Driveways are a key part of your house; they are one of the most used areas and are an expensive investment. It is easy to overlook the health of your driveway and not think to do anything to protect it, until it is too late. If you take the necessary precautions you can keep your drive attractive and healthy for longer, as well as save yourself quite a lot of money in the long run. This guide aims to give you all the information you need to keep your drive in good condition.
Minimise Exposure to Water
Water is your enemy when it comes to driveway health, as they can find its way into the tiniest of holes and cracks. To prevent this, clear a strip around the edges of your driveway roughly three inches wide. This will provide a runoff area for snow and water, so it doesn’t collect on the surface. You should also ensure that downspouts from your guttering don’t empty water onto your driveway – instead, you can point them into the garden or a drain.
Prevention is Key
As soon as cracks appear on your driveway, it is a long, slow retreat, minimising damage as you go. Sealing your driveway is the best way to prevent cracks. Asphalt can be sealed every few years, but concrete driveways should be done annually. Sealing stops water from penetrating the surface, freezing and creating cracks. You should also watch out for roots from trees and shrubs pushing up from underneath. Make it a point to remove any trees close to the driveway, or at least have their roots trimmed.
If you do notice any cracks or holes, you need to fill them in as soon as possible, to reduce the damage done. Remove any loose material with a chisel and hard-bristled brush then use a crack filler and a patching compound to fill it in. Once dry, reseal the whole driveway to be safe.
Protect your Edges
Although driveways are designed to take the weight of cars, they will struggle with heavy trucks, especially at the edges. To reduce the potential damage to the edges, try to park your car close to the centre and, if possible, don’t park any particularly heavy vehicles there, such as construction vehicles for a remodelling.
Be Careful when Ploughing
Getting the snow off your drive is a must, however, it is very easy to damage the surface in the process. Try to raise the blade of your shovel or snow plough, so it doesn’t scrape the surface. Another option is to use a plastic shovel, so that if it does catch, it will do less damage.
Do not use Salt on Cement
Chemical de-icers and grit will damage the sealant on your driveway and cause cracks to appear. Instead, try shovelling or blowing the snow off your drive and use things like sand or cat litter, to create more traction. You can also use sugar beet juice to melt the ice; this will work at temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius.
Keep it Clean
Stains on your driveway from tyre marks, oil and other substances don’t just affect its appearance, but they also penetrate the surface and remove the sealant, allowing further damage. If you still require help to remove unsightly stains on your drive, approach your local and reputable driveway specialists.