Your concrete driveway is not only a paved surface for vehicles, but it is also an important landscaping element. It plays the role of a decoration that adds appeal and style to the design of your property. Cleaning your concrete driveway, and maintaining it properly is one way to preserve the beauty of your home and provide the installation with longevity. Although resistant to crumbling and cracks, a high-quality concrete requires periodic maintenance work to sustain its beautiful appearance. Here are some tips for making your concrete driveway look new again.
Sealer is the guarantee of protection for many types of paving materials, including concrete. Keeping the concrete sealed ensures a long-lasting appeal and durability for your driveway. In time, however, the sealer gets washed away, leaving the concrete exposed. It typically happens due to the influence of extreme weather events, and vehicle traffic. Depending on the amount of traffic in your driveway and bad weather in your area, you will have to occasionally reapply the sealer. Generally, it is recommended to perform a regular resealing of your concrete driveway every two years. A fierce rainstorm or hail can create the need to reseal more frequently. Extended exposure to sunlight is also a cause of early deterioration.
It is important to choose the right sealer to tackle the type of exposure your concrete driveway receives. Be careful to choose a sealer that best fits the maintenance requirements of your concrete installation. Acrylic sealers, blended with epoxies, are widely used for protection against stormy weather, having extended water resistance and high durability. Styrene acrylic is also very durable against wet weather. However, it is not recommended to choose this sealer if you live in an area with extended hours of sunlight and hot weather, as it can discolor quickly, and allow premature degradation.
Generally, the sealer is easy to apply, and it can be done in one day. However, you can save your time by hiring a qualified concrete contractor, who will apply the concrete sealer for you.
Stains and spills are something a sealer cannot protect against. In fact, it prevents only the absorption of stains in the concrete but removing them from the surface is what you’ll have to do by yourself. There are different types of spills and stains that affect the visual appeal of your concrete driveway and need to be removed immediately. Even if you have a broom, you won’t be able to get out such tough stains as oil, rust, grease, and tire marks. Similarly, a leaf blower will blow the leaves away, but the stains will remain embedded.
The most effective ways to get rid of these stubborn marks are the following: power washing and cleaning chemicals. Qualified contractors work with power washers, releasing high pressure streams of water that force the stains out. Sometimes, the speed of cleaning is increased with nozzles delivering a rotary water jet that boasts greater productivity in dealing with deeply embedded stains. If you are willing to pay extra, the contractor can use a hot water power washer instead of a cold water one. This will greatly reduce the amount of time that it takes to clean the stains.
The most commonly used cleaning chemicals are alkaline degreasers for oil and grease removal, oxalic acid cleaners for rusty spots, and potassium hydroxide solvents for dried paint marks.
Deicers have a negative impact on the concrete. In spite of improving the friction in winter, they cause serious damage to your residential driveway. Crumbling and scaling of the concrete take place due to the forced change of temperature on its surface. Suddenly thawed ice that freezes back quickly triggers a shock in the concrete structure causing its deterioration.
Ammonium nitrates bring even worse damage, as they eat away at the concrete’s chemical structure, leading to its easy crumbling and lost durability. Rock salt can be an alternative. However, if you have a lawn or a garden with flowers near your driveway, it is not a good choice due to the harmful effect it has on vegetation. One solution to the ice problem is to use sand. It does a good job of preventing your car from slipping on ice and it isn’t harmful to the environment or your driveway.
Despite being a highly durable paving material, concrete can be subject to damage and deterioration due to extreme weather conditions, harsh chemicals, and tough stains. Keeping up with proper maintenance at regular intervals will make your concrete driveway last much longer, and it will be a beautiful enhancement for your home.