From the moment it is poured, maintaining your concrete driveway is a battle. Though it is low maintenance compared to asphalt or paving stones, the environment and the way you use your driveway can lead to the need for expensive repairs. While you can patch it and even lift it if it sags, taking good care of it can prolong its life.
Tips for Maintaining Your Concrete Driveway
Here are a few tips to extend the life of your concrete driveway.
- Let it cure before parking on it. Taking good care of your driveway starts right at installation. The driveway may seem hard and ready to use by the day after it is poured, but it needs to cure before you apply the weight of vehicles. This means that you should not park your car on it or three days, while waiting a week before parking SUVs, vans, and trucks. For heavy equipment or trailers, you should wait a full 30 days to prevent shifting and cracking that may require concrete lifting a short time after installation.
- Keep up with sealing. After pouring, your contractor will seal your new driveway. You should repeat the process after 30 days and then every couple years to keep out moisture, which is the enemy of concrete. The sealant can reduce the number of cracks that develop and prevent oils and stains from penetrating the driveway.
- Don’t overstress it. Even after it is ready to use, your driveway can develop problems if you put more weight on it than it is built to hold. Driveways are typically reinforced with steel rebar, based on expected usage. If you park a bulldozer on your residential driveway, you are likely to have serious breakage.
- Don’t use defrosting chemicals the first year. Deicing salts cause concrete to thaw, absorb, and refreeze frequently, which can disintegrate concrete. You should not use chemicals on the driveway the first year after it has been poured. After a year of curing, concrete properly mixed to bear 4,000 pounds of pressure per square inch can handle salt.
Repairing Damaged Concrete
Concrete is susceptible to cracks, either because the concrete shrinks after installation or because it expands, often as a result of hot weather or other causes. Repairing even small cracks as soon as possible can save you problems later. Maintaining your concrete driveway or other poured surfaces is easy if you fill in small cracks with a mixture of caulk, grout, and sealer.
Aside from cracking, concrete slabs can become uneven. When this happens, concrete lifting or leveling can add the proper support to even it up. For the process to work, make sure to take proper steps in maintaining the surface; concrete lifting does not work if the surface is too fragmented or unstable.
For help maintaining your concrete driveway, call Lift Right Concrete. Their experienced professionals can give you expert advice and service to keep your driveway looking and working great for years.