Just like the rest of your home, concrete requires occasional maintenance and repair. Concrete cracks and wears away, and while some cracks won’t require any real attention, others will need to be repaired. Walkways, driveways and concrete patios all experience a significant amount of traffic in addition to being exposed to the elements, but fortunately these areas are fairly easy to maintain.
Unless there is an issue such as a large crack that requires immediate attention, concrete maintenance only needs to be done every two or three years, especially if you have colored concrete, which can fade if you wait too long. Quick maintenance can typically be completed in one hour or less. As with most home improvement projects, it can be a DIY-project or completed by professionals if you don’t have enough time.
Rinsing Off the Concrete
Before you perform any serious maintenance on your concrete, you should first rinse it off with water. A garden hose or pressure washer should work just fine for this task. Spray the concrete surface to remove any dirt and debris that has accumulated. Depending on where this surface is, there may be quite a bit to remove. Driveways and walkways will typically be the dirtiest, especially if you’ve just had a storm or other nasty weather. Apply a small amount of dish soap with a push broom to get at the really filthy spots that your hose or pressure washer won’t touch.
Once you’ve cleaned off your concrete, you should allow it to dry. If you’re short on time, you can use a leaf blower to dry it off yourself. Otherwise, waiting 24 hours and allowing the concrete to air dry works just as well, particularly if you don’t mind putting off the rest of the job until the following day.
Part of maintaining a good concrete driveway or walkway is resealing it every couple of years. This should never be done to wet concrete, which is why it’s so important to allow it to dry after washing it off. The sealer should be applied along with anti-skid material with a 1″ nap roller since anti-skid material doesn’t transfer through a sprayer. Apply the sealer in 2′ by 4′ sections to ensure that you cover the entire surface area without missing any spots. A second coat can be applied when the first coat is no longer tacky to the touch.
It’s also recommended that you apply sealer when the temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably in the autumn or spring months.
Smaller cracks in concrete can be ignored for shorter periods, but if they get worse they need to be addressed. Concrete cracks can be repaired fairly easily with an epoxy injection. Epoxy can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and it can be applied without much trouble in about an hour or so as a do-it-yourself project. Simply apply the material with a low-pressure injector directly into the crack you wish to repair and allow it to dry. Naturally, you should keep water and other material away from the crack until the material dries, but the crack will effectively seal itself as the epoxy binds itself to the concrete.
It doesn’t take long to perform quick maintenance on your concrete patio or driveway. When maintenance is performed regularly, you can ensure your concrete remains beautiful and intact for years to come.