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Should I Repair or Replace My Driveway?

Driveway Being Installed at a Livermore RentalHaving a paved driveway has been one of the best ways that improve a Livermore rental property’s curb appeal. But if your rental’s paved driveway is showing signs of wear, you may be wondering whether it’s time for a repair or even a full replacement. While every condition is different, by learning about your driveway options and some of the pros and cons of each, you can more confidently decide what to do when the time comes.

Determine Wear and Tear vs. Damage

First, it’s important to find out why your driveway looks a bit worse for wear. Is the surface starting to crack, stain, or develop potholes? Or has natural erosion done a real number on your rental’s driveway surface? Something as minor as a water pipe leak in the yard could erode the soil under a driveway, leading to breaks, holes – and a major eyesore. Depending on how damaged your driveway is, you may be able to resurface it, or, in more severe cases, it may be time to replace the entire thing.

Options for Replacement

One of the more budget-friendly driveway materials is asphalt. But asphalt also doesn’t last as long as concrete and can start to show significant wear after just a few years. Suppose you catch the damage early, and it’s mainly on the surface. In that case, you may be able to add another layer to your existing driveway to restore its functionality and appearance. But if the troubles go deeper or affect the soil beneath the driveway, you may need to re-do the entire thing.

Spring or early fall is the best time to fix or replace an asphalt driveway. Outside temperatures play a big role in the quality of the asphalt as it is laid down, so it is important to choose a time when extreme temperatures won’t be a factor. Also, be sure to select a professional paving company with quality guarantees. A botched asphalt job can damage your property values instead of increasing them!

The up-front costs are typically higher, but concrete driveways often last longer. Concrete will still show signs of wear and tear over time, and you’ll need to decide when the time is right to address issues that have developed. One of the main problems with concrete is cracking and flaking. When visible cracks form, it’s a sign that the surface integrity is failing. Repairing the surface may be a good (although temporary) option for small cracks. You can even refinish the entire surface to restore a concrete driveway’s solid appearance.

However, if you have drainage issues or cracks wider than a quarter-inch, a patch job won’t work. Water will continue to seep under the concrete, freezing, thawing, and wreaking havoc on your driveway’s foundation. If you notice wide cracks, uneven surfaces, pooling water, or other concerns, it’s most likely time to replace all or part of the driveway.

Obligation for Landlords

In the end, landlord-tenant laws in most places state that it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep the property in a habitable condition. If your rental’s driveway is so damaged that it is unsafe to walk or drive on, it’s time to replace it. Holes and cracks can fill with ice and become safety hazards for your tenants, while potholes can damage their vehicles (and yours!).

Along with the rest of the property, it’s important to thoroughly monitor the condition of your rental property’s driveway, listen to tenant concerns, and take suitable action. It’s not worth the legal and financial risks to let unsafe conditions go unattended.


Knowing when to repair or replace a rental’s driveway can be challenging. But the good news is that you don’t have to make important decisions like these on your own. Instead, consider giving our Livermore property managers a call. We can help you budget for larger repairs and renovations your property needs and even handle the project itself. To learn more, contact us online.

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