Concrete driveways are the epitome of style and functionality. Aside from being tough as nails and weather-resistant, they come in a wide range of looks, textures, and colors so that every homeowner can find their perfect stylistic fit. No wonder those who have a concrete driveway installed frequently say it’s their favorite part of their home!
As strong and pretty as your concrete driveway installation may be, just like any renovation, it needs care to keep looking its best. We’ve got a few tips on that!
Watch What Parks On Your Concrete
While sometimes unavoidable, it’s generally best to avoid heavier, oversized commercial vehicles parking on your stamped concrete driveway. We’re not talking about pickups or commuter cars – your decorative concrete was made to handle those!
We’re referring to vehicles that carry huge loads, including but not limited to:
● Moving trucks
● Garbage trucks
● School buses
● Propane trucks
Over time, these large vehicles can put excessive strain on your driveway. So when your gas needs filling, see if the workers can park on the street if possible.
Keep Up With Concrete Sealing
When your local concrete company installed your concrete driveway, it probably was sealed. This would have looked somewhat like laying down a paint job with a roller or sprayer.
The sealant protects your concrete from countless threats, including bad weather and oil stains, but it doesn’t last forever. A penetrating sealant should be reapplied roughly once every five to seven years.
Don’t worry – it’s easy! We’ve even written a guide: How to Reseal Traditional Concrete
Be Wary of De-Icers
Products that melt ice don’t keep working forever. Eventually, the liquid they melted will refreeze. When this happens over and over again, it can prove damaging to your stamped concrete driveway. Instead of harsh de-icers, consider products that provide traction instead.
Sand, for example, can give your feet and wheels enough grip while sitting safely on top of the ice and not corroding your concrete driveway. Keeping up with snow shoveling is also important, as it prevents powder from solidifying into something much more slick.
Stay On Top of Concrete Stains
Your concrete goes through a lot, so it’s made to handle a lot. But just like your kitchen floor, if stains are left to sit, they can prove difficult to remove, even with the highest-quality sealer. This is especially an issue if you park your cars outside.
Oil stains are no joke! They can ruin sealants or finishes, and it's always recommended to get rid of them as soon as possible. New oil stains can be blotted out with a towel and followed up with a stain-removing agent like this show or powdered laundry detergent, then rinsed away. For older stains, you may have to use commercial degreasers and products specifically made for cleaning deep stains.
You’re also likely to encounter more issues with discoloration if you don’t stay on top of your sealing. Concrete is porous, meaning it has imperceptible gaps throughout, making unsealed concrete prime real estate for stains. (Learn more about concrete’s porosity here.)
How to best remove a given stain depends on your concrete’s type and texture. Chat with your local concrete contractor for situation-specific advice.
Check Your Water Pressure
Just the one tip between two and three feet from where you intend to clean, and it's recommended to give a quick spray test to an area that's out of sight just to ensure the surface isn't damaged, period·
Keep the PSI Low
It is recommended to use around 3000 PSI, and if this needs to be adjusted, this can be done via the pressure setting knob on the wander gun, and you may also need to adjust the unloader
valve, depending on the type of model you have.
Choose the Right Tip
Tips come in various sizes, and 15-25 degree tips are recommended for removing oil and grease stains and any jobs completed on fences, walkways, masonry, patios, or decks.
Don't Try to Remove Sealants, Coatings, or Stains
If coatings are applied to the surface, use a low-pressure setting and a wider nozzle while keeping a longer distance from the surface and maintaining a constant spraying motion to help avoid damaging the surface.
Take Care With Cracks
Concrete cracks are simply unavoidable, and anything from shifting soil to excessive heat can cause them. Therefore, most concrete cracks are zero cause for concern – except, of course, cosmetically.
But if you can drop a nickel in the crack, it needs to be professionally seen, lest it widens and become something that may necessitate a full-out replacement of the structure. Luckily, concrete crack repair tends to be much simpler than pouring an entirely new structure, and the pros have a variety of products at their disposal to complete the job.
Maintain Nearby Sidewalks & Steps
Your sidewalks need the same level of care as your driveway. If you live in a busy neighborhood, they will be more prone to building up with dirt, moss, and mold growth, so keeping up on cleanings, repairs, stains, or sealants, will all help ensure they stay protected and look amazing.
Stay on Top of Winterization
With colder weather on the horizon, this can wreack havoc on any concrete areas around your home. Concrete winterization can help keep them protected from dangerously low temperatures, so a few ways to help prepare include:
● Get repairs or replacements completed before winter.
● Apply a sealer before winter.
● If you don't epoxy your garage, consider using a containment match to protect the floor.
Knowing When Maintenance Isn’t Enough
Even with proper maintenance and care, at some point, your driveway will need to be replaced. Signs like pits and potholes, poor drainage, sunken spots, gaps, and cracks are all indicators the material is beginning to break down and give out. Replacing it with some color for extra flair, implementing a unique design with stamping, or adding a decorative border can all increase your curb appeal and enhance your property value at the same time.
When it comes to replacement, if you're considering making your new driveway a DIY project, this is never recommended. Concrete is challenging to use, and even with exceptional plans, the measurements and consistency need to be specific for it to turn out flawless.
Doing it yourself can take much longer than an expert, and as everyone knows, these projects can go South quickly without the right training. Between wasted time, extra frustration, and excess repair cost, it makes sense to choose the experts at Creative Concrete for a perfect finish and streamlined experience.
Creative Concrete: Your Local Pros in New Brighton, MN
From patios to pool decks, we’re well-versed in everything concrete. Taking advantage of this stylistically versatile material, we’ve created a dream yard for many families, and we’d be happy to add yours to the list. For more information, feel free to message us online, or you can give our New Brighton Office a call today at 612-414-7932.