Whether you have a plain concrete driveway or a decorative, stamped, etched or colored one, maintaining and caring for your driveway is essential. Unfortunately, many homeowners take the view that “concrete lasts forever” and don’t realize just how important it is to take the right steps in maintaining it. This results in a much shorter lifespan than they would otherwise enjoy. What should you to do maintain your driveway so that you get the maximize life, beauty and utility out of your investment?
Seal, Seal, Seal
While you might think that concrete is impervious to rain, sleet, hail and snow, that’s actually pretty far from the truth. In fact, your driveway has to be sealed against moisture in order to withstand the weathering effects. Of course, there’s not set schedule for sealing – it will depend on the weather conditions where you live, as well as the amount of traffic the driveway sees. As a general rule, it should be resealed every two years. However, heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions might make it necessary to seal it annually.
Watch for Stains
Stains will detract significantly from the beauty of your driveway, whether it’s stamped, stained or just plain concrete. Rust, oil, transmission fluids, dirt, grease and gasoline will all stain your driveway. The best way to protect it from most of these threats is not to park cars on the driveway, but in the garage instead. However, there will be times when some staining substance comes in contact with the cement despite your best efforts. The only way to tackle this problem is to remove those stains as soon as possible. Invest in a quality cleanser and make sure you have a stiff bristled brush or broom handy. Pressure washing can also help, though you need to be careful with this (and cleaning chemicals), because it can damage your sealer.
Avoid Heavy Vehicles
Concrete is strong and durable. However, the average driveway just isn’t designed to withstand the load placed on it by heavy vehicles (anything beyond the average SUV, for example). In order to ensure that your driveway stays in good condition for years to come, avoid parking or driving heavy vehicles on it at all.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
There will be plenty of times you have to use chemicals on your driveway. For instance, chemical deicers are used heavily in areas that see significant snowfall. The problem here is that many harsh chemicals will actually destroy your concrete over time. Ammonium nitrate and sulphate are the two most dangerous things to your driveway, but there are many others that can cause lasting damage, as well.
With the information above, you should be able to make sure that your driveway lasts as long as possible and looks good the entire time. The most important thing to remember about concrete driveway maintenance is that it does require regular care and attention. Ignoring your driveway is a good way to ruin it in a short time.