4 Concrete Driveway Care Tips to Keep Your Driveway in Good Condition
Concrete is a versatile construction material that has many uses, including being used for residential concrete driveways. Many homeowners choose concrete for their driveways because it is also easy to maintain and care for to keep it in good condition.
However, concrete is exposed to the elements, weather, dust, dirt, grease, and other such materials that can attack the concrete and alter its appearance. Some of the most important things you can do to maintain your concrete driveway include:
#1. Seal Your Concrete Driveway
While concrete is a very durable material, you can get the most use out of your concrete driveway by ensuring it is sealed. Sealant should have been applied after the driveway was poured and the concrete cured.
To test whether your driveway needs to be sealed, pour some water on it. If the water beads up, as it does on a waxed car, then it is sealed. If the water does not bead and instead absorbs into the concrete, then either it was never sealed or the sealant has worn off.
There are two types of concrete sealants: dry sealants and wet sealants. The difference is how they dry after they are applied and the appearance they give your driveway. Dry sealants give your driveway a matte look whereas wet sealants will give it a more glossy finish.
In addition, dry sealants last almost twice as long as wet sealants. Wet sealants typically last between three and five years. Dry sealants last between six and ten years. When having your driveway resealed, it is recommended to have a second layer of sealant applied to ensure even coverage.
#2. Keep Your Concrete Driveway Clean
Another thing you can do to help maintain the appearance of your concrete driveway is to keep it clean. You should sweep it off with a broom weekly to remove dust, dirt, and other debris. Then, about once a month, clean your concrete driveway by spraying it off with a garden nozzle to remove stuck-on dirt and grime.
Can I Use Power Washing to Clean My Driveway?
The only time you should use a power washer on your concrete driveway is when you are preparing to reseal it or to remove difficult stains. The water pressure generated by a power washing will remove the sealant from the driveway.
#3. Remove Stains Immediately
Oil, gasoline, grease, rust, and other stains distract from your driveway’s overall appearance. You want to remove stains as soon as you notice them to prevent them from soaking into the concrete. The sealant does help to a certain extent and makes it easier to remove stains. However, the longer the stain sits on the sealant, the more it will erode the sealant and seep deeper into the concrete.
The best way to remove stains is to use the appropriate concrete surface cleaning product. For example, for oil and grease stains, you want to use a degreaser. Apply the degreaser, let it sit for a few minutes, and then use a scrub brush to remove the stain and rinse it off with fresh water.
For rust stains, you will need to use a concrete rust remover cleaner. Apply the rust remover according to the product’s directions. Then scrub the rust stain with a brunch and rinse off with clean water.
In situations where your driveway has a lot of stains or the stains have seeped deep into the concrete, then you will want to use a pressure washer. Apply the appropriate concrete cleaning chemicals first, and then pressure wash the stain and remove it. Just remember to reapply concrete sealant after the concrete dries.
#4. Have Cracks Repaired Quickly
Cracks can develop in concrete for various reasons, such as:
- Excessive Weight – If you put too much weight on your concrete driveway, it can crack over time. For instance, if you park a vehicle always on one side of the drive, you may notice cracks forming on the edge of the driveway.
- Temperature Changes – Hot and cold temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract. Over time, this can create cracks, especially if expansion and contraction joints were not made when the driveway was poured.
- Water and Ice – Water and ice can also cause concrete driveways to develop cracks. If the driveway is not sealed, water will absorb into the concrete. Should the concrete become overly saturated with water, it can create weak spots and lead to cracking. Should temperatures dip below freezing, as the water freezes ice expands and creates cracks.
- Tree Roots – If you have shrubs and trees near your concrete driveway, they can grow under the driveway and cause cracks to develop from shifting the ground beneath the driveway and pushing parts to the driveway upward.
When you notice cracks, it is vital to seal to maintain the integrity of the concrete. Different types of concrete crack fillers can be used. However, for problems with tree roots, it is best to have a professional concrete repair specialist assist with removing the tree roots and repairing the cracks.
Other Things You Can Do
Other things you can do to help maintain the curb appeal of your concrete driveway are:
- Ensure proper water drainage to prevent water pooling on the driveway.
- Avoid using de-icer products containing ammonium nitrates or ammonium sulfates, as they remove the sealant and cause scaling and spalling of the concrete.
As you can see, by using these concrete driveway care tips, you can maintain the curb appeal of your concrete driveway and have it last a very long time.
For help with residential concrete driveway repairs, cleaning, sealing, or replacements, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services in Houston at 713-254-1703 today!