How to Maintain a Concrete Driveway

driveway repairOne of the main reasons why people invest in a concrete driveway is because of the minimal maintenance required. The average driveway is between eight- and 18-feet-wide, depending on whether it’s for one or two cars. With that much square footage, the upkeep is comparatively easy. If the driveway was initially installed correctly and you maintain it properly, that driveway will last somewhere in the range of 25 to 50 years.

  1. Sealer
    Even concrete driveways need to be cleaned at times and making sure a sealer is applied is the best way to preserve the concrete. Weather conditions will play a huge part in how often you need to clean and re-apply the sealer. The amount of traffic that the driveway receives is another factor. Typically, a concrete driveway would need to be resealed about every two years or when you begin to see wear. Concrete contractors can recommend a good commercial sealer, which will probably be available in most hardware stores. If you apply the sealer yourself, make sure that it is done according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, or you could destroy your concrete altogether.
  2. Stains
    These need to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. A sealer does protect the concrete from absorbing the stain, but if you get oil, gas or grease on it, it’s still a good idea to remove it immediately. Concrete can become discolored if such elements sit on it for too long. They can eat through the sealer and damage the concrete itself. Use a power washer and cleaning chemicals for concrete in order to remove the stains. If you get to the stain fairly quickly, you should be able to avoid any further problems. Leaving stains for weeks at a time will give them time to settle into the concrete and the weather can drive them deeper in, making it very difficult to obtain a thorough cleansing.
  3. Chemicals
    Only certain chemicals should be used on concrete. One of the ones that should be avoided is the deicer type. Even in the winter, this is not a good idea, because it can cause scaling and stalling. The idea of the chemical is to force the moisture to thaw, so if it’s winter, it’ll later refreeze. Any kind of cleaning product that contains ammonium nitrates or sulfates is particularly harmful, because of the way they attack the concrete. While sodium chloride and calcium chloride cause less damage, they can still affect any vegetation nearby, and also corrode metal. In order to avoid driveway repair, especially during that first winter when the driveway is new, don’t use deicers or even plain salt. Opt for sand if you need traction.
  4. Weight
    Generally speaking, residential driveways are not made to support heavy vehicles like moving vans or semi trucks. If for some reason you have to have such a vehicle on your driveway, do so for a very short period of time. Otherwise, a better idea is to park it on the street next to the house.

If you do find yourself in need of any kind of driveway repair, here are a few solutions.

  1. Resurfacing
    Cracking and scaling can be fixed with a concrete overlay, which will cover up any flaws. It also allows you the choice of a different color pattern during the driveway repair without having to rip up the old driveway.
  2. Recoloring
    Sun exposure and other problems can cause a concrete driveway to become discolored, but all you have to do to fix it is apply a coat of water based concrete stain.

If you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments.