Did you know that concrete driveways can last between 30 and 40 years?
That’s right! Compared to asphalt driveways, properly-maintained concrete can last 10 to 15 years longer.
This longevity is also one of the reasons that up to 56,000 miles of public roads in the US are concrete.
Concrete, after all, utilizes cement which has a minimum compressive strength of up to 500 psi (35 bar).
This allows concrete roads to withstand the extreme weight of vehicles.
As durable as it is though, this doesn’t mean you no longer need concrete driveway maintenance.
True, it does require less upkeep than asphalt.
To maximize your driveway investment though, you need to implement proper concrete care.
Ready to learn the techniques to make your concrete driveway last for decades?
Then keep reading, as we’ve rounded them up for you!
1. Seal Your Driveway
Pure water can dissolve the calcium hydroxide in concrete, causing a loss of strength, according to WR Meadows a leading supplier of construction and restoration products.
The effects can even be more severe if carbon dioxide is present in the water.
Either way, constant exposure to water can lead to pore development in concrete.
The more pores there are, the higher the risk of harmful substances getting into the concrete.
Once they seep into the concrete, they can damage the material’s internal structure.
Over time, this will reduce the concrete’s strength and durability.
This is why resealing your driveway is the first step to concrete maintenance.
Sealants, such as silicate sealers, are a surface protective material.
They help prevent water and other harmful substances from attacking the concrete.
As a result, the materials used in your driveway will be less susceptible to pore development.
2. Fill Those Cracks ASAP
Again, despite concrete’s durability, it’s not impervious to cracks, especially as it ages.
Many cases of premature cracks are also due to improper installation and lack of curing.
This is the main reason you should hire an experienced driveway contractor.
What if you’ve moved into a house with an existing driveway though?
If you find super-fine surface cracks, you can still fix it with a resurfacing material.
Just make sure you choose a high-quality cement-based product that features polymer modifiers.
Use a sealant to fix and fill cracks that are a little wider.
Like very fine cracks, these thicker ones usually don’t indicate internal damage.
However, they may still worsen over time as water can get into them, freeze inside, and widen the cracks.
So, as soon as you see any of these small cracks, get to work and seal them up ASAP.
3. Address Chemical or Oil Spills on Your Driveway Right Away
While automotive oil spills are inevitable, you should clean them up right away.
Not only will they make your driveway ugly — they can also cause slip and fall accidents.
Moreover, the longer they go uncleaned, the harder it will be to remove their stains.
Also, some car fluids, such as petroleum, can damage concrete. Even spilled milk left to rot on your driveway can attack the concrete!
In fact, keep your driveway clean from anything that contains acid or has content that can form acids.
For recent spills, freshwater is enough to clean them up.
For more stubborn oil spills, you may have to use a solvent.
What’s important is to remove these chemicals or liquids as soon as they fall on your driveway.
4. Create a Runoff Area for Water or Melting Snow
There should be enough space on the edges of your driveway to direct water away from its surface.
This helps minimize the odds of water from attacking and seeping into the concrete.
Be sure the run-off remains free of debris and clogs.
5. Keep Your Gutters and Downspouts in Clean and in Great Condition
Your gutters and downspouts should be directing rain and snow away from your home.
When debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other objects, builds up in them though, the water can overflow.
The force of the falling water can then affect your concrete driveway.
That said, make sure to give your roof gutters and downspouts a regular cleaning.
This will help protect your driveway from water attacks.
At the same time, it will help extend the life of your roof, gutters, and downspouts.
6. Don’t Use Chemical De-Icers or Salt on Your Driveway
Chemicals in de-icing and salting products can seep into your driveway’s surface.
Over time, this can lead to deep cracks that can affect the concrete’s internal structure.
Skip these chemicals and salts and carefully use a shovel or snowblower instead.
You can also pour some coffee grounds, kitty litter, or sand on your driveway to make it less slippery.
7. Contact a Concrete Repair Expert at the First Sign of Sinking
Sinking concrete can take the form of uneven patches on your driveway’s surface.
They may even be noticeably lower or “sunken” areas on your driveway.
Slab settlement is the primary cause of sunken concrete driveways.
This occurs when the soil below the concrete has collapsed and can no longer support its weight.
This can happen when the soil under the slabs washes out or if the fill soil was poorly compacted.
Either way, it’s best to call a concrete leveling expert as soon as you notice these signs of sunken concrete.
Sunken slabs are serious trip and fall hazards.
These damaged areas can also divert the flow of water straight into your home and cause water damage.
At the very least, sunken concrete isn’t nice to look at, so they can also affect your home’s value.
Follow These Driveway Maintenance Tips Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide on driveway maintenance and why you should even do it in the first place.
Remember, driveway maintenance helps retain its great looks, durability, and strength.
More than that, it helps keep safety hazards like slips, trips, and falls at bay.
Ready for more tips and tricks to keep your home in great condition?
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