So, really, can water crack a driveway?
Yes. And water can create the Grand Canyon. Both of those things are true if the same thing happens over and over for long enough.
This is the driveway in question.
I saw the problem as soon as I pulled up to the house.
Why is the driveway cracking only on one side, and toward the garage and house?
The short answer - water.
But from where?
Why would water cause settlement to happen in only one area?
Looking at the entire house the answer comes alive.
The downspout on the front corner of the house had been altered. By whom I don't know, but altered.
Where it used to discharge at the front corner of the house, where it could have been extended away from the house, it was changed to discharge directly into the gutter.
Not only was that too much water going into one small space in one small gutter, there was a large tree overhanging the front of the house.
The gutter was obviously full of debris because at the point where the downspout hits that gutter it was completely blocked and clogged.
Water was overflowing, and apparently had been for some time.
Where the overflow water hits and has been hitting is quite obvious.
Given enough time that will erode the soil, and weaken the edge and corner of the driveway. And that had been happening!
Obviously eroding soil will have an effect on everything nearby. Even the conduit for the front yard light junction box was settling and had pulled away from the box, exposing the wire.
My recommendation: water affects everything! It must be controlled. It must be directly properly. It must have sufficient capture and discharge tubing (gutters and downspouts in this case) and be free to deal with the amount of water that can happen. And all of that will work together for the good of a property, and not the detriment.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560