One of the greatest benefits of having a concrete driveway installed is the minimal maintenance or routine care that it will require over its lifetime.
However, no driveway paving material, concrete included, is truly maintenance-free. Below are a few tips for preserving the appearance and overall life of your concrete driveway.
Keep Your Driveway Clean
The essential step in maintaining an appealing concrete driveway is the regular cleaning of debris, fallen leaves, and dirt from its surface. Only use concrete-friendly chemicals to clean your driveway, or you may even opt for a power wash to remove debris and moss buildup.
Grease spills, gasoline, or oil stains should be removed right away; otherwise, they may cause an unattractive discoloration. If any concrete discoloration does occur, using certain cleaning chemicals or a simple power wash will remove the majority of the stains.
Keep the Surface Intact
Avoid using sharp blades (e.g, ice chippers) or dropping sharp objects on your concrete drive’s surface to prevent cracks and minor chips on the driveway.
When using a snowblower, raise its blades so as to keep them from scratching the driveway’s surface. Also, use plastic shovels rather than metal shovels when removing dirt and snow.
Seal or Re-seal the Driveway to Prevent Cracking
If you’re getting your concrete driveway done by high-quality contractors like Kane Construction, they will likely be finished off using a specialist sealant following the pouring and setting of the concrete, to prevent stains.
Unfortunately, this sealant can wear down as time passes on. Depending on the traffic and weather conditions that the material (concrete) is exposed to, you may frequently require a re-seal to preserve its appearance.
Ideally, the sealant needs to be re-applied on a concrete driveway after every few years to keep it clean and protected from harsh elements, traffic, and general wear.
Make sure to always apply commercial sealers according to the manufacturer’s directives – these can be quite expensive so we recommend buying sealant in bulk, you can always store the sealer for next time. Also, before applying the sealant, perform a power wash to remove any dirt, fallen leaves, and debris from the surface.
If holes or cracks do appear on your concrete driveway, ensure that you patch them as soon as possible. Remove loose materials using a masonry chisel and clear out the debris prior to applying a crack filler or patching compound.
After the crack filler dries, seal the entire pathway. Ensuring that your concrete driveway is level, smooth, and free from cracks (holes) may also help minimize tripping accidents when people visit your home
Avoid Using De-icing Chemicals or Salting Cement
Avoid the application of de-icers on concrete driveway surfaces during winter months, as it can lead to surface damage, including spalling and scaling. New concrete drives are even more vulnerable to harmful salts.
De-icing chemicals force the thawing or refreezing of moisture in the concrete causing damage to the structure. Cracks may even begin to develop. Avoid using products with ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate because they chemically attack the concrete.
While rock salts such as calcium chloride or sodium chloride cause less damage, they corrode metal and pose a huge risk to vegetation. Using sand for traction may be a better alternative.
Also, instead of salt, use a shovel or snowblower to remove snow. You may also use alternatives such as sand, alfalfa meal, kitty litter, or coffee grounds to make concrete surfaces less slippery. To melt the ice, consider applying sugar beet juice on the surface, which is capable of lowering the ice’s melting point and is considered effective even at temperatures as low as -20°F.
Reduce Water on the Driveway
Clear a 2-3-inch strip near the edges of your driveway to create a runoff area for water and snow to reduce their chances of penetrating into the surface. Also, make sure that downspouts always empty into the yard instead of onto your driveway.
A driveway is one of the most used surfaces in a home, but they are often overlooked until they crack or stain. Providing your concrete driveway with the attention it deserves through cleaning and making prompt repairs will not only lengthen its lifespan and attractiveness but also save you money on costly repairs in the long run.