Newly laid, pristine concrete drives look amazing. They are an investment that should last you for years to come, as well as giving your kerb appeal a massive boost. One of the biggest assets a concrete drive has over other materials is how little routine care and maintenance it needs during its lifetime. However, no material used to create driveways is totally maintenance-free, including concrete.
Having a concrete sealer in place doesn’t mean you can just forget about it. Here are our top tips for taking care of that new concrete drive and keeping it in tip-top condition.
Cleaning and Sealing
Although concrete is low maintenance it’s not a magical material that will deflect all stains and spillages. Giving your drive an occasional clean will keep it looking like new. A common misconception is that once a concrete sealer is in place it never needs to be replaced; wrong. Think of a wooden floor that has been varnished. Over time the varnish loses its shine with foot traffic. There are even patches that are worn away and need revarnishing. A concrete drive is no different. How often it needs to be resealed very much depends on both the weather conditions and the volume of vehicle traffic your drive is subjected to. It’s recommended that you reseal a concrete drive approximately every 2 years. You can do it before that if your driveway has heavy usage or keep an eye on it yourself and reseal it when it starts to show signs of wear. Always apply sealer in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove Spillages Immediately
If there are any spillages, such as oil or petrol for example, clean them up as soon as you see them. Don’t rely on the concrete sealer to keep it from staining, especially if it’s been down a year or two. If, after cleaning the spillage up, you can see that the concrete has discolored, a pressure wash using cleaning chemicals designed to be used on concrete should be used. Read the instructions carefully as strong chemical cleaners can ruin a surface they aren’t intended for and many a drive has been wrecked by the owner using the wrong cleaning agent.
Be Very Careful When it’s Icy
You may panic when you see your gorgeous new driveway covered in ice and rush for the deicer or something similar. Never use a deicer on your drive! The chemicals can cause serious surface damage, such as spalling or scaling, as the chemicals are effectively forcing the ice to thaw but the temperatures will make that moisture quickly refreeze. Anything that contains ammonium nitrates or sulphates is extremely harmful as these chemicals will attack your concrete. So what can you use? Calcium Chloride or Sodium Chloride (rock salt) will inflict less damage, but they could corrode metal and harm vegetation. New concrete is also susceptible to salt damage, so for the first winter after the driveway has been laid you shouldn’t attempt to use anything to deice it. You could use something like sand to make it safer to walk on and provide traction for vehicles.
Handle with Care
Although concrete is known for its durability, a typical driveway is not designed to support very heavy vehicles, such as moving vans. Always take care when you are clearing or shoveling your drive and avoid any large metal blades as these could easily scratch or scrape the surface.