How to Maintain a Concrete Driveway
Estimated reading time 5 minutes
If you have recently had a concrete driveway laid or are considering it as part of a residential or commercial surfacing project, the question of maintenance has probably reared its head a few times. How should you clean it? How will you repair cracks? What happens if you spill fuel on it?
All fair questions and totally understandable, so in this edition of our blog, we cover all the tips so that your concrete driveway can deliver the longevity it should.
Cleaning a concrete driveway
Your driveway will only ever look its best if the cleaning of it is kept up to date. Sweeping when leaves or debris are on it or jet washing when stains appear all help keep your driveway in its prime condition.
Day-to-day dirt can very easily make a concrete driveway look very dirty so a daily sweep will always keep it looking good but we understand that time isn’t always on your side to get these things done daily. Therefore, you can leave a few days between each sweep if you prefer. There is no set rule, so ultimately, it is what your time allows and what you fancy doing. Just be aware that the longer you leave it, the bigger the task! Also, don’t opt for a wire brush when sweeping, you could damage your drive! Just use a normal broom.
Petrol and other substances can stain concrete which soon makes all the wrong impressions on your new driveway. In some instances, petrol, oil or other liquids can even penetrate the surface causing damage. Surface stains and liquids may be cleared with a pressure washer but for some substances, you may need to be a bit more thorough.
If you notice a chemical has spilt on the driveway, clean it right away. A degreaser and warm water for example can be extremely beneficial in getting stubborn chemicals off the surface without needing to revert to a pressure washer. Just like when sweeping, don’t use a wire brush when applying the degreaser and hot water, opt for a regular scrubbing brush to help protect it.
Seal the driveway
When a concrete driveway is laid, it will normally have a sealant added to it. These sealants help prevent weather damage and keep your driveway in its best possible condition. These sealants wear down though so it is important to keep on top of a programme of sealing the surface as and when required. The frequency of sealing your concrete driveway will vary on the amount of traffic it gets as well as its exposure to the elements. On average you should look to seal it every 3 years but this could be reduced to 2 years in areas of high use or extended to as much as 5 when the driveway is hardly used at all and is rarely exposed to hot or wet weather.
Refrain from de-icer
When the weather gets colder and ice or snow starts to build up, it is the general rule to hunt for the de-icer. Not with concrete though! Opting for a cement salt or a de-icer can actually see the substance penetrate the surface and start causing cracks. Cracks then weaken your driveway and cause damage that you will have to repair at a cost to you.
Instead, use a snow shovel (preferably plastic) or a snow blower to remove build-ups of snow and when the surface is slippery from ice, use sand or coffee grounds. To melt the ice, you can use sugar beet juice! This has been found to be effective even at temperatures as extreme as -20!
Should a crack appear you should act at the first instance to repair it. You can call a company such as Tidey & Webb to assist but you may prefer to deal with it yourself. Simply use a chisel to remove any debris and a brush to sweep it clear. You will then need to apply a crack filler and compound. After this has dried, seal your driveway following the guidance of the sealant you have.
Your driveway will go through some general wear and tear but you can extend its life through parking smart. The edges of a concrete driveway are the weakest points so avoid parking near them. Mix up where you park, that way no one particular area of the drive is exposed to consistent heavyweight. The damage caused by not altering where you park could end up mounting into quite a significant expense to fix!
Fill the edges
We have already touched upon the edges being the weakest point of your driveway so look to reinforce them where possible. Backfill the edges with dirt and you’ll give your driveway that little bit of extra strength.
Check your drainage!
All driveways must be either porous or have a drainage system. Blocked drainage can see the release of water being far too slow which can then see your drive surfer from unnecessary wear from the excessive water. Ensure your drainage is clear as part of your regular cleaning.
Follow our advice above and you’ll soon see an extended lifespan on your concrete driveway. Driveways such as this prove to be an affordable and easy-to-maintain type and are among the most common we are asked to lay. Why not give us a call today to find out more or get a free quote to see how you can transform your drive into something more economical and something easier to look after?