Concrete is one of the strongest and most durable materials in the world. It has become a go-to element for construction because of this reputation, but you still need to stay on top of maintenance if you want to keep it looking perfect.
Summer and winter present challenges for your driveway. While the baking heat can crack your concrete, moisture and frost can have the same effect, so you need to be just as vigilant during winter.
Here’s how to get your concrete ready for the chilliest time of the year.
Check Your Concrete
You need to check the health of your concrete before winter hits, so you have a chance to patch up any issues. Follow this process:
1. Check for any cracks
2. Take photos of any cracks, so you have a comparison point for next season
3. Ensure any cracks are sealed before the weather gets too cold, or moisture can seep in and cause the entire slab to expand.
Understand Your Local Weather
The weather in your area will determine how much maintenance you need to do. If you live in Northern or Central Australia, you don’t need to worry about ice and frost. If you live in the more temperate areas, frost can be an issue. If you’re worried about frost, invest in an ice-melt that is calcium based.
Clean Your Driveway
Keeping your driveway clean and debris free throughout winter is essential. The crunch of a tire on rocks, sticks or branches can create cracks over time, and if moisture makes its way into these cracks, you’ll end up with big breaks. For a good clean, you should first sweep off any debris and then use a pressure cleaner to wash away any baked-on grime and dust.
When cleaning your driveway make sure you only use a soft-bristled broom. Never use a rake or shovel to remove debris, because these sharp tools can crack the slab, meaning you’ll just have to do more repairing.
Make Sure Your Drains Work
Sitting water on a driveway during winter is a sure-fire way to ruin your concrete. The longer it sits there, the more chance there is it will pierce the surface and enter into the slab. So, make sure there is a clear path for water to move off your driveway before it gets too cold and wet. You may also have a problem with your slab, so if water still doesn’t drain, get a contractor to cut some joints in it.
Seal Your Driveway
The best way to protect your driveway during winter is to seal the concrete. A fresh seal will create a protective layer, cover up all cracks and ensure that there are no entry points for any moisture or frost. Just make sure you choose a quality seal to protect any decorative elements. If you’re dealing with an older slab, you may need to use a solvent to remove any past seals so that you can apply a fresh layer.