Cracks in new concrete driveway. Options?

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"The saw joints ( I was mistakenly calling them expansion joints) were cut in on the third day. No way not to have the concrete truck on the compacted "
So you have no real expansion joints, just the saw joints? No wonder it cracked.
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On 6 Jun 2005 07:35:20 -0700, scott snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

It's not cracking from expansion. Sawed joints are all that's needed to control cracking.
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It's refreshing to see someone actually blaming something else for cracks in concrete rather than the ready-mix folks. I spent 20 years running a multi-plant ready mix business, and this was one of the biggest headaches I had to contend with. For some reason, people in this area blame the quality of the concrete itself for any cracks that occur, even when the concrete is poured on soft ground in hot weather with no curing and no joints.
You didn't mention the area you live in, but during this time of year, positive curing is usually necessary because of the rapid drying that will occur in hot weather. When concrete dries out, it no longer gains strength. "Curing" is not simply leaving it alone for a certain period of time, but is maintaining adequate moisture in the concrete for hydration to continue taking place. Curing can be by use of a spray-on curing compound or using sprinklers. Plastic sheeting also works, but discolors the concrete. When concrete isn't properly cured, it tends to be weaker and crack more easily. When cured properly, it develops the strength it was designed to have.
As for the cracking of the concrete, you're probably going to see more of it than what you have right now. If you have 4-inch concrete, it tends to crack every 10 to 15 feet over time. Ideally, contraction joints should be sawed or tooled every 10 feet to relieve the stresses from expansion and contraction. The cracks will then occur in straight lines that are less objectionable. This is rarely done properly in residential concrete.
What you got in your driveway and apron is probably not uncommon in your area. Contractors tend to do what everyone else is doing (and what they've always done), and they have to be forced into doing it any differently. I tried for years to get contractors to put in more joints, but was almost completely unsuccessful in doing it. I also made a concerted effort to promote positive curing of the concrete. I had a little success with curing, but the vast majority of residential concrete in this area is still not cured properly.
The cracks you describe as "major" are a cosmetic problem, not a structural problem. Cracking is a normal part of the concreting process and is to be expected. We can expect them and work with them by putting in sawed or tooled joints and curing the concrete to help minimize cracking, or we can just pour and let the concrete crack as it wants to. Either way, the cracking will occur, and an unplanned crack is no more harmful structurally than a planned crack.
I've tried several different ways to fix cracks that had occurred, but none of them worked satisfactorily. Demanding that the contractor tear it out and re-pour it is excessive since the utility of the drive and apron hasn't been compromised. Years ago, homeowners were just happy to have a hard surface to drive on. These days, our expectations are much higher, and we expect that the concrete will be an attractive addition to our landscape.
If you need to research this problem on your own, a good resource is http://www.concrete.com/Forum/Forum.htm There are also many other sources of information about concrete on the net.
Best wishes,
David
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