Keeping your concrete driveway or patio clean and sealed is key to the longevity of your projects. How often you clean and seal your concrete projects depends greatly on the weather and the traffic your driveway or patio gets. Concrete is an affordable and versatile material that functions very well for many years; a regular maintenance routine serves to maximize your investment. Even though concrete is durable, if neglected, it will deteriorate earlier than expected. Like all building materials, concrete will not last forever, but when properly maintained, it will give you years of service.
Concrete Has Changed Over the Years
Take a look around your neighborhood, and you will notice just how much concrete has changed over the years. Years ago, your patio or driveway was just slabs of concrete pads with no color, just gray. As such, homeowners weren’t keen on keeping their driveways and patios clean. But with the addition of stamped and colored concrete, keeping it clean is essential.
You see more and more homeowners and businesses using stamped and colored concrete as it is an excellent way to add a unique design element to any property. A grease stain from your BBQ grill on your old concrete patio wasn’t that big of a deal. But with a stamped and colored concrete patio, keeping it clean and looking good matters. The same idea holds true with your driveway, which will start looking poor if you neglect it.
Stamped and Colored Concrete Options
We would all love to put aside the maintenance required to keep up a house. After all, your weekends are a lot more fun when you can enjoy your backyard instead of mowing, painting, and doing whatever else is necessary for upkeep. However, the beauty of concrete is that it requires very little maintenance. In fact, all you really need to do to keep it in good shape is to power wash it occasionally and seal it every once in a while.
Another huge benefit that comes with choosing concrete is in the price. Of course, you can choose to have pavers installed for your patio or natural rock, but these choices will force you to dig deep into your pockets. And while concrete might not be the least expensive option, it is still a bargain for what you get, which is a patio that looks fantastic and that will last a long time.
Cleaning Your Concrete Patio or Driveway
Concrete surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned once a year to keep them in good shape. Before you start your cleaning project, make sure to remove everything from the concrete surface, including your grill, potted plants, and furniture. Regardless of which type of cleaner you choose, it is wise to test it n a spot nobody can see to ensure it won’t discolor or otherwise damage your concrete.
It is also important to have all of the right gear when you are cleaning your concrete surfaces. Here is a list of what you should have:
- Power Washer (rent one of you have to)
- Nylon Brush (the stiffer, the better)
- Spray Bottle
- White Vinegar
- Eye Goggles (safety first!)
- Shop-Vac or Broom
- Cleaning Products
The first thing you want to do is to remove all of that loose dirt and other debris from the surface. You can simply sweep it off with a broom, utilize a Shop-Vac, or you can even use your leaf blower to whisk away dirt and debris. Once that is complete, you can concentrate on removing stubborn stains.
Most homeowners are bound to come across at least a few stains suffered over the course of the year. For example, you will probably find an oil stain or two on your driveway, and your patio will likely have a few grease stains from the grill. You can shop your local home improvement store for products made specifically to clean specific stains on concrete, or you can use everyday household products to make your own cleaner.
If you don’t want to use a store-bought cleaner, you can use liquid laundry detergent or a cleaning solution of baking soda and water or white vinegar and water to clean the stains. A stiff nylon brush is extremely helpful when cleaning stubborn stains. However, keep in mind that it could take multiple attempts to remove the stain, so don’t give up too soon.
If you have a lot of stains or very stubborn stains that won’t go away, you might want to use a power washer. Just make sure to be careful and not damage the concrete surface. And make sure you are wearing eye protection when using a power washer.
The Importance of Sealing
Concrete sealers are used to create a barrier to help keep moisture. When moisture is allowed to penetrate concrete, it could cause cracks, which nobody wants. Cracks not only diminish the look of your concrete surface, but they also are a tripping hazard. Sealers also guard your concrete against chemicals, dirt, and all of the other substances that could cause damage. As such, it’s a good idea to seal your concrete every two to five years, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, harsh weather conditions, and traffic.
You will be happy to hear that sealing concrete is both inexpensive and not very labor-intensive, so almost anybody can do the job on their own. However, it is important to note that you should wait at least a week between coats for acrylic and epoxy as they must fully cure before another layer is applied.
As you can see, it is essential that you keep your concrete projects clean and sealed to maintain their aesthetics and ensure a long life. If your concrete driveway or patio is old and suffering from cracks and other signs of deterioration, you might want to consider having it replaced. Give Cesar’s Concrete a call and see what we can do for you.