Concrete is the most often used artificial material in the world. It is the second most often used substance. Around 10 billion tons of concrete are produced annually. That said, your driveway is likely made of durable concrete. The second widely-used option is mostly asphalt. Thanks to their excellent durability, the lifespan of concrete driveways typically lasts much longer than asphalt driveways. It is also much more robust than asphalt. These traits are beneficial if you regularly park heavy vehicles there. Provided you take great care of your driveway, you can expect it to last for between 25 and 50 years. The condition and look of your driveway greatly impact your home’s curb appeal. This is why having a driveway that looks brand new can add value to your home. But, that depends on whether you utilize these ways to extend the lifespan of your driveway.
1. Apply Sealant as Required
While going through the initial curing process, concrete releases much of the water that was originally in the mix. This, in turn, makes way for water and other kinds of moisture to seep back inside. The water that enters that concrete may contain salts, carbon dioxide, and some acidic compounds. These substances can then go inside the concrete and cause issues such as corrosion.
Applying a sealant top coat to your driveway will prevent water and any other liquids such as car fluids and harsh chemicals from seeping into your driveway. That will stop them from staining or damaging it and drastically extend the lifespan of your driveway. These sealants don’t last forever, though. You will need to reapply them every couple of years. As with anything, there are several options available. The more expensive ones tend to last longer and give better results.
2. Conduct Regular Concrete Maintenance
When you start noticing smaller issues such as cracks in your concrete, you can be sure that it is time to call professionals to help with maintenance work. How often your concrete driveway will require maintenance will vary depending on where you live. For instance, a concrete driveway will require more care in humid climates. This is because the concrete will constantly be absorbing more moisture. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your driveway in a few ways. For instance, it prevents stains from seeping in and helps fill in cracks before they expand.
Remember that having a good-looking driveway is a significant factor for potential future buyers. Experts from moving companies such as Pro Movers Miami suggest that a lot of people opt for moving into homes with better driveways so that they can avoid future renovations. Regularly maintaining your concrete driveway by yourself is another great way to ensure your driveway has a long lifespan. Adding driveway maintenance to your home maintenance routine is a great idea. This can be as simple as checking for any plants growing in small cracks and removing them.
3. Don’t Use De-Icer
In the winter months, your driveway can get covered by a sheet of frost or ice. De-icing chemicals make shoveling and cleaning your driveway easier in the winter. However, they can also speed up the deterioration of your driveway, usually in the form of spalling or scaling. Avoid using things like rock salt and other harsh chemicals on your driveway. If you want to extend the lifespan of your driveway, you should go for gentler alternatives. These can be sand, alfalfa meal, cat litter, etc., which you will use to add some traction. Also, products that contain ammonium sulfates or nitrates can cause problems for the concrete’s chemical composition.
4. Remove Stains Immediately
Often, you’ll only need a hose and a broom with a stiff enough brush to maintain a driveway. Regular cleaning can be as simple as sweeping large clutter like rocks and leaves off your driveway. But, if you come across oil spills and hard-to-remove stains, you may end up needing certain cleaning chemicals and pressure washing. There are, of course, many other tips for driveway maintenance that will help extend the lifespan of your driveway, but this is an excellent baseline to start from.
If you regularly apply a high-quality sealant substance to your driveway, it should reduce staining by a lot. As we have said, a good quality sealant can create tough resistance to stains and most surface damage. But, this doesn’t mean that it makes your driveway invincible. It is still definitely a good idea to clean all stains as soon as they appear.
5. Invest in Professional Paving
The lifespan of a concrete driveway will largely depend on whether or not it is installed well. Doing this might look pretty straightforward. But, getting the job of concrete paving done right is much easier said than done. These things take experience. In a situation where you need your car shipped, and you have never done it before, you should only expect to be able to do it like a professional if you’ve done a lot of research and at least some practice. If you haven’t had much or any experience working with concrete up until now, it is typically better to leave the driveway paving job to experienced professionals. By doing it this way, you can be completely confident and entirely sure of the structural integrity of your new driveway.
6. Allow Concrete To Completely Cure
When you initially installed your driveway, your concrete contractor most likely asked you not to walk on it for at least a day or two. He also probably told you that you should not park a car on it for three to five days. In truth, it can take up to 30 days for your concrete driveway to fully cure to its advertised strength. If you want to extend the lifespan of your driveway, you should avoid it for the entire first month. Overusing the concrete driveway too soon can damage it, making it look old after a few days.
The right concrete to use for a certain project depends on three main things:
- where the concrete is located;
- average weather in the region;
- how much weight the concrete needs to support.
You must know how much weight your concrete can endure before pouring it into your driveway and expecting vehicles to always drive across it.
Your driveway is an often overlooked but essential aspect of your home. It doesn’t only add significantly to your home’s exterior aesthetics but is something you use almost daily. That’s why ensuring you extend the lifespan of your driveway is so important. Of course, sometimes, it is just time to start preparing for a driveway replacement. But the longer you avoid that expense, the better.