Caring for your Concrete
Concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios in the northern Midwest are subject to some of the harshest weather conditions. With a little bit of care, your choice of a concrete driveway, sidewalk and/or patio will last you decades. However, proper care is a requirement for long-lasting beauty and wear. This letter is to help you maximize your return on your wise investment of concrete. Please keep this letter handy for future reference, but do not hesitate to call with any questions.
1. Use a sealer. This process provides a barrier to prevent water and other chemicals from penetrating the concrete. Sealing is critical to exterior concrete to ensure durability and resistance to freeze-thaw cycles. Seal your concrete every 2-3 years. The preferred method to apply these products is with a low-pressure sprayer. If this is not available a fine napped paint roller may be used, however it is difficult to get uniform coverage.
2. Do not allow rusting metals to set on the concrete.
3. Keep concrete surfaces free and clear of ice and snow.
4. Avoid using deicers the first year. Concrete takes a while to reach its maximum strength. While some deicers, such as salt, do not chemically react with the concrete, they do increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles the concrete must go through. This has the potential of damaging the concrete until it has reached its maximum strength.
5. Donít use deicers with ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate. These chemicals are often packaged and sold as deicers, but they will rapidly disintegrate concrete. Common garden fertilizers containing these two chemicals, or urea, may cause disintegration as well.
6. Do not park a vehicle which has been driven on salted roads on your driveway. This is especially important the first winter as the snow/salt mixture that drips off of your vehicle will increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles the concrete will go through and potentially damage the concrete.
7. Use sand anytime. The ONLY safe material to use to make the concrete surface skid resistant is washed plain sand. This can be purchased at several locations.