With weather changing and more changes to come, there are many preparations homeowners can take to keep their property looking its best. With leaves beginning to fall, you might notice that they can easily stain your sidewalks.
Concrete stains are unsightly and annoying, but many of them can be fixed. In this article, we’ll talk about leaf stains, concrete cleaning, sealing, and what you can do to protect your concrete this autumn.
Do a Full Inspection Before Weather Changes
Start by performing a full inspection of your concrete to determine what needs to be cleaned. Inspect your cement driveways as well as cement walkways. Look for stains of all kinds, including dirt, algae, and mold. Areas where you’re likely to see stains include:
- Under flowerpots
- Under piles of leaves
- Beneath shrubs and bushes that hang over the sidewalk
- In areas that are always cast in shadow or are frequently hidden by organic materials
As you’re performing your inspection, as yourself: what needs to be cleaned? What needs to be fixed/changed? What can be prepared/protected from harsh weather?
Stains that occur because of mold, algae, and dirt are permanent unless they’re cleaned by a power washer. Make a note of all the places on your sidewalks where these stains can be found.
Are All Sidewalk Stains Permanent?
Not all cement stains need to be removed with a power washer. Leaf stains are an example of this. Wet leaves left on the sidewalk over a period will leave color on the sidewalk after they’re removed. These stains will fade gradually over time and do not need to be removed by a power washer.
How Can I Remove Stains from my Cement Walkways?
The method you use to remove stains from your cement walkways depends on the kind of material that caused the stains.
Driveway Car Oil Stains
Once oil binds to the concrete, it’s very difficult to get it off. The best way to address this problem is to identify the oil spill as soon as possible, then pour kitty litter or an oil-drying product onto the concrete.
Kitty litter can help absorb the oil spill and may get rid of the worst of it over time. However, once the oil has been absorbed into the concrete, it will be almost impossible to remove the stain fully.
Leaves produce natural stains that go away if they’re left there long enough. You don’t have to do anything to remove leaf stains.
The easiest way to remove mold and mildew staining your cement is to fill your power washer with mold and mildew siding detergent, so you can spray the sidewalk with that detergent. Allow the cleaner to soak into the sidewalk for a while, then spray it away.
How Can I Prepare My Cement for the Coming Seasons?
Changes in weather and moisture, freezing temperatures, snow, and ice can all do damage to your concrete. Salt can cause your concrete driveway and sidewalks to deteriorate.
Organic stains from mold can grow and deepen over a damp autumn season, while oil can soak into your concrete’s pores, from your car left parked in your driveway. There are many things you can do to prepare your concrete for the fall.
A pressure washer with stain remover detergents can remove stains, dirt, and grime from your concrete. Dirt and grime can hold moisture against your concrete, causing mold to grow, which ultimately contributes to the development of more stains.
Through cement cleaning, you can stop that development of mold and keep your concrete looking beautiful. Power washing is the only way to get rid of many stubborn stains.
Cement is a porous material that will absorb moisture and staining agents over time. Cement sealing closes off pores in your cement. Sealant is a kind of cement protection that prevents stains from seeping deep into your sidewalks and driveways.
Cement sealing can also offer some protection from the corroding effects of salt. However, if you’re planning to salt your sidewalks for the winter, the most effective way to protect your sidewalks is with a salt treatment.
Salt prevents ice from causing slips and falls in winter. Unfortunately, salt can corrode cement, causing cracks and gouges on its surface. Salt treatments protect sidewalks from de-icing salt, preventing the salt from causing such problems.
How Can These Preparations Better Protect My Cement?
A combination of concrete sealer and concrete cleaning helps keep your cement looking beautiful for many years. Taking these cement protection steps can improve the resiliency and expected service life of your cement.
Yes, protecting your cement with sealer and a pressure washer can protect your cement from future or further damage if you maintain a strict regimen of sealing and cleaning your concrete every fall. If you wait until your cement is already damaged, these methods will not fix the problem.
Cement can last 25 years or more if it’s properly cared for. Over the course of a normal spring and summer, your sidewalks may darken with stains and become dingy. Cleaning and sealing your concrete in fall, they’ll look fresh and beautiful once again.
Should I DIY or Hire Professionals?
It’s always best to hire professionals who have the right tools, the right skills, and the experience to do the job right. However, you can DIY your own sidewalk maintenance. Here’s the process:
- Power wash your sidewalks. Clean your sidewalks first to remove chemicals and stains.
- Add sealant. Once the concrete is clean, add protection like sealant or salt guard to protect the sidewalks. At Trotta’s Power Washing, we often use a salt guard specifically designed to close concrete pores, like a sealant, and help protect against salt damage or freeze-thaw cycles in the winter – like a salt guard.
Although you could do some of these steps yourself, the power washer you rent from a home improvement store may not be as effective or appropriate for the work you must do, and the sealant you buy from a home improvement center may not be as effective as the sealant used by professionals. It’s better to hire a professional and know that the work will be done properly the first time, every time.
Call Trotta’s Power Washing Today!
At Trotta’s Power Washing, we provide cement protection services for homeowners in Peninsula, OH. Call us to find out more about cement sealing.