Proper ongoing care and maintenance is extremely important for a new concrete driveway, patio, porch or walkway that will look good, last almost a lifetime and add significant value to your home. The following care and regular maintenance will extend the life of your new concrete flatwork dramatically:
Newly installed concrete is considered “Green” and needs to cure and harden before it can be opened up for normal use. To avoid immediately cracking new concrete, it is recommended that it is allowed to cure a minimum of seven to ten days after installation for normal traffic and 14- 30 days after installation for any heavier trucks or equipment.
Concrete driveways should be sealed for maximum life. It is recommended that driveways be sealed a minimum of every 3 to 5 years. If the winter season is predicted to be particularly harsh and the highway department uses salt/sand mix or magnesium chloride on the roads and streets, sealing the driveway should be performed more frequently and done every 1 to 2 years. This will protect your concrete from these chemicals that can destroy the surface of the concrete and cause spalling and deterioration.
It is recommended that snow removal on new concrete or especially on decorative concrete must be done without the use of metal blades for the first two years. That includes metal snow shovels, ice picks and chippers, metal bladed snow throwers, and steel plows. Use a plastic show shovel or a snow blower with rubber blade. Contact your snow removal contractor and make sure they are using a urethane blade guard on their plow if you have decorative concrete on your driveway. Using sand or fine gravel for traction instead of de-icing agents and ice chippers or picks is recommended to preserve the surface of new concrete. If you plow the snow on your driveway, or you hire someone to do it for you, make sure that if chains are used on the tires, not to allow the wheels to spin in place or turn sharply. This can cause permanent scarring to the surface of the concrete that may not be noticeable until the spring. Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done to repair these unsightly damages!
Oil spots are not a major problem as long as they’re cleaned up soon after oil has leaked or spilled onto the concrete. It may stain the concrete, and it will attract dust and dirt, but it’s not something to be concerned about structurally. It’s more unsightly than anything. A safe commercial de-greaser, a heavy bristled brush, water and some scrubbing will remove most oil spots. Covering the oil spot with an absorbent material, such as sand or gravel may also be used. But be aware, some oil spots may still be visible for months or even years. It is recommended that harsh chemical cleansers be avoided.
Ice Melting Products
Ice melting products are very handy in the wintertime, but they should never be used under any circumstances, especially if you have a stamped or patterned concrete driveway.
Moving Vans and Heavy Trash Containers
On more than one occasion we’ve seen moving vans completely destroy a concrete driveway. Avoid allowing moving vans on your driveway if at all possible. If you are planning a home remodeling project, be mindful of the heavy trash containers that are sometimes placed on driveways.
Your driveway is one of the hardest working parts of your house and your sidewalk is the first part of your home that visitors encounter, and therefore, should reflect the care, attention to detail and distinguished quality of your home. Nothing lasts forever, but with a little ongoing care, maintenance and upkeep, you will be able to enjoy your new concrete driveway, patio, porch or walkway for many years to come.