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Damaged driveways

1024 680 Nisha Muire

Toronto driveways are built for toughness, but even so, they can and do get damaged. Driveways can develop cracks, suffer from an oil leak, and be scratched by snow removal equipment. Even the harshness of Toronto winters, water and tree roots can add to the stress your driveway faces and result in a damaged surface. Here we look at a few of the most common culprits for damaged driveways and offer you ways to protect your hardtop for the long run. 

Bad installation

The number one reason for a damaged driveway is that it was poorly installed. For a solid driveway you need at least six inches of gravel topped by another four inches of asphalt. If there is less gravel or asphalt, if the layers haven’t been compacted properly or if the base isn’t level, then you will see problems developing almost immediately. 

The best way to avoid this situation is to get referrals from family and friends for trusted installers. Or, read the reviews of the installers in your neighbourhood to ensure you’re hiring a trusted company. 

Oil leaks

Oil leaks are very bad for driveways. If not addressed immediately, in time the oil will soften and break down the asphalt making it more susceptible to water and to freezing/thawing cycles.

The minute you see a leak, clean it up and stop parking the leaky vehicle on your driveway until it is repaired. You can buy commercial cleaners at any hardware store that will work to get the grease out as long as it hasn’t penetrated the surface too deeply. 


In Toronto people tend to salt their driveways. While great for melting ice, it is very damaging to asphalt and concrete surfaces. The increased thaw/freeze cycles will increase the amount of water on your driveway and if there are any minute cracks, they will be exacerbated. 

Instead of salt there are many driveway friendly alternatives: sand, kitty litter, coffee grinds and calcium chloride, to name a few. Look into the option that would best suit your needs and budget. 


Water can easily wear down a driveway. It is very good at getting into cracks and thereby washing away the sand and gravel in your base. 

To avoid water damage, make sure water drains properly. If there are areas of standing water, either brush the water away immediately, or hire an expert to even out your driveway so that it drains correctly. 

Heavy loads

Driveways are built for strength, but there is a limit to how much prolonged weight they can bear. In time heavier loads will cause a driveway to lose its shape. To avoid this, only park the recommended number of cars on your driveway. 

Lastly, driveways will tend to oxidize over time. This is a normal process where the asphalt starts hardending when exposed to air. When a driveway is oxidized it turns grey and becomes hard. Oxidation can be bad because when the surface hardens and loses its flexibility, it becomes more susceptible to cracks. To keep your driveway supple, it is a good idea to reseal it every few years.


Nisha Muire

All stories by: Nisha Muire