Here in Australia, our driveways generally do not have to stand up to some of the extreme weather conditions that some people face in other countries, for example heavy snowfall during the winter months. However, there are still a couple of key things to look out for when it comes to your concrete driveway in winter, so read on to learn more.
Keeping it clean and free from stains
Concrete is a very durable material but there are still some cleaning routines to be carried out. If you can, aim to do this before the coldest months set in, and keep an eye on your driveway throughout the winter. Remember that your driveway has been subject to a lot of traffic, dirt and debris from the surrounding environment, and possibly oil or grease spillage during the warmer months, so keeping it clean and free from stains is important.
Brush away all debris and clean with an appropriate detergent (if the concrete is coloured, seek advice from your driveway professional as to the best one to use). If you live in an area that is very cold, be careful that ice doesn’t form during the coldest nights (and days). This could cause problems not just in terms of safety, i.e. someone could slip on the ice, but it could potentially also damage the concrete.
Check for any cracking or spalling
If you have had other building work going on or stored heavy loads or heavy vehicles such as trucks on a residential drive, you need to check to see if the extra pressure added has caused a crack.
This is especially crucial during the coldest months because if water gets into any crevices in your concrete driveway and then freezes overnight, it could expand, forcing the crack to open wider. Make sure any routine maintenance is carried out quickly before this happens.
Check if resealing is required
Concrete driveways, whether aggregate, coloured or textured, can last a long time and look good for years if cared for properly. From time to time the concrete will need resealing and these sealants protect the surface from damage, corrosion and stains.
If the time has come to have your concrete driveway resealed, avoid booking it in during the winter months. Instead, aim to get it done before the coldest weather hits so that your driveway will be ready for whatever the weather has to throw at it.
Avoid de-icing products or sharp implements
While this is unlikely to be a problem in most parts of Australia, there are areas where it could get extremely cold and icy, particularly up in the mountains. If ice forms on your concrete driveway, avoid using a proprietary product to clear a safe path. Instead, seek the advice of your driveway professional, who will be able to give you the right information.
The other point to note is if you physically need to clear away any substance settling on the surface of the drive, then don’t be tempted to get out the steel shovels. Metal tools can cause cuts and scratches on the surface of a concrete driveway so remember to use a plastic shovel instead.
Check guttering and drainage points
Last but not least, if blocked leaves or debris in your gutters cause water to overflow from your property down the walls and onto your concrete driveway, it is time to take action. Water is a very pervasive substance that can find even the smallest of holes and undermine foundations. Make sure run off points are clear so that water is safely carried off to its usual drainage point, and is not washing away the foundations of the drive.