Have you recently installed a concrete driveway for your home as a way to increase curb appeal and interest? Concrete driveways are incredibly popular with residential homes thanks to the fact that they look so striking, are durable, and tend to be less expensive than some other high-end materials.
They are also highly customizable. But for all the advantages, they aren’t completely maintenance-free. Sure, they may require less maintenance than some other materials, but there are still some essential maintenance tips that will keep your concrete driveway looking fresh and new.
Make Sure You Give It a Deep Cleaning
The first tip is to clean your driveway. About once a year you want to be sure you give it a good deep cleaning using mild soap and water. This will do an excellent job of getting rid of surface dirt, dust, grime, and even some minor staining. If you have salt build-up on the driveway, you want to be sure you can wash this away as soon as possible.
Experts also urge caution if you plan on using a power washer, as you need to be careful using it on any cracks in the driveway – you don’t want to make them worse. A very common mistake is to think that this tool is completely safe because concrete is very durable.
In reality, power washers are much more powerful than you might think. They will keep chipping away at the driveway and there is always the possibility water will remain in the area. This would keep eroding the cement in time.
Do Not Use Any Sharp Blades on the Driveway
For those who live in colder climates where snow and ice are prevalent during the winter, be sure not to use any sharp blades on the driveway as these can cause damage to the surface. If you plan on using a snowblower, it recommends that you raise the blades so they aren’t actually touching the driveway.
A much better option would be to use shovels, preferably not made out of metal. This can still get the job done and the driveway would be protected at the same time. And the great news is that such a shovel can easily be found in any industry online store or hardware store.
Regular Sealing Will Be Necessary
One of the reasons you may have gone with a concrete driveway in the first place is the durability it offers. This is an incredibly strong surface, but it’s not immune to all types of damage. One of the biggest negatives of concrete is the fact that it is porous. What this means is that any liquid that pools on the surface can also start to penetrate it, which can lead to staining.
The best way to protect the integrity of your concrete driveway, and protect it from staining, is to apply a sealant. Ideally, the first concrete sealer you apply should be 30 days after the concrete is installed. Moving forward, this should be seen as regular driveway maintenance and it should be applied every three to five years.
Remember that the sealant manufacturer will tell you exactly how long the sealant will protect the concrete driveway. You will know when you need to re-apply sealant and you should follow these indications to the letter.
Fix Cracks When They Happen
The final tip is to give attention to any cracks that develop as soon as you possibly can. If you ignore them, they can get much bigger, becoming quite an eyesore and making the driveway uneven. If it is a small crack, you will likely be able to repair it yourself. You can check your local hardware store for crack repair tools and products.
Even the smallest of cracks should be fixed fast because they would allow water to enter. Then, the liquid would go deeper or would just destroy the concrete. Since you can never control when it will rain, the best thing you can do is to fix those cracks as soon as possible. If you cannot, try to at least cover the driveway for extra protection.
By using all of these tips and making sure you stay on top of regular driveway maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your concrete in ‘like-new condition and extend its lifespan. As you can see, the trick is to act as fast as possible when something goes wrong and you have to make sure that you respect a strict maintenance plan.
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