A concrete driveway can be an excellent choice for the exterior of your home. Concrete is a durable substance that can offer years of use without requiring many repairs. Proper maintenance is the key to a concrete driveway that adds function and aesthetic quality to your home. We have the tips you need to keep your concrete driveway in top shape for as long as possible.
Sealing the Surface
A new concrete driveway should be sealed after construction to protect the surface. A sealant should be reapplied regularly – maybe once a year – to keep the protection going strong. Some types of sealants need not be reapplied as often. Check the instructions on the sealant used or talk to a concrete contractor about the best schedule for sealing your driveway. In many cases, a new coat may be applied after the surface is pressure washed. Sealant comes in a clear or tinted solution, depending on the preference of the homeowner.
Cleaning the Driveway
Driveways are subject to staining from oil and gasoline. Fresh oil stains can often be removed using plain dish soap and a scrubbing brush. Avoid wire brushes, since these can scratch and erode concrete surfaces. Apply a bit of soap and use some elbow grease to pick up the stain. You can rinse the area with your garden hose or apply kitty litter to absorb the oil and soap for easy disposal. The latter method is usually preferable for larger stains to avoid contaminating the lawn or street. Older stains may require the use of a pressure washer to get them out completely.
Ice and Snow Removal
Remove snow from the surface of your driveway as soon as possible, because the freezing and thawing process can cause cracking in your concrete. Avoid using de-icing chemicals, since the chemicals can penetrate the concrete surface and cause damage underneath. While rock salt may not harm your driveway directly, it can harm vegetation in your yard and corrode metal. The best way to add traction to an icy driveway is through the use of kitty litter or sand. If you are resealing your driveway in the fall, you will go far in protecting your concrete from the harmful effects of a snowy winter.
The average driveway is equipped to handle the weight of the average car, minivan or SUV. It is not constructed to hold large moving trucks or vans. Do not allow larger vehicles to park directly on your driveway. Instead, have them park in the street to avoid undue pressure and possible cracking to your concrete.
In some cases, regular maintenance of concrete driveways can be handled by a concrete contractor. The advantage of using a professional is peace of mind in knowing that your driveway is cared for on a regular schedule with the best products available. Check with concrete contractors in your area to see if they provide routine maintenance for concrete driveways and keep the entry of your home in top condition for many years to come.