreibdave

I have never seen a driveway heave. If that happens regularly that asphalt is going to come apart.

I cant imagine blaming the homeowner for this problem unless you said "I dont care if it lasts 2 years, give me the cheapest fix you can that will make it look nice for a little while."

Sounds like it needs to be torn out, more base added, and redone. A fair solution to me would be for the contractor to pay for the tear out and new asphalt and for the homeowner to pay for the additional base.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 3:35PM
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gryd

I would be willing to pay for new base. The problem is it is 100 percent back to normal. I will call him but I'm not expecting much. Fortunately it is only one area so if it does crumble in the future I'll just replace that area and get it done right!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:58PM
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