Homeowners and business owners alike enjoy the advantages of using stamped concrete on driveways and walkways. The beautiful designs, the appearance of premium brick and stone at a more affordable price, and the increased property value all make stamped concrete appealing. But this form of decorative concrete also requires additional care to maintain its gorgeous appearance, especially during the harsh Tulsa winter weather.
At R&M Concrete, we’ve seen the effects of winter weather on concrete surfaces—and we know the problems it can cause all too well. But fortunately, there are some things you as a property owner can do to maintain and preserve your stamped concrete so it continues to look its best in spite of snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.
These tips will help you do it right—so you can keep the appearance and value of your concrete performing in a top-notch manner.
Care for New Concrete Properly
It can be tempting to treat concrete a little roughly. But if you’ve had a stamped concrete surface installed recently, it needs proper, gentle care in its first year to ensure its durability over the long haul.
Remember, concrete is susceptible to wear and tear and harsh treatment, so it pays to be cautious in how you handle it. Ask your concrete company for advice on how to care for a brand-new concrete surface, especially if it’s your first winter tending to your new driveway or walkway.
Seal It Well
One of the best ways to protect a concrete surface is to apply a professional grade sealer. This is especially important with stamped concrete, because you’ve invested in something intended to look particularly stunning. You don’t want grease, oil or other stains to mar that eye-catching color.
- Some keys to applying sealant wisely include:
- Clean the surface fully before applying.
- Apply the sealant before it gets too cold.
- Do it when there’s no chance of wet weather, so it can dry fully.
- Reapply every few years. (You don’t need to do it annually. In fact, reapplying sealant too often can make the concrete look faded or murky.)
- Consider hiring concrete professionals to take the guesswork out of it.
Another essential way to care for your concrete surface is to keep it free of debris that could otherwise cause damage. The longer you leave everyday dirt and debris on the concrete, the more likely it is to create lasting stains, dig into the decorative elements, and leave you dissatisfied with your outdoor space’s appearance.
Prevent grime from building up by sweeping the concrete regularly. Then, use a hose, push broom and cleaning agent to clear away the dirt.
Use Sand, not Salt
Deicing agents and concrete do not mix. The chemicals in many deicers are too abrasive, and they’ll eat away at the surface of your stamped concrete, impairing the beauty you worked so hard to create.
The salt in a deicer can cause unsightly stains. Some will even bleach your colored concrete beyond repair.
It’s best to either use sand or a deicer specially made to treat the delicate nature of stamped concrete. Our team at R&M Concrete would be happy to talk with you about how best to remove icy patches without harming your decorative concrete surfaces.
Remove Snow and Slush Quickly
We all know it matters to remove ice, since ice can cause people to slip. But don’t stop there, because concrete is also adversely affected by the accumulation of snow and slush.
The culprit is freezing temperatures, actually. What happens is that snow and slush often freeze over the evening hours, then melt during the day, then freeze again—and so on. These repeated freeze and thaw cycles are particularly harsh on concrete, resulting in cracks where water can seep in, freeze and cause the cracks to grow.
To prevent cracking and other damage caused by freezing, gently broom away snow and slush as soon as possible. If you use a shovel, be sure it is plastic, not metal (which can dig into the surface). Clear the concrete completely of wintry precipitation.
As you care for your concrete driveway, don’t forget about what that surface is for—your car. Vehicles travel salted, icy, chemically-treated roads before they end up at your home or business. And all that mess can drip and melt onto your driveway, potentially causing damage in the same way that using deicer can.
So, if it’s been a particularly sloppy wintery drive to your property, try to remove anything from the underside of your car or truck before you park on your concrete surface. And take your vehicle to the car wash as soon as weather permits. This will help prevent stray chemicals from causing damage to your stamped concrete.
Call the Pros for All Your Concrete Needs
Tulsa’s weather is tough on concrete—but you don’t have to continue to be frustrated and dissatisfied with how your property appears. A lovely, decorative, stamped concrete driveway, walkway, patio, or other outdoor concrete features add a lot of value and curb appeal to a home.
We help Tulsa homeowners solve their concrete problems and install beautiful concrete features so you can enjoy your home to the fullest. Check out our residential concrete services to see how your home can be elevated with one of many attractive options. And contact our friendly, thorough team of concrete experts for a consultation and free estimate.