Concrete driveway maintenance is essential to prevent high-cost repairs or driveway replacement. Compared to asphalt and paving stones, concrete is a material requiring minimal maintenance throughout the year. However, if mistakes occur during installation or the driveway experiences harsh winter weather, the chances increase that cracks and crumbling will appear. Follow these concrete driveway maintenance tips for ultimate preservation.
Follow Installation Guidelines
When a concrete driveway is poured, the materials must cure for a predetermined amount of time to ensure the bonding process is completed successfully. Do not drive or park any vehicle on the driveway for at least three days following installation. For heavier trucks, vans and SUVs, wait at least one week before using the driveway. Heavy-duty equipment or trailers should not drive on the surface for at least 30 days. Using the driveway too soon can result in cracking, shifting and may require professional concrete leveling.
Repair Cracks Promptly
Whether a crack occurred due to damage from water, a heavy load or simple wear and tear over time, prompt attention to the issue is necessary. Unattended cracks can worsen over time and cause whole sections to separate and sink. If the driveway is already uneven, concrete lifting may be necessary to properly bond the separated areas together. If the crack is still thin, a repair kit utilizing caulk, grout and sealer may be able to permanently rectify the fissure.
Depending on the location’s environment and how much the driveway is used on a regular basis, the surface should be resealed every two years at the minimum. As soon as the top coat finish starts to show signs of wearing down, apply a coat of high-quality seal. Sealing on a set schedule will protect the surface from absorbing too much moisture. On decorative stamped concrete, regular sealing is even more vital. The seal will bring out the pattern and color while limiting machinery oil stains.
Avoid Harmful Defrost Chemicals
Defrosting materials thaw surface ice, converting it to moisture. When the moisture sinks into the surface and refreezes, it increases in volume by at least 9 percent. When de-icing salts are applied to concrete, it increases the number of thawing, absorption and freezing phases the driveway undergoes. The freezing water’s expansion can accelerate the degradation of surface concrete. Since concrete gets stronger over time, do not use any de-icing materials on the driveway the winter following installation. Only concrete that has been mixed to withstand 4,000 pounds per square inch and allowed enough time to cure will be impervious to the damaging effects of rock salt.
For additional concrete driveway maintenance suggestions and professional concrete lifting services for problematic areas, contact Lift-Up Concrete for a consultation.