Concrete is a great choice for a driveway. It may be more expensive but it is worth the investment: it is durable, works well for warm climates and offers more options when it comes to aesthetics (you can choose from a selection of several finishes, colors and patterns). It lasts longer too and you can enjoy it for decades!
If you opt for a concrete driveway and you wish to have it for as long as possible, you need to know how to properly maintain it. Here are some tips to help you with concrete driveway maintenance.
Cleaning and Stain Removal
Proper maintenance starts with cleaning. Cleaning your concrete driveway occasionally is a must to keep it in good shape. Know that exposure to the elements and any debris can compromise the quality of the concrete, so you need to take time to clean your driveway.
How often should you clean? Frequency of cleaning will depend on two things: weather and vehicle traffic. The latter is a more important consideration as it contributes to the staining of the concrete. Know that as durable as concrete is, it is porous and easily absorbs fluids. This is why you need to take care of stains as soon as possible. Of course, tire tracks can also be a problem. Hence, if you have more vehicle traffic, you will need to clean the driveway more often.
The most recommended way of cleaning a concrete driveway is with a power washer. If you don’t have one, you don´t need to buy it as this kind of equipment can be rented. As effective as this cleaning tool is, it can hurt more than help if used improperly; too much pressure can strip off the top layer of the concrete and expose its aggregate layer. To prevent this from happening, make sure that the distance between the nozzle and the surface is a feet or more, then clean in a sweeping motion. Don’t forget to clean the driveway before pressure washing simply get a broom and sweep any dirt and debris.
Fresh oil is much easier to clean on a concrete driveway than old oil because the liquid has not yet seeped in. Something you should keep in your garage to absorb freshly spilled oil is kitty litter.
Concrete sealers play an important role in concrete driveway maintenance. These add to the lifespan of your driveway by decreasing wear and tear that results from vehicle traffic, therefore reducing cracks. Also, it makes the surface less likely to be stained. Thus, you must keep your driveway sealed for it to last longer.
How often should you reseal your concrete driveway? Again, this will depend on weather and vehicle traffic. You should consider sealing as soon as the surface finish shows wear, but the general rule is to reseal every two years. If you need to reseal your driveway, simply visit hardware stores or concrete material providers. These establishments sell good quality commercial cleaners that you can use. If in doubt, ask your contractor for suggestions.
Lastly, careful treatment is also important when it comes to concrete driveway maintenance. Just like cleaning and sealing, this guarantees you will have a good quality driveway for as long as 50 years.
Keep in mind that while concrete is durable, a residential driveway is not designed to handle the weight of heavier vehicles as well as construction equipment. The concrete is more likely to crack with that kind of weight.
During winter, shovel as frequently as possible to prevent water from being absorbed into the concrete. Water that seeps into the driveway can freeze during winter and therefore cause cracks. If you are to remove snow, choose a plastic shovel instead of a metal one. Metal shovels, particularly those with worn or jagged edges, may damage the surface. Exercise much care with plowing, too.