The WCK Foundation Repair Blog

Should I Worry About Small Cracks In My Baton Rouge Foundation

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Nov 23, 2016 10:05:49 AM

cracked_floor.jpgIf you own a home on a solid slab foundation and have ever installed new floors, you may have noticed little cracks in your foundation. In fact, some of the cracks may not be so little. This may leave you wondering if there is any cause for concern and asking, “should I worry about small cracks in my Baton Rouge foundation?

The answer to this question depends on a number of things. Concern over seeing cracks is natural, but before you allow concern to grow into worry, you should ask these questions:

How wide is the crack?

When you hear little creaks and noises in your home, they’ve probably been explained away with the expression, “the house is just settling.” But what does that mean? Well, first of all, it’s a real thing. When your slab is poured, the ground underneath it will continue to be packed down by the house. Plus, as your home goes through the different seasons of the year and experience different weather elements, this will also affect the ground under your home. As that earth expands and contracts over time, it will cause minor movements. Those minor movements will cause minor movements in the house itself. Most of them can’t be seen, but can be heard. It’s only when you get down to the slab that you can see what those little noises were doing. If you see a hairline crack, that is completely natural. The width of the crack is what will tell you if there is a reason to worry. The general rule is that is your crack is over a quarter of an inch wide, you should definitely call someone.

Is there moisture around the crack?

Aside from the width of the crack, one of the clearest ways to tell if the crack is a serious problem is if it allowing moisture into your home. Check the underside of the flooring that was pulled up around the crack. If you find mildew or mold, this tells you that moisture is being allowed in. If the problem is serious enough, you may see mold on the baseboards or sheetrock near the crack.

Is the crack isolated to one room?

If your slab is visible in more than one room, follow the crack to the wall, then look in the same spot on the other side of the wall. If the crack continues from room to room, this may be a sign that it is more serious than the average “settling” of a home. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a full blown problem, but it is a good idea to call out a professional to take a closer look.

Are there other signs of foundation damage?

If you have cracks in your walls, doors that are either tough to open or have trouble staying closed, or you have windows that get stuck, these are all visible signs of foundation damage. These signs don’t always occur close to the crack. In fact, you may see signs outdoors as well. Cracks in your bricks are a very common outdoor symptom of foundation damage.

At the end of the day, you need to get it right when it comes to foundation repair. It is always best to err to the side of caution. As foundation damage worsens, it naturally gets more costly to repair. So, if you see cracks that leave you doubting, give us a call at WCK Foundation Repair. If there is a problem, we can help. If there is nothing to worry about, at least you’ll have the peace of mind of a professional opinion to allay your fears.


How Does Baton Rouge Weather Affect My Foundation

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Oct 27, 2016 10:59:57 AM

raining on house.jpegIf you have experienced foundation problems in the past, or are currently seeing some of the tell-tale signs that you currently have foundation damage, your first thought is likely about getting it repaired. Beyond that, you will probably want to get to the cause of the foundation problem to prevent it from returning. While there are a number of possibilities for the cause of foundation damage, one of the most frequent is the weather. Naturally, the next question to ask is. How does Baton Rouge weather affect my foundation?

The weather of the summer and fall of 2016, have taken their toll on homes in the area, but have also given us a very clear example of how foundation damage occurs. The simplest answer to the question involves the moisture levels in the soil our homes are built on. In Louisiana, and South Louisiana especially, we have very rich, alluvial soil. While this type of soil is great for plant life, it can make things tricky for a home owner. When we see extremes in weather, as we have this year, these issues come to the forefront.

In August of this year, we experienced record rainfall in a very short period of time. In fact, experts at the National Weather Service and NASA classified it as a “1000 year” rain event. In the simplest possible terms of explanation, we were left with a lot of water that had nowhere to go and as a result, we experienced catastrophic flooding.

But, when it comes to your foundation, the flood wasn’t the end of the battle. Believe it or not what has happened since the flood can be just as detrimental. Following a very wet July and August, September and October have been very dry. This is when foundation problems can rear their head. When we experience very wet months, our soil absorbs as much moisture as it can. This year, that was to the point of saturation and beyond. When the soil absorbs the water, it expands. When the moisture levels in the soil drop, the soil subsequently contracts. This movement is often the cause of foundation problems.

If your home is on a slab, you can be left with a void where soil was previously well packed. That void can lead to an uneven sinking or sagging in your slab. This can lead to a major crack as your slab is not meant to bend and you are left with cracks in your walls, windows that stick, or other signs you see both inside and outside your home that tell you foundation problems have occurred. If your home is raised, meaning you likely have a pier and beam foundation, those beams can shift with the moving soil and the same symptoms show up.

Even though we are now a few months removed from the flood, that doesn’t mean foundation problems are out of the question. The process may have started, but has yet to show the undesirable results that may occur. As we move into cooler, drier months to close out 2016, now is the right time to be on the lookout for potential foundation damage.

If you do see some signs that lead you to believe you have foundation problems, you should call someone immediately to assess the damage. What’s more, since our soil is unique in Louisiana, you don’t want to trust that assessment, or any potential repairs, to someone who isn’t familiar with that uniqueness. With over thirty years of experience in Baton Rouge, we know the ground your house is built on. As a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, and a member of the Capital Region Builder’s Association, our knowledge and expertise is unparalleled locally. If you have any questions, or would like us to get a first-hand look at your foundation, feel free to give us a call at WCK Foundation Repair.

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Topics: Signs of Foundation Damage

4 Ways To Minimize The Cost Of Foundation Repair In Baton Rouge

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Oct 23, 2016 11:36:30 PM

shutterstock_131858885.jpgHaving a cracked foundation isn’t something anyone wants to deal with, but sometimes that’s the situation we find ourselves in. When we do need foundation repair, it is important to remember that this isn’t a problem that goes away on its own. In fact, if left untreated, it worsens. Naturally, when something major goes wrong in our home, the first question asked is often, “how much is this going to cost me?” Since every home and every foundation problem is different, we can’t definitively answer that without assessing your situation. But, we can off 4 ways to minimize the cost of foundation repair.

Don’t procrastinate

Allowing foundation damage to sit untreated can actually expose your home to other problems and compound an already bad situation. First of all, you run the disk of the damage to your foundation worsening. As your foundation problem worsens, so do the corresponding structural problems. Walls will continue to crack inside. Bricks or mortar can crack outside. It can even lead to roof damage. But beyond that, there’s another problem. Just like your roof protects your home from the top down, your foundation protects it from the bottom up. A crack in your foundation can lead to moisture coming up from the ground and can create mildew and mold inside. If left unrepaired this can lead to you needing mold remediation as well. This means paying another bill. Not to mention anything in your home that may need replacing if mold damages it beyond repair.

Don’t cut corners

Some people find cracks in their sheetrock or a large crack in their slab and just repair what they see. This is treating the symptom and not the cause. Usually, this means what they fix has to be fixed again. Which, of course, means added costs and bills. If you fix the foundation from the outset, you are much more likely to only have to fix everything else once and be done with it.

Hire someone reputable

We can’t stress this point enough. Trusting your home’s foundation to someone without a stellar reputation, or someone from out of town can mean that the job won’t be done right. And if the job isn’t done right, you’ll probably have to get it done again. Reputation is also just one factor in this equation. You want someone who knows the area. Knowing the ground underneath your home is vitally important to knowing how to fix the problem. At WCK Foundation Repair, we have over thirty years’ experience in dealing with the soil in South Louisiana. With that knowledge, we know how to get the job done right.


Even after a foundation is repaired, some minor movement isn’t uncommon. If you don’t have a strong warranty to back up the repair, you are left paying for further repairs. At WCK, we offer a lifetime warranty on our work. What’s more, that warranty is transferrable. Should you decide to sell your home one day, you have that warranty as a tool to back up your selling price.

Having your foundation repaired is not an expense that anyone seeks, but if you follow these tips, you can keep the costs of the damage to a minimum. If you have any questions, or feel that someone should evaluate your foundation to see if repairs are needed, feel free to give us a call at WCK Foundation Repair.

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Topics: Estimates

Spotting Problems With A Cinder Block Foundation

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Oct 4, 2016 4:55:47 PM

shutterstock_71862304.jpgMany homes in South Louisiana are raised off the ground as a way to avoid flooding. Some of these homes have bricks underneath them, some have wooden beams, and some have cinder blocks or concrete blocks. These homes are built on what is called a pier and beam foundation. The cinder blocks you see go into the ground and connect on top with the system of beams that supports your house.

The good news about these homes is, they provide a number of benefits that a slab foundation doesn’t. Since they are separated from the ground, it is harder for termites to infiltrate the home. Also, the separation allows for air to pass under the house which allows the soil to dry and not retain excessive moisture for extended periods of time.

The bad news is, pier and beam homes are just as susceptible to foundation problems as a home that is built on a slab. Spotting problems with a cinder block foundation is very similar to spotting problems with any other pier and beam home. Even though your home is elevated, and air can flow freely underneath it, the changes in moisture level in the soil can allow for that soil to shift or move. If that happens, you may start to see signs of the damage inside your home.

Some of the problems you may see inside include:

  • doors that don’t open or close properly
  • doors that swing back open
  • windows that stick
  • cracks in your walls
  • sagging floors

While these symptoms don’t guarantee you have a foundation problem, they do mean you should have them addressed immediately. Neglecting them could easily lead to them worsening.WCK has been working with foundations in South Louisiana for over 30 years and we specialize in pier and beam foundation repair.


Topics: Method

Don’t Let A Baton Rouge Drainage Problem Become A Foundation Problem

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Sep 20, 2016 11:00:11 AM

standing_water.jpegHas the rain of the last few months revealed a drainage problem in your neighborhood, or worse, in your yard? After the August flood waters receded, did you still have puddles and standing water around your home for days? This could present a problem for your home’s foundation. When water sits in your yard for an extended period of time, is affects the soil that is under and around your foundation. It makes the soil less dense, which can result in shifting of movement if you have a pier and beam foundation. It can lead to sagging or cracking if you have a slab. But, you don’t have to let a Baton Rouge drainage problem become a foundation problem.

There are ways to correct poor drainage in your yard, and depending on the severity of the problem, you may be able to handle it on your own. The first step is to determine what is causing the problem. Every yard should have some level of a slope running away from the house. However, that slope isn’t always uniform, and different things, like having a tree removed, can create dips and low spots over time. Regularly changing the landscaping near your house can also do this. Once you have determined your yard’s slope and where your low spots are, you will be able to correct the problem.

If your drainage problem is very close to your house, the answer may be as simple as extending the downspout of your rain gutters to get the water past any dip. Not only does this create some separation between your house and the water, but it also helps propel the water to where it needs to go to fall in to the natural drainage process in your yard.

If the problem is a low spot that isn’t near the rain gutters, you may want to consider filling it in. If the low spot was caused by having a tree removed, the ground that filled in where that tree was may have appeared level at one point, but dipped as the dirt settled. If you don’t think filling it in is the best option, digging a creek bed to help the water get from point A to point B and beyond is the next viable choice.

If your drainage issue is more severe than a few low spots, you will need to look at more intricate drainage improvements. Installing a drainpipe or two may be necessary. By starting where the water normally pools and ending where you want the water going, you can move water a lot faster with a drainpipe.

Another great option for moving water over a significant distance is a French drain. A French drain is perforated on the bottom, allowing water to seep back into the soil as it moves away from your yard. The reason this is beneficial, is because it allows your yard to retain all the water it can absorb, while sending the excess away; basically giving you the best of both worlds.

If you do have to run a drainpipe or a French drain, the next question becomes, “where is the water going?” If your yard does have a natural slope, then all you’ll really need to do is get the water to the point where the slope takes over. If not, you will either need to have the pipe carry the water to where it will meet with the municipal drainage system, or you may consider installing a dry well.

If left unattended, a drainage problem could turn into a foundation problem. As with so many things around your home, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you think that standing water has already created a problem for your home’s foundation, don’t hesitate to give us a call.


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How To Spot Foundation Problems After A Baton Rouge Flood

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Aug 19, 2016 2:42:58 PM

mold_cover.jpgAs the waters from the historic flood of 2016 recede, homeowners throughout South Louisiana get to work on getting their homes back to the condition they were in before the storm. But, in between tearing out all the soaked carpet and ruined sheetrock and replacing it with new floors and walls, there are a few things to look for that could let you know if you’ve got problems beyond just the flood damage you’re currently facing. Here are a few tips to help you spot foundation problems after a Baton Rouge flood.

Windows won’t open – If you are trying to air out your house, you will probably be opening up windows you don’t normally open. If you have trouble opening some of your windows, or if they are stuck and simply won’t open, this could be a sign of a foundation problem. It could also simply be that the heat and humidity has caused the wooden studs around the frame to swell, putting pressure on the window itself, making it harder to open. While you won’t be able to tell if you have a foundation problem from this one symptom, it should raise your awareness to look for other symptoms.

Cracks in your floors – As you pull up your carpet, tile, or hardwood floors and expose the cement slab underneath, you may notice a few cracks. Cracks in your slab are actually pretty natural. As the house settles, most slabs will incur a crack or two. So, how can you tell if the crack you’re seeing is a problem or just part of the settling process? The size of the crack is a good indicator. If it is just a hairline crack that doesn’t extend for any real length, it’s not a problem. But the wider and longer the crack is, the more you should be concerned.


Mold or mildew behind walls – When tearing out sheetrock, be on the lookout for mold or mildew on the inside of the wall. Mold and mildew need both warmth and moisture to grow. If you have mold or mildew inside your walls, you need to determine where that moisture is coming from. If you previously had a leak in your roof or your plumbing, that could solve it. But, if that mold or mildew is near a crack in the slab, it could be coming from the ground beneath your foundation, which would be a problem.


While there are other signs of foundation damage to be aware of on a normal day, these three will be the most prevalent after a flood. Also, while no one sign is a definite diagnosis of a foundation problem, following up on what you see while your house is stripped down won’t hurt. Calling a foundation repair expert for an inspection is your best course of action before installing new walls and carpet.

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Troubleshooting Foundation Problems For Raised Homes in Baton Rouge

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Aug 12, 2016 1:43:19 PM

Dollarphotoclub_5741998.jpgIn Baton Rouge and throughout South Louisiana, you don’t have to look far to find homes that are raised off the ground. Some of these are newer construction, but for the most part, they are older homes. They provide southern charm and relief from flooding, but they also present possible challenges for the homeowner when it comes to foundation repair. The reason most older homes are raised is because before concrete slabs became popular, the pier and beam foundation was the foundation of choice.

As mentioned, they do provide relief from flooding. Before sewer and drainage systems were modernized, rain water stayed where it was for a longer period of time. This meant that homes needed to be above danger while still being sturdy, hence the need for the pier and beam method. Also as mentioned, these homes present challenges when it comes to those foundations. Since your home is not on a slab, the beams that support your home are more susceptible to shifts in the soil underneath the house. This is especially a problem if drainage around the beams is slow. The wetter the soil, the more likely it is to move. So, we would like to offer a few things to look for when troubleshooting foundation problems for raised homes in Baton Rouge.

The first of these is cracks in your walls. Just like you would find if your home was on a slab, when you have foundation problems, you will see the evidence in cracks in your walls. As beams move, it can cause strain on the walls that leads to these cracks.

Another thing to look for is uneven doorframes and window sills. If your foundation has shifted, you may notice that door don’t close all the way, or swing back open. You may also find that windows don’t open or close as easily as they should, or don’t open at all. This is usually because the sill and frame of the window are no longer aligned with the window itself.

One problem that you will find with raised homes that you won’t find with a slab is sagging floors. Since there is no consistent slab underneath the entire home, a shift in beams can lead to a dip or a lean in the floor.

Outside the home, one thing you can look for to troubleshoot possible foundation damage is mold or mildew around the beams themselves. If you see this, it means that water is hanging around too long, leaving you at risk for the soil to loosen and allowing the beams to move.

If you notice any of these problems, you want them addressed immediately. The longer these issues are allowed to linger, the worse they get. Having worked in Baton Rouge for over 30 years, WCK knows the ground in south Louisiana. With that knowledge, we have been able to specialize in pier and beam foundation repair.

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Topics: Method

How Often Should I Have A Foundation Inspection On My Baton Rouge Home

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Aug 3, 2016 12:21:15 PM

inspector.jpegThe old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You don’t wait until your home is infested with termites before having it treated. You don’t wait for a fire before installing a smoke alarm. But, there are some areas of life where that ounce of prevention isn’t necessary, or even feasible. One of the questions that we’ve been asked by homeowners, especially new homeowners is, “how often should I have a foundation inspection?” Well, there is no regular schedule, but there are things to look out for to know when to call.

If you’ve never had foundation work done before, your house will tell you something is amiss. If your doors aren’t closing properly, you’re seeing new cracks in your walls or ceiling, if you see cracks in a concrete floor, or a few other visible symptoms, it is time to call someone immediately. There are also indirect signs that problems may be on the way. The biggest of these signs is poor drainage. If water regularly pools in your yard close to your foundation, this could lead to problems in the future. If you see this, you will want to address the drainage issue before calling for foundation repair work. However, if there are no visible symptoms, there is no need for an inspection at all.

If you have had foundation work done in the past, you still don’t need regular inspections afterwards. There will be minor natural movement after having work done. This is nothing to be alarmed about. But, if you feel the movement is more than minor, feel free to give us a call. That is what your warranty is for. However, if you have had work done and have drainage problems, the drainage will need to be addressed before any further warranty work can be done.

If you are looking to buy a home and are wondering if you should call a foundation repair company for an inspection, we recommend that you trust your home inspector in the purchase process. If there is damage that warrants foundation repair, your home inspector will alert you to it immediately. At that point, we can assess the extent of what is needed to repair it before you move forward in buying the home.

It is natural to want to be proactive about your home as opposed to reactive once something happens. But in the case of foundation repair, it boils down to not fixing something that isn’t broken.

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Foundation Repair Methods Compared In Baton Rouge

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Jul 29, 2016 1:46:12 PM

pressed_pilings.jpegWhen you start to see cracks in your wall or separation between bricks and mortar, you start to do your homework on what may be causing them. If the cause of these cracks or separations is foundation damage, the next question turns to fixing the problem. For a number of foundation repair companies, the answer will involve whatever method of repair is the easiest for them to perform. But, looking at how foundation repair methods compared in Baton Rouge, you will likely find that the soil under our homes makes some methods completely obsolete. Here is a description of some of the more popular methods of foundation repair.

Mudjacking – Also called slabjacking, mudjacking addresses a symptom instead of providing a cure. The process of mudjacking involves pumping a cement grout (or in some cases foam) into a small hole or several small holes drilled near the crack in the foundation. The grout gets pumped into the holes, then fills up the void that was under the slab, and ultimately pushes the crack in the slab back to where it is flush with the other side. This is problematic because, while you may have patched the crack, you have done nothing to address what caused the crack.

Pressed Piling Method – Pressed pilings are very popular in many areas of the country, and can be very effective in many situations. The Pressed piling method put simply, is stacking concrete pilings on top of each other under your slab until they get through the active soil and reach more stable soil underneath. Think of it like refilling a Pez dispenser. This method has its benefits, provided the soil under your home decides to cooperate. If you’re in Dallas, Texas or Des Moines, Iowa, we could see the value of this method. But, the soil we have in South Louisiana is not a good match for this method. Our soil is rich and moist. It expands and contracts with the temperature. This leaves open the possibility of pockets or gaps around the pilings, which would allow for them to shift. As they are merely stacked on top of each other, there is nothing holding them firmly in place. Also, and this is a larger point with our soil, concrete is very porous. This means that the moisture in the soil can easily get inside the pilings, leading to deterioration. If one of the pilings deteriorates, the stack loses stability and can even fall.

 Spread Footing Method – The spread footing method doesn’t go deep enough to truly solve the problems that cause the need for foundation repair. They only go two to three feet into the ground, which is far too shallow to get beneath the active soil. The spread footing method is utilized in northern states. In fact, it is the recommended method for road repair by Iowa’s Department of transportation. But, we don’t live in Iowa. Our soil is much richer, much more active, and deeper. So, use of the spread footing method can provide the same results as mudjacking. It should be viewed as a temporary fix; not a permanent solution.

Drilled Pier Method – This is our method of choice. WCK’s home grown experience has shown that the drilled pier method is by far the most effective for Louisiana soil. Plus, it is the most highly recommended method by structural engineers. As the name suggests, this method actually drills rebar reinforced piers as deep as eleven feet, or until a suitable change in the soil is found. This gets below the active soil, setting it apart from mudjacking or spread footing. Plus, it utilizes one solid pier, giving it more stability than the pressed piling method. The drilled pier method can sustain up to 3000 lbs per square inch and widens as it goes up. This widening prevents the soil from pushing back up, making for a more permanent solution.

At WCK, we know the ground underneath your home. Should something go wrong with your foundation, that knowledge is the most valuable tool in getting it fixed correctly and permanently.

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Is it time for a new driveway?

Posted by WCK Foundation Expert Team on Jun 28, 2016 2:30:25 PM

driveway.jpegYou may not think about it every day, and most folks don’t, but your driveway is under attack. What’s worse is it is under attack on two fronts. You’re probably already seeing the effects of these attacks as your driveway needs seasonal cleaning, develops cracks, and leaves the pathway to your home looking like it has been beaten up.

Every morning as you pull out for work and every evening when you get home, hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds roll across it. This wear is natural and unavoidable. If your car leaks oil or transmission fluid, this can also cause damage. Aside from leaving a nasty stain, if your driveway isn’t properly sealed, the oil or any other fluid can soak into your driveway and soften it, which leads to further damage. There is also the weather. Brutal Louisiana summer heat, violent storms that pound down on it, and father time combine to cause cracks and damage from above. Rainfall affects your driveway more directly than it affects your home's foundation. While improper drainage can take a huge toll, your driveway doesn't have a house on top of it to fend of the pounding of the rain and wind.

What’s more, this is only half of what your driveway has to endure. In many Baton Rouge homes, especially in some of the older neighborhoods, your driveway has to fend off an attack from below as well. Baton Rouge neighborhoods are full of beautiful trees. But, those gorgeous trees in your yard are growing; which means their roots are expanding underground, especially if you have an oak or cypress tree nearby. As those roots grow, they cause a shift in the ground that your driveway rests on, and affects the moisture levels of the soil on which your driveway rests. This leads to instability underneath, pressure pushing upward, and eventually to more cracking. This is also similar to what happens underneath your home.

This barrage of damage leaves many homeowners looking at a substandard element of an otherwise wonderful home. You take pride in your home. If any other part of your home were busted up, you would almost certainly replace it. Why should your driveway be any different? If you are among the crowd that hates spending half a Saturday spraying Round-Up on grass and weeds that spring up in the middle of an area they have no business being; if you worry that your child may sprain an ankle playing basketball on an uneven crack; or if you just want a new look and an upgrade, it may be time for a new driveway.

There are a few things to consider before replacing your driveway. The first thing to consider is, how old is your driveway? The lifespan of a concrete driveway is 20 to 30 years. If your home was built before 1990, and the driveway is original to the house, it is reaching (or has reached) that limit.

The next thing to consider is how much work you have put into it already. Have you resealed it? Have you already done any patch work? Have you gotten to the point where pressure washing no longer makes it look new? The second question is probably the most important one of these three. If you have previously fixed cracks in your driveway and new ones have appeared, you need to keep in mind that the strength of your driveway is compromised. Patching a driveway can plug up a crack, but it doesn’t reinforce the strength and structure of the driveway.

If you are thinking about selling your home in the near future, you should consider the curb appeal that comes with a new driveway. Is your driveway riddled with stains? Does patching make it look like a centuries old street in a European village? When a prospective buyer comes to see the house, the driveway is often the first thing they’ll see and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

You also want to consider the cost. This consideration can go away quickly if your driveway is covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Most policies cover the driveway in certain circumstances. Talk to your insurance agent to find out exactly how much of the cost can be absorbed by the coverage you already pay for. If replacing your driveway is not covered, there are financing options that can make this easier as well.

Finally, and this is the most important factor to consider, are you happy with your driveway? If your driveway is a cause of frustration due to its appearance, it may be worth your while to just replace it with a gleaming new crack-free, weed-free slab, worry-free concrete driveway.