Your driveway sees a lot of use, but it is often overlooked when it comes to regular maintenance. Unfortunately, this can shorten the life of the drive, resulting in the need for an expensive repaving or replacement project. Spending some time on regular driveway maintenance can extend not just the useful life of the driveway, it can also keep it more attractive so it doesn't detract from the curb appeal of your home. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Repair Cracks Quickly
The key to avoiding major damage is to fix potential issues when they are still minor. Small cracks and the occasional pit will occur. Take care of these by removing any dirt or plants that have seeded in the crack, and then fill the crack with a concrete patching epoxy. It's best to do this sooner rather than later, because if moisture gets into the crack and freezes, you will end up with a wider crack and more extensive damage.
Tip #2: Keep it Sealed
Moisture and weathering is the main cause of damage on a concrete driveway. Sealcoating can help prevent these types of damage. How often you sealcoat depends on how heavily you use your driveway and the amount of weathering and moisture it is exposed to. As a general rule of thumb, the driveway needs to be sealcoated if moisture soaks in rather than beading up on the surface. You should take the time to check this at least once a year, preferably in spring or early summer when freezing isn't an issue. You can purchase sealcoating products that you roll on yourself, or you can have the job done professionally.
Tip #3: Battle Stains
Stains aren't necessarily bad for the driveway, but they look bad. You can use sawdust or kitty litter to soak up oil stains, and sealcoating will also help prevent the stains from penetrating too deeply into the concrete. If your drive is already badly stained, you have some options:
- Try a concrete bleach or cleaner. These are strong solutions that are left on the concrete to lighten, and sometimes successfully remove, stains.
- Paint or acid dye the concrete. Concrete paint is easy to apply but is best used on driveways with minimal traffic, as it will wear off. Acid dying is more permanent but is usually done by a professional. Acid dyed driveways will need regular sealcoating to prevent fading.
- Get the driveway resurfaced. A paving company will apply a thin coat of fresh concrete over the old. This works well for covering both stains and discoloration from patching of cracks or holes. Once the concrete fully cures, it is sealed and then maintained as it was previously.
For more help, contact a paving contractor in your area, such as those at Sealcoating America.