My company is transferring me to a new location and I am going to be selling my home in the coming months. I own a fairly new home, about 6 years old, in a nice north area subdivision. My driveway and front walkway don’t melt off well when we get snow and ice, so I’ve resorted to having to put some salt down. Now, I’m noticing the concrete is looking chewed up, flaking off and is no longer smooth in a number of spots. Is this something that I should have fixed prior to listing my house? I don’t want to invest too much if it’s not going to be worth it or isn’t going to make that big of a deal on the sale of my house. I would appreciate your advice.
Michael, Grand Junction
What you have is called concrete spalling. It is generally quite common in colder climates where you get repeated freeze and thaw cycles and it is exacerbated by deicing chemicals used to help overcome ice buildup on driveways and sidewalks. Even though you are guilty of using salt, I hear this quite often from people who have never used salt or other chemicals to melt ice that has built up on their driveway. Even if you don’t use them directly, your car will pick them up from the roads and especially the highways and when it melts off your car or truck on your driveway….well you get the picture. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to avoid this issue you still inadvertently fall victim of chemicals on public roads and highways.
This is primarily a cosmetic issue and it would be rare for the structural integrity of your driveway to be compromised. Although the structural integrity has, most likely, not been compromised, it is unsightly and does not help make a good first impression. Depending on the severity, I would probably not recommend re-pouring your entire driveway and would just make sure to sweep it clean and as presentable as possible. If you repeatedly hear feedback on the driveway and it appears that the unsightly finish is costing you the sale, then you may have to rethink this position, however the cost will be significant. I have heard of people having a skim coat of concrete applied to the surface of a spalling driveway, however the results have been temporarily satisfactory, but has not proven to be a good long term solution.
Get a quote from a local concrete company, before a sign goes in your yard, so you have a baseline cost in case it does become an issue for a prospective buyer. This way you will have the cost already figured out. If needed you can make a concession should your prospective buyer make an issue of it. My advice would be to not replace it now and see how the process of selling goes. With a quote in hand you will be properly armed to negotiate the new driveway, should it become an issue.
When trying to sell, it is easy to get hung up on a less than appealing aspect of your home, like a spalling driveway. Try to focus on all the great characteristics of your home and make sure to play up those positive features and many times those unique characteristics will overshadow one less than savory feature. Selling a house is a lot like life. Try to keep your focus on the positives and many times those positive features will help overcome obstacles. Hope this helps. Good luck and I am sure it will work out fine.
The Kimbrough Team