Tips for maintaining your driveway and protecting your investment
In this article, we’ll cover:
The importance of cleaning your driveway regularly
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is true in many aspects of life, and it’s also true when it comes to driveway maintenance.
Taking simple steps to clean your driveway on a regular basis will keep you from having to make costly or time-consuming repairs down the road. Even the most durable driveway material will eventually succumb to wear and tear without proper maintenance, so regular cleaning is key to maximizing its longevity.
It’s not only about function, though—it’s also about aesthetics. A clean driveway contributes to the curb appeal of your home. Oil leaks, mold, tire marks, and other stains make your driveway look bad, creating a poor first impression of your property.
Clear the driveway of debris
The first step to cleaning your driveway is to clear away any debris, dirt, and other objects that may be on the surface.
Treat stains and problem areas
If you’ve noticed any oil or grease stains, rust spots, mildew, mold, or other problem areas on your driveway, treat them with an appropriate cleaner:
- Use a concrete degreaser like Blue Bear 700-DG Degreaser for oil, grease, and dirt.
- Use a cleaner with non-corrosive or biodegradable acid like RadonSeal Efflorescence Cleaner for salt, rust, and lime stains.
- Use a stripper or coatings remover for spilled paint, epoxy, and sealers.
- Use distilled white vinegar to clean mold and mildew growth from shady areas. (A solution of bleach and water works too, but it will damage grass and plants growing next to your driveway.)
Note that if your driveway has any special coatings or colorings, you should check with the concrete company before using any of these products.
Apply cleaning solutions
If you need more than a simple spot treatment, you may want to use a cleaning solution for your whole driveway to cut through the dirt and grime. There are a number of options available for purchase, but sometimes all that’s needed is a simple solution of water and distilled vinegar—although, again, you’ll want to check in with your concrete company to ensure that any solution you use is safe with any finishes or coatings on your driveway.
Use a pressure washer
A pressure washer is a great way to quickly clean your driveway and get rid of tough stains. It blasts away layers of grime, making your concrete look brand new. A small pressure washer is an excellent investment for home maintenance, but if you don’t have one, it’s usually possible to find a rental at your local big-box hardware store.
Scrubbing and brushing
Another option if you don’t have a pressure washer is to use a little elbow grease. Use a stiff brush and some soapy water to scrub away dirt and stains, paying special attention to deep crevices. You may also want to use a broom or stiff brush with a hose attachment for stubborn stains and discoloration.
Rinsing and finishing touches
Once you’re done scrubbing and brushing, finish the job by giving your driveway a good rinse. This will remove any remaining dirt and grime, and also ensure that all the cleaners you’ve used are rinsed off of the surface.
The simple act of sweeping your driveway regularly can help keep it clean and extend its lifespan. Sweep or blow away leaves, sticks, rocks, and other items that have accumulated. Not only will your driveway look cleaner after clearing away this debris, some of these items can create stains on the driveway; for example, leaves contain tannins that can discolor concrete.
Avoid substances or activities that can cause damage
Some substances and activities can cause damage to your driveway over time. Avoid parking cars on your driveway if you know they leak oil or gasoline, and be careful with paints and other materials that can cause stains. Do not use deicing chemicals in the winter, as they can create surface damage to your driveway.
Sealing the driveway
Finally, if you want to get the most out of your concrete driveway, consider investing in a sealant or protective coating. This will help protect it from the elements and keep it looking good for years to come. Sealants are available in a variety of different formulations, so make sure you choose one that is designed specifically for your type of driveway material—a qualified concrete contractor can help.
The bottom line
Cleaning your concrete driveway regularly is important for keeping it looking new and maximizing its lifespan. By following the steps outlined above, you can protect your investment and your property’s curb appeal.
If, while cleaning your driveway, you notice damage or small cracks in the concrete, it’s important to take proactive steps to address them before they become worse. Contact Concrete Works today to schedule a consultation.