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Given the extensive shifting of my driveway caused by clay soil and intense summer heat, resulting in substantial cracks and exposed rebar with separation from the garage floor slab, I'm contemplating a DIY repair. Would it be recommended to remove the entire driveway expansion joint, insert a backer rod, and apply concrete seam sealer? Or can I just seal the areas that are damaged and not removed the expansion joint? Looking for insights on this specific approach and any additional steps or alternatives professionals might suggest.

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  • Are there dowels across the expansion joint bridging the two slabs? Expansive soils expand with moisture. Does a lot of water find its way down that joint? It seems like an area that would have roof protection.
    – popham
    Nov 20, 2023 at 4:35
  • There is roof protection, but if it rains a lot water can get in that area. The concern for me is water getting down the exposed areas and possibly damaging the foundation.
    – Tommy
    Nov 20, 2023 at 4:58

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Expansive soil grows with water, so preventing water from percolating down the expansion joint should prevent further damage. Removing the expansion joint material and caulking the joint sounds like a good plan to keep water out of there. Be sure to patch the spalled concrete before caulking. And sealing the concrete is a good idea also, if you haven't already.

I assume that there are dowels spanning across the joint or else I can't rationalize the spalling concrete. Don't sever the doweling. Remove just enough expansion joint material to facilitate caulking.

You might also double check your grading going away from the structure to make sure that water at the edges wants to run away from the area.

Unfortunately expansive soils also have frost heave potential, so you've probably got more damage coming this winter if you're in the wrong climate. Once it dries out, however, then frost heave shouldn't be a continuing problem either.

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