Advice On How To Maintain A New Concrete Driveway
One of the best decisions you can make is to pave your driveway with concrete. Concrete is a long lasting, all weather, paving material. With the right contractor, you can even have it custom decorated to match the overall house color theme. The average lifespan of a concrete driveway is 30 years, if it is well maintained; you can increase this lifespan significantly. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your concrete driveway.
Keep it clean
One of the first things that your visitors will interact with on your property is your driveway. Depending on your property’s layout, your driveway may also be visible from the adjoining street so it needs to be clean to improve the overall aesthetic appeal of your property. The most common naturally-occurring dirt on your driveway will be dust, mildew, mold, and mud (during the rainy season). If you park your car on the driveway you might also notice oil, grease and gasoline spills.
The first step to maintaining a clean driveway is to minimize the spillage on your driveway. If you work on your car at home, use a tarpaulin under the car to collect any spillage before they touch the driveway. Also use absorbent materials such as saw dust and cat litter to soak up any spillages before they are absorbed by your driveway.
Power-wash your driveway with a high pressure hose at least once a week to ensure that dirt does not settle on your driveway. If you let spillages settle on your driveway, they might get absorbed and become permanent stains.
Keep your driveway sealed
The biggest cause of concrete damage is water. When water gets absorbed by your concrete driveway, it expands and contracts due to temperature changes. This is further compounded during winter months when it freezes and thaws. This causes the structural integrity of your concrete driveway to crumble leading to cracks and divots. When sealant is applied on your driveway, it reduces its porosity and prevents water from being absorbed.
There is a wide variety of sealing materials for your concrete driveway depending on the weather patterns on your area, personal preferences, and your budget. Consult with a concrete driveway contractor to find out which sealant will suit your needs. Sealant also stain-proofs your driveway as it prevents spills from being absorbed and it can also improve the overall aesthetic appeal of your driveway. Depending on the sealant that you have, you will need to regularly reseal your driveway. It is recommended that you reapply sealant every two years or so for best results.
Repair small cracks as they appear
While concrete is a generally resilient paving material, when small cracks appear, they usually spread fast. You need to vigilantly monitor your driveway for any signs of damage. Once you identify a damaged area, you need to contact a concrete driveway contractor to professionally repair it for you to avoid any further damage.
Understand (and respect) the load limits of your driveway
All concrete driveways are not created equal. If you worked with a professional concrete driveway contractor, then you are probably aware of the load limit of your driveway. If the concrete mixture used was suitable for small vehicles, you should not allow trucks and other heavy commercial vehicles to use (or park) on your driveway. If you regularly have vehicles that exceed your load limit, then your driveway will get damaged.
Avoid using de-icing chemicals or salt for snow removal
If you have a concrete driveway, then you need to be careful with the snow removal tactics that you employ during winter. The rapid melting action of de-icing chemicals, and salt, put a lot of strain on your driveway. This freeze and thaw cycle has the effect of corroding your concrete driveway, leading to damage. This is especially pronounced when you have an unsealed driveway where the melted snow is absorbed by the concrete and re-freezes later. The best way to handle a snowy concrete driveway is to pour sand on it to improve the grip and sweep the sand away later.
Be careful when working on (or around) your driveway
While most of the damage to your driveway will occur due to age-related wear and tear, you should also be wary of the damage that you can cause due to carelessness on your part. When working with heavy machinery that can damage your driveway, take extra precautions such as using a thick padding material to limit the damage on your driveway. Don’t drop heavy items on your driveway. Avoid using metal shovels on your driveway so that you don’t chip the concrete surface. Basically, be careful to avoid causing any physical damage to your driveway.