How to Maintain Your Concrete Driveway
So, you’ve got a beautiful, brand-new concrete patio or driveway. What now? Well, once you’ve finished admiring the view, it’s time to think about keeping it that way.
Maintaining that “curb appeal” and keeping your driveway structurally safe and functional is as simple as maintaining your concrete driveway on a regular basis—but what do we mean by maintenance? Read on to find out!
But I Thought Concrete Was Maintenance Free!
There’s no doubt that, as a material, concrete is versatile, durable, and capable of handling high levels of compressive forces. It’s also true that a concrete driveway will keep its appearance and integrity for longer than one made of other materials such as asphalt or gravel.
However, just because you don’t need to care for it as often as other materials, that doesn’t mean that concrete is completely hands-off. Like anything in life, you need to keep looking after it so that it keeps on being useful to you.
The advantages to properly maintaining a concrete surface are twofold. First, caring for your concrete will greatly extend the life of your driveway, meaning that it will last longer before you have to consider patching, resurfacing, or replacing it. This, in turn, means lower costs for you in the long run.
Second, a well-designed concrete driveway looks good. It’s neat and tidy and, whether or not you’ve opted for a decorative design, it can add significant value to your property and increase your enjoyment of it. With regular maintenance, you’ll always have an entrance to your home that you’re proud of.
Prevention: The Best Cure
The main enemies to a new concrete driveway are cracks and stains. Unfortunately, when they start to appear, there’s not much you can do to stop them. That’s why it’s best to take action and protect the surface of your driveway before anything goes wrong.
Here are a few tips to save you from a big headache down the line—an hour or so each week is all you need to get started!
A buildup of debris like leaves and dirt can not only stain your driveway but also increase the wear unevenly. It might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people don’t clean their driveway until the last second.
Don’t let that be you: Take the time to regularly hose down and sweep your driveway to keep it clear and clean. If you have access to a high-pressure water gun, use that, although be sure to spray all parts of the area equally.
Stay Off the Edges
One of the common parts of the driveway that starts to show the most wear is on the edges. While concrete can handle heavy loads with ease, if it is subjected to repeated pressure the sides may chip or become uneven.
A chip can turn into a crack quite quickly, so when you’re parking your car only do it right in the middle of the driveway where the concrete is strongest. Likewise, don’t take shortcuts when going in and out of the driveway, as it will create a sudden impact as you move from one type of surface to another.
Erosion may create some weird and stunning rock formations in nature, but you don’t want it happening right outside your home. Given time, water will find and deepen any cracks or imperfections in your concrete driveway, turning them into bigger issues.
Unless you want your smooth surface to turn into the Grand Canyon, you have to ensure that water doesn’t pool for any length of time on your driveway. Most professional concrete contractors will dig subtle trenches on either side of the driveway to encourage the run-off of liquids. If yours doesn’t have these, you’ll need to dig them yourself—or get someone who knows what they’re doing.
Avoid the Use of Chemicals
When faced with an unsightly stain or when cleaning in general, it can be tempting to use detergent or a cleaning formula to help you out. Sadly, concrete doesn’t respond well to much except water cleaning, and many chemicals and minerals are corrosive to concrete, causing pits and roughness. These include:
- Calcium chloride
- Sodium Chloride
- Hydrogen sulfide
If you see any of these listed in your cleaning product, steer clear. Better yet, just use water!
Dealing with Accidents
Accidents do happen, from time to time. An inadvertent spill can stain the concrete, or you might damage the surface while you’re doing a DIY project nearby. Don’t lose heart—the important thing is to step back, assess the damage, and treat the accident promptly.
For spills, the best course of treatment is to cover the area with kitty litter, which you can then sweep up once it’s absorbed the liquid. Hose down the area and repeat until you have removed as much of the spill as possible.
If you’ve damaged the surface with heavy machinery or falling objects, you might want to consider a quick patch job with more concrete. To make sure it’s level and uniform with the rest of your driveway—and if you’re not confident handling the job yourself—call in your local contractor to help you out.
Resurfacing and Resealing
Time has a way of degrading all surfaces, no matter what you do. The point of maintenance isn’t to prevent this degradation completely but to slow it down so that your driveway will last for much longer before you have to replace it.
Replacing a driveway entirely can be a costly job, but, if there’s no structural damage to the driveway, you just can consider resurfacing it. This will renew the look and cover up any holes or stains, giving your driveway new life at a fraction of the cost.
In Case of Cold
Those of us living in Texas don’t normally have to worry about extreme cold, but, with the climate getting wilder and wilder every year, snow and ice on your driveway is a looming possibility and can cause their own fresh set of problems.
If you do have snow and want to clear it off, only use a plastic shovel and be gentle with your scraping, as excess force (or a metal tool) will damage the surface. Ice should be covered with sand for grip and safety—not salt, which will corrode concrete. Leave the sand there through the winter, just in case, and sweep it up when the season’s over.
A Driveway You Don’t Have to Worry About
Maintaining a driveway might seem like a lot of time and effort, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Any time you put in will be rewarded further down the line with a driveway that will truly last.
A professionally laid driveway won’t need much care to keep it looking great and will provide all-important value to your home for years. Whether it’s patio services or a fuss-free driveway, if you need a concrete contractor in Houston, contact Cross Construction Services—CCS Concrete Driveways—today at (713) 254-1703. With years of expertise, unbiased advice, and free estimates on all work, we can make sure you get the best value for your dollar—and a driveway that you’ll be proud to look after.