Homeowners in Tulsa can’t help but be familiar with concrete surfaces. Concrete is a common building material in this part of the country, from roads and driveways to walkways and patios. But like any material, it can get worn down from the impact of rain, snow, ice, hail, and the effects of time.
Fortunately, there are ways to take care of your concrete so that it lasts as long as possible, while continuing to look attractive and perform as it should. Our team at R&M Concrete is committed to giving Tulsa area homeowners the best in concrete driveways and patios that last for years to come. To help you get the most from your driveway and patio, we’ve compiled this handy list for maintaining concrete successfully.
Keep It Clean
Like any other surface in your home, regular and careful cleaning keeps the concrete looking attractive. Think about it: your concrete driveway captures mud and debris that gets stuck in your vehicle’s wheels. And your concrete patio gets exposed to dust, dirt, leaves, and other gunk. If you let that mess stay there long enough, it’ll dig at your concrete and discolor it.
To clean your concrete home surfaces, you can use a power washer, but take care to use a fan tip that doesn’t exceed 2,500 psi. Hot water can often wash away light dirt stains. More serious stains, like oil, will require a degreaser made for concrete.
Seal and Reseal
A concrete sealant protects the surface and repels water, just as wax protects a car. This prevents moisture damage that causes cracks in concrete. Your concrete contractor will apply sealant during the concrete laying process, but the sealant eventually wears off due to exposure to the elements.
To address this issue, apply a new layer of sealant as needed. A good rule of thumb is to reseal concrete driveways and patios every 3-5 years.
One key to keeping your concrete patio, driveway, and walkways looking good over time is to act quickly when stains occur—and better yet, to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This is especially true for driveways, where it is all too common to incur oil spillage and other stains from your car’s fluids.
As soon as you see oil or grease on your concrete, draw up as much as you can by using kitty litter, sawdust or cornmeal to soak it up. Then clean up anything left on the surface, using soap and water or a concrete cleaner, which can be obtained at your local home care store.
While it’s tempting to treat snow and ice with a commercial de-icer or salt, neither of these chemicals are good for your concrete. Salt and de-icer are simply too harsh, and they’ll eat away at the concrete. This allows water to get into the surface, causing cracks.
To avoid this issue, use sand to create traction rather than an ice melting chemical. If possible, clean salt and de-icing agents off the underside of your car before parking on the driveway.
Don’t Use Metal Tools
Metal snow shovels can easily dig into the surface of your concrete and chip it away. Even the blades of a snow plow or snow blower can cause problems if you’re not careful.
Avoid this issue by using plastic snow shovels to remove snow and ice. If using a snow blower or snow plow, raise the blades high enough so they won’t scrape the concrete.
A residential concrete driveway is strong enough to handle the average recreational car or SUV. But large commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, moving trucks, or heavy machinery are simply too weighty for your home’s concrete to handle.
To be on the safe side, have all oversized vehicles park on the road rather than pulling into your driveway.
Fix Cracks Promptly
No matter how careful you are with your concrete surfaces, wear and tear will take their toll on your patio and driveway. Small cracks are likely to form over time as the elements take aim at your concrete, or as Oklahoma’s clay soil shifts and causes the concrete to settle. But the bigger problem is that moisture can get into those cracks and freeze and melt, leading to larger cracks and a worn, unattractive surface.
The best way to treat small cracks is to act swiftly. As soon as you notice cracking in your concrete, repair it with a concrete patching product. If the cracks are large or there are too many of them to easily patch, consult a concrete contractor to perform repairs.
Well-Maintained Concrete for a Beautiful Home
Maintaining concrete surfaces for your Tulsa, OK home is a smart move. Taking care of your concrete gives you the attractive look you want for your driveway, patio, and other outdoor surfaces.
And when you have questions about your concrete or want assistance with repairs or new surfaces, R&M Concrete is ready to provide you with experienced, reliable residential concrete services that give you a lovely, long-lasting home you are proud to come home to. Get started today by contacting us for a free consultation and estimate.