Driveways are probably the most high-traffic area of your entire home, but they often get much less attention in term of maintenance, simply because they are outside. But if you’ve spent a lot of money getting your driveway looking nice, you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. This means giving them the attention they deserve, doing regular maintenance and making repairs quickly when they are needed. To help you out, here are 7 tips to help you keep your driveway looking great all year round.
All driveways are prone to cracking over time, but some materials, like concrete and tarmac, are more sensitive than others. A little preventative maintenance, filling in cracks as they happen, can keep your driveway strong during the winter months. By making sure your driveway is sealed regularly you can prevent water from penetrating, freezing and cracking. You should also keep an eye on tree or shrub roots, which can cause cracks by pushing up from underneath. This might mean removing trees near your driveway or keeping bushed in check with their roots trimmed away.
Following on from the previous point, if you do see cracks or holes starting to appear, you need to patch them up right away. Depending on the type of driveway you have you may be able to do this yourself – either with a chisel and crack filler, or with a bit of mortar for brick driveways. If you have a more high-tech driveway material like resin, you may need to contact the installer to come and patch it up. If you do repairs yourself, make sure your finished result is smooth and level, as this will help reduce trip hazards and keep the patch lasting for longer.
Keeping the amount of water that sits on your driveway surface to a minimum will also help keep your driveway in good condition. While many modern driveways are permeable (so the water will run through), excess water sitting on the top can still cause problems. Avoid washing your car on the driveway too often, and if you do, make sure you sweep the water into a runoff once you are finished. If you haven’t already, clear a two-three-inch strip around the edges of the driveway to provide a runoff area for rain and melting snow, and keep taps positions over grass instead of the driveway.
Don’t Salt Cement
If you’re in an area that gets a lot of snow, or it’s just that time of year, you need to be careful. Chemical de-icers and salt can penetrate a lot of surfaces, causing cracks and damage which will need to be repaired before they get worse. Instead of scattering salt on your driveway, try shovelling the bulk of it away and then grab your leaf blower to get rid of the rest. Alternatively, you can try some more ‘natural’ de-icing methods like sand, coffee grounds or cat litter.
When cleaning your driveway with a brook or spade, make sure you are careful with your tools. Raise your blade so that it doesn’t scrape the surface and cause damage. Swapping your metal space out for a plastic one can help, especially when shovelling leaves or snow.
Protect The Edges
The edges of your driveway are the most vulnerable, so you need to make sure they are protected. Your driveway installer will have likely installed edging to secure it, but even this is susceptible to chipping under excessive weight. Avoid parking your cars at the edges of your driveway, and that tradesmen never park there during projects. If you see a chip or crack at the edge of your driveway, make sure it’s fixed right away.
Cleaning your driveway might be the last thing on your mind, since it’s outdoors and ‘it’ll just get dirty again anyway’. But making sure you remove stains caused by motor oil, radiator fluid or other substances affects more than just your driveways looks. These substances can penetrate your driveway and soften it, causing lasting damage and making your driveway unstable. Make sure you clean spills when they happen and give your driveway a general clean once every couple of months.
If you want to know more about maintaining your driveway, or you think your driveway could use a little TLC, just get in touch with the team at JB Landscaping today.