Your driveway is often the first thing someone sees when they approach your home. You’ve invested money into it and are proud to display it to visitors. But a lack of maintenance can quickly turn that part of your home into an eyesore.
Winter can be especially cruel to your outdoor surfaces. Dealing with snow, ice, and the extreme cold can be a nightmare. Not only are you trying to maintain some aesthetic appeal in the harshest of elements, but create a safe surface for you and your family to use. Below are some tips for maintaining your driveway over the Winter.
1. Ditch the De-Icing Chemicals
When the temperature drops below freezing, our first thought is to run out to the store and grab some rock salt.
This melts the ice with ease, but it has a nasty side effect. The corrosive materials (calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, or potassium chloride) can damage your driveway.
When the weather heats up, you’ll notice discoloration that is unappealing.
A solution to this is to ditch the salt and use sand or kitty litter as an alternative. These do an adequate job of limiting ice on the surface and providing some traction for you and your vehicles. They also won’t damage your driveway.
2. Clean Up Spills
Oil and gas can eat through a good sealer in no time. At first sign of a stain, it’s time to get to work. The longer that stain has to set in, the harder it will be to remove.
3. Turn Water Away
To avoid water getting into those cracks, you’ll want to steer gutters away from your driveway. When water freezes, it can damage your surface. Not to mention pose a safety hazard. Make sure your home has proper drainage that pushes water away from your driveway. A concrete edging drain, for instance, can work wonders.
4. Avoid Accumulation of Snow and Ice
Water is heavy whether it’s in the form of snow or ice. It can lead to base soil moving and shifts to your concrete slabs. To avoid this, remove snow as soon as possible from the surface.
5. Use a Plastic Snow Shovel
That steel shovel might tear through the ice, but it’s also damaging your driveway in the process. Instead, ditch the steel for a plastic shovel or one with a rubber tip at the end. But if you absolutely must use a metal shovel, check it regularly for jagged edges which can scratch the surface.
6. Better Yet, Buy a Snow Blower
If throwing out your back each Winter shoveling snow gets tiresome, a snow blower is a great investment for your home. But beware, not all snow blowers are alike. You’ll want to go with a two-stage snow blower which has blades that don’t make contact with the ground. Not only do these machines avoid damaging your driveway, but they are also powerful and will save you time.
7. Keep Heavy Equipment Away
Large trucks, construction equipment, and RVs can place unnecessary strain on your driveway. In the winter when the soil underneath the driveway is moist, this can cause shifting that can severely damage your driveway long term.
With a little preparation and some modest effort, making it through the winter doesn’t have to be a disaster in waiting for your driveway. With these tips, you’ll make it to Spring without a scratch.
8. Seal Those Cracks in Your Driveway
Water will always find its way through cracks. And when that water freezes, it can be damaging. The expansion leads to larger cracks, chips, and even breaks. To prevent this from happening, it’s a good idea to seal any noticeable cracks in the fall. Not all cracks can be seen by the naked eye, which is why it can be a good idea to hire a professional for the job.
Want to ensure your driveway lasts for years to come? Follow all the above tips, and ensure that if cracks do begin to show, get it sealed.