Concrete driveways are a property feature that may not get as much attention as other exterior details. However, they are valuable in adding curb appeal to your home and a place to park your vehicle. Your concrete driveway is one of the first features people see when they arrive at your home. Keeping your concrete driveway maintained and clean is important. Some of the best ways to maintain it before you would need to speak with a concrete contractor are to prevent some common causes of damage.
Although well-designed driveways may withstand significant weight, this does not mean that they are unbreakable. Heavy vehicles, such as delivery trucks and garbage trucks, place excessive stress on your driveway. This may cause damage to the concrete. Cracks, potholes, and breakdowns are a typical result of excessively large loads.
Ask your concrete contractor about the load-bearing capability of your driveway. The capacity varies according to the strength of the concrete used. They should inform you which cars can and cannot be parked in your driveway for extended periods of time. If you possess a large car, it is best to park it on the street or in a separate parking area.
Protection against weather conditions
Your driveway is subject to a variety of weather conditions, including severe weather. When puddles form on the surface of the driveway, the water can wear away the seal, enabling moisture to leak into the concrete. This condition has the potential to inflict extensive damage to the layers underneath.
Older driveways can also be worn down by the sun. Its damaging UV radiation can degrade concrete components, resulting in hairline fractures and tiny fissures that can lead to larger issues if not attended to. You may reduce the damage caused by weather conditions by reapplying a high-quality sealant to your driveway on a regular basis. This additional layer of protection functions as a guard against the elements, preserving the structural integrity of the concrete driveway. It is recommended that you should reseal your driveway every two years as a general guideline.
Manage tree root growth
Many homeowners like to grow tall trees in their front yards for privacy, but take into account that the position of those trees might have an impact on your driveway. Big trees have sprawling roots that might reach all the way from your front yard to your driveway.
When the roots develop beneath the earth, they can push upward on the foundation as they grow. The concrete will eventually fracture. This issue is easily avoidable by being cautious about where you plant your trees and placing them at a significant distance from any driveways and foundations. You can also avoid damage by surrounding your driveway with root barriers.
Shoveling snow can easily damage your concrete driveway. This is because metal shovels are commonly used and can cause scraping or even wear away at the concrete driveway. The metal blade might also scratch your driveway’s seal, exposing it to the elements.
Instead of using a metal shovel, it is recommended to use a hard plastic one instead. Also, use caution when shoveling snow and avoid going all the way down to the driveway surface. Stop shoveling approximately a half-inch from the surface if possible. If the snow is thin enough, you may blast it off your driveway with a strong leaf blower.
Using chemicals for ice removal on your concrete driveway during the winter may cause surface damage, specifically scaling and spalling, by causing moisture to thaw and refreeze. Products containing ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulfates are particularly dangerous because they damage the concrete chemically. Although rock salt (sodium chloride) and calcium chloride are less damaging, they can destroy nearby plants and corrode metal.
It is best to avoid using any chemicals for ice removal during the first winter following driveway installation since fresh concrete is more vulnerable to the damaging effects of salt. Sand can also be used as an alternative for traction if the ice on your driveway has hardened to the point removal is not an option.
When cleaning your concrete driveway from a stain or general cleaning, avoid using chemical-based cleaners. Concrete does not respond well to such cleaners because they are corrosive to concrete, resulting in pits and roughness. Avoid any cleaners that have calcium chloride, sodium chloride, salt, and hydrogen sulfide. It is best to use water on your concrete driveway, and if the dirt or stains are deep use a pressure washer.
Stay off the edges
The edges of the driveway are one of the first sections of the driveway to show signs of wear and tear. While concrete can easily withstand substantial weights, if it is exposed to repetitive pressure, the sides may chip or become uneven.
A chip may soon turn into a crack, so park your car only in the center of the driveway, where the concrete is the strongest. Similarly, avoid driving from grass to concrete when entering and exiting the driveway, since this will result in an abrupt impact when you transition from one type of surface to another.
Water is one of the most damaging elements to concrete driveways. Standing pools of water can seep into the pavement and cause issues, but groundwater running beneath your driveway is another concern to be mindful of.
Groundwater that collects beneath your driveway can soak and degrade the supporting bedrock. The tension generated by the movement of the soil will shift, causing your driveway to sink, slope, or crack.
Before driveway installation, have the concrete contractor check for neighboring water drains. To avoid water damage, keep your driveway a safe distance away from groundwater sources. With water concerns, it is vital that a reputable and experienced concrete contractor installs your driveway with your needs and requirements in mind.
During the installation process of a concrete driveway, there are a number of issues that can occur and lead to a driveway that is prone to cracks. The foundation may not be packed properly or the materials used may be of lesser quality. The resulting weakened concrete can lead to a driveway that can easily crack to any form of pressure.
To remedy improper installation of your concrete driveway it is vital to shop around for a reputable concrete contractor. Research each potential contractor to ensure their services will meet your needs and requirements. Looking at a contractor’s client testimonials is a great way to get familiar with their quality of work.
Concrete driveways are great for adding curb appeal and function to the front exterior of your home. By following the guidelines above you can ensure that the longevity of your concrete driveway is not jeopardized by issues that could have been avoided.