Profile picture for KeithNg7

Not happy with the driveway in a new home build... What are my options?

Hello, 

I am in the process of buying a new home.  After seeing the progress, I am unhappy with the aesthetics of the driveway.  I have two issues with it.  The first is that the left side of the driveway is higher than the right side.  Second on the right side there is a pronounced slope from the garage to about 1/3 of the ways down, then it flattens, then it slopes again until the sidewalk.  I have a picture below to try to show it but in my opinion it looks far more pronounced in person.
 


I spoke to the superintendent and he stated that was the only way they could have made the driveway while still being under 'code'.  I believe they tried their best but I know it will always bug me.  

I signed a contract already since it was a new home build and I am wondering what my options are?  I know I can bring it up during my walk-thru but I don't know if that will do anything since the superintendent already stated they couldn't do anything about it.
  • June 24 - Elk Grove
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Answers (11)

Profile picture for KeithNg7
Thank you everyone for the replies. 

 Hamp Yonce - I see the stains and I didn't consider that originally. The patch behind the column is just bark, I don't believe it is a French drain but I don't know for sure and I will ask the builder. The diagram you made makes me wonder if that section will just accumulate the water run off, especially if there isn't a French drain system there.  

 Andrew - the other homes of the same model in the area have a smaller slope from left to right. None of them have the slope on the right side of the driveway near the garage. Of course there is a slope from top to bottom. The slope of this lot is more pronounced from left to right compared to the other homes.
  • June 24
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Wow, you are very observant! If you don't like the driveway you can always hire a contractor to take it out and replace it. There are some very nice upgrades you can get on driveways. It's doubtful the builder will do this for you.
  • June 24
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if the downspout output follows the red arrow, I'd say a repour of that quadrant was warranted, at least. The interesting part of the photo is the path of the light stain on the driveway (my added white rectangle). Makes it appear that the slope toward the road may be strong enough to counter the slope toward the porch. Is that a pervious patch behind the column, between the porch and driveway? That looks like trouble, unless it is a french drain entry, or something.

  • June 24
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The slope is probably for proper water runoff, believe me, proper runoff is WAY more important than aesthetics! You would need to check your purchase contract to see what options you may have regarding cancelling for something like this. What do the other driveways look like? Is yours comparable to the others?

There is no perfect house but it is possible to find the perfect house for you!  : )

Good luck,
  • June 24
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You can get out there with a garden hose and see where the water runs. If it does not drain properly then that is something that the builder should repair.  I'm curious how does your driveway compare to others in he neighborhood?  The aesthetics aren't really something that can typically be argued but functionality and conformity to the neighborhood should be fair game.
  • June 24
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Profile picture for sunnyview
You need to see if the local Code can help you get if fixed. The super telling you they "can't fix it" is just a way of making you go away. Most supers are like online dates or politicians, they lie.

ALL concrete can be chipped and repoured. The question is can you make the builder do that under the Code, the contract you signed or out of their desire not to have an unhappy, nagging owner.

Get a concrete contractor out for an opinion on how to fix it and if the level is off enough to warrant replacement. New houses are not perfect, but if you can convincingly argue function, you may be able to get it redone.
  • June 24
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A perfect house is a pipe dream. A house that works properly, and that was built according to the accepted plans, is all you're legally entitled to. The aesthetics of the completed product aren't usually addressed in the contracts. Further, I would surmise that concrete driveways are possibly the most litigated aspect of new home construction. Been there, done that! I promise you there is no such thing as a perfect concrete driveway.
 
  • June 24
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Is it possible that the code they had to meet was a straight on connection with the walkway to the front door?   
  • June 24
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Profile picture for KeithNg7
Hamp Yonce, 

I didn't see it personally but they stated to me that they tested the water run off and it is working as intended (meaning the water does run off properly and that puddles do not form). I will ask to see this in person during my walk-thru if that is possible.

My biggest concerns are aesthetics, puddles and when driving into the garage.  I feel that I will always feel a 'bump' when driving into the garage.  I don't think this would be too noticeable if I drove in slowly or if I don't have a car that is very low to the ground.

I guess I am just being very picky as I want the house to be perfect.
  • June 24
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Have you seen this area during, or right after, a good rain. It looks like you may have puddling issue between the driveway and the porch area. It also looks as if rain may run back into garage. The slopes are really hard to measure by what you can see in the pic, though. That would be a legit issue.

The aesthetics argument may not be enough to force any remedy. If the driveway works, but looks horrible you'll likely lose. If it looks fabulous, but works poorly, you'd likely prevail.
  • June 24
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You might want to pose your question to an attorney.
  • June 24
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