A concrete driveway is one of those things which you might not notice about a house right away. Yet, it becomes impossible to ignore if it is filled with cracks, potholes, and unsightly fissures. For a tidy and attractive ‘front of property’ look, your driveway needs to be in tip top condition. However, the real question is, how do you go about maintaining concrete anyway?
On the whole, concrete should not require all that much maintenance. It is strong, long lasting, and built to withstand a great deal of pressure and traffic. It is not common for newly laid driveways to need a lot of attention, but aging concrete does require a little more care. The following tips and tricks will help you maintain your driveway year in and year out.
Pressure Wash Regularly
The frequency with which you pressure wash your driveway will depend entirely on how intensely you use it, whether your vehicle is likely to leave a lot of dirt and residue, and how much traffic passes by your house (the more cars pass by, the more dirt is likely to make it on to the drive). With a pressure washing tool, cleaning should be extremely quick and easy. If your driveway is heavily stained, you might have to call in a pressure washing specialist.
Stop Liquids from Pooling
If possible, prevent liquids from pooling on the driveway at all costs. As long as it has been built with a slight incline, you should have no trouble with rainwater, but excess oil might present a problem. You need to soak it up quickly with anything suitably absorbent; from cat litter to sawdust or even cornmeal.
Never Use De-Icing Products
You should never use chemical de-icers on a concrete driveway, because they will degrade its surface and weaken its integrity. If you driveway has a tendency to get very slippery during the winter months, you can make it safer to walk on by sprinkling sand across the top. This is a much more effective way to deal with ice and it will not cause any damage to the concrete.
Change Oil Elsewhere
If you can, try to change the oil in your car somewhere that is not on the driveway. If you change it elsewhere, you will never have to worry about stains or removing pooled oil from a concrete surface. For most vehicle owners, it is perfectly fine to perform maintenance on the sidewalk, outside of the property – it is still good manners to wash away any oil spills before you finish up and pack away.
Eradicate Pesky Weeds
The growth and spread of weeds and tree roots will only ever cause problems for a concrete driveway if left completely unchecked for some time. So, as long as you keep up with regular garden maintenance and prevent plants from snaking up under the concrete or growing through gaps and cracks, this should not be much of an issue. You should never underestimate the power of wandering roots – they might be slow, but they can crack sidewalks and highways if given the chance.
Repair Cracks Fast
The bottom line is that all concrete wears, after a time, and the aging process can lead to the appearance of cracks and fissures on the surface of a driveway. The best way to deal with this is to repair the cracks as they become visible; do not forget that even the tiniest crack in concrete will expand and widen if left unchecked. It is especially important to repair cracks quickly in colder climates, because water might enter the fissures and freeze – this puts the driveway at risk of further aberrations.
Resurface If Necessary
You can, of course, go back to basics and have your driveway entirely resurfaced if it is severely degraded or suffering from serious signs of age. This should not cost too much, because you are only adding a new layer to the top of the concrete – once smoothed over and laid properly, this is like giving a driveway a face-lift. It is important not to let cracks become too deep before deciding to resurface, because the more damage there is, the more extensive the repair job will have to be.concrete driveway