For driveways, concrete is the material that requires the least amount of maintenance, but it is also the most expensive. Homeowners want to take care of your investment and keep it looking nice for years to come.
To protect your driveway from when the concrete is first laid, you should plan for gutters to drain away from it to decrease the amount of water on the surface. We also recommend having trees or bushes with roots going under the driveway removed to prevent them from pushing up and creating cracks.
- Patch damaged areas in the concrete,
- Seal the driveway to prevent cracking,
- Remove snow carefully,
- Avoid parking on it,
- Keep the concrete clean.
5 Important Ways to Maintain a Concrete Driveway
Going forward, a bit of regular maintenance will help your driveway last longer. All you need is to dedicate a few hours of work each season and follow a few easy maintenance steps.
Patch Problem Areas in the Concrete
If the concrete is already cracked or there are places where pieces have broken off, it’s important to treat them before water and winter weather can make problems worse. Prevent further damage by filling cracks and holes with a concrete patching compound.
First, sweep and clean the driveway with a power washer to remove dirt and debris. Next, apply the patching material and give it time to dry. Finally, apply a coat of concrete sealant as described below.
Cracks in the expansion joints between the sections of concrete can be just as problematic if they’re not sealed. To treat these fissures, clean out the joint thoroughly then apply silicone caulk for concrete to keep water from seeping inside.
Seal the Driveway to Prevent Cracking
Concrete is a very strong material; it’s ideal for driveways. But one simple element can spell disaster for concrete. If water is able to enter into the concrete, it will freeze when the temperatures drop during the winter and expand. Through this process, cracks spread quickly. They can become noticeably longer and wider in just one Ohio winter.
Now is the best time to start preparing for winter! Prevent cracking on your driveway by applying concrete sealant this fall. Even if the driveway has never been sealed before, applying it now will protect the concrete and keep water from causing damage.
First, you should power wash the driveway to get rid of any dirt, tree sap and other grime from the surface. Next, treat tough grease and oil stains concrete and asphalt cleaning product which you can find at your local hardware store. Finally, apply the sealant of your choice. High-quality commercial sealers are available at hardware stores and building supply outlets.
- Dry-look seal is more expensive, but it’s absorbed into the concrete ensuring longer-lasting protection – up to 10 years.
- Wet-look seal is less expensive and has the advantage of preventing grease and oil stains, but must be reapplied every 3 to 5 years.
Careful Snow Removal
It can be convenient to use salt or chemical de-icing products in the winter, but these can actually damage a concrete driveway. In particular, using deicers often leads to scaling and spalling of the concrete because the ice melts and refreezes. Newly laid concrete is also more likely to be damaged by salt or chemical products, so it’s especially important to avoid these during the first winter.
For traction, you can sprinkle sand or cat litter without worrying that it will harm a concrete driveway. And for snow removal, it’s better to use a plastic shovel or snowblower. Be sure not to push down as the snowblower passes over the driveway to avoid scraping the surface of the concrete. Also, it’s best not to use other sharp tools when trying to break up compact snow or ice on the driveway.
Concrete is strong; it’s true, but it’s not unbreakable. Avoid putting excessive stress on the edges of the driveway where the concrete is weaker. Whenever possible, park away from the edge of the driveway and ensure that heavy equipment and construction vehicles do the same.
Keep it Clean
Oil, gas and grease can be absorbed up to ¼ inch into concrete and stain it permanently. To prevent stains from ruining the clean look of your driveway, they should be treated as soon as possible, even if the concrete has been sealed.
If the liquid is still on the surface of the concrete, remove the stain by first sprinkling sawdust or cat litter on it. Let it sit for a day, if possible, to completely absorb the oil or grease. Then, clean any discolored spots on the concrete by pressure washing and applying specialized grease-cutting, biodegradable detergents.
Related article: Essential Guide To Maintaining Pavers.
Trotta’s Power Washing Can Help
Looking for some help with seasonal maintenance? Trotta’s Power Washing provides a full range of residential services, including concrete washing and sealing, pressure washing and paver restoration. Located in Peninsula, OH, we’re your neighborhood partner for home improvement projects. Call Trotta’s today at (330) 915-3754 or request a free quote online.