Your driveway is one of the most important aspects of your property maintenance. Whether it’s where you park your car, shoot hoops or watch your children play, a maintained drive is critical for homeownership.
The bad news is that all this usage means wear and tear, regardless of your driveway type. The good news? When it comes to keeping your driveway in top condition basic driveway maintenance is easy to do yourself.
From having a good snow removal plan of action to reapplying sealants in summer, these expert tips keep a driveway looking its best during every season.
Depending on your snow removal preference during winter, you may see a spectrum of damage to your driveway come snow melt.
As the snow melts, watch for water pooling. This can be one of the first signs that the substrate of your driveway is worn or damaged, and, if allowed to progress, can result in cracking and sinkholes. Be proactive and reduce the chances of substrate wear with proper sealing and edging. Even if you checked or sealed before winter, you may have to reapply if damage built up over the season.
Many homeowners have to clean and apply sealer to concrete and pavement drives, and replace any broken stones annually or bi-annually. Also, make sure to check the sand or grout in the seams is filled to reduce the chances for weed or plant growth and debris build up.
If you do this come Spring every year, you’ll avoid having to do a full driveway replacement in the long run.
Summer is the time when you can (for the most part) sit back, relax and enjoy the benefits of your driveway. Whether that’s playing games or washing the car, this season requires minimum upkeep and maximum usage!
Still, you will want to watch for unwanted plant growth which diminishes curb appeal and will infiltrate your seams and damage substrate if not weeded regularly.
Also, you’ll want to beware that increased temperature and decreased moisture means that car oil and cleaning chemical exposure on your driveway is more prone to staining. Use a high-powered hose to wash your driveway immediately if stains are spotted!
As leaves and branches fall and moisture increases, you’ll want to keep your driveway clear of debris buildup.
Also, with winter fast approaching, you’ll want to make sure your driveway is in top shape to handle the storms and any destructive snow removal techniques. First, check your edging. Your driveway might be exposed to frequent freezing and thawing cycles, which cause expansion and retraction each time and wear down your edging. Make sure edging is in good condition before winter to prevent damage. Then check for any cracks or chips and seal them - during winter, these can turn into large cracks and holes.
When it comes to winter, prevention is the biggest key to winter upkeep of driveways. Unfortunately, almost all forms of snow removal can cause some damage.
If your neighborhood has a snow plow, be wary that the heavy machinery can cause damage. Regardless of whether you have stone, concrete or pavement driveway, the typical residential driveway isn't engineered to support heavy snowplows or their sharp blades which can cause cracks.
Even personal plowing or shoveling your driveway can cause damage if using metal blades that might scrape or scratch the surface. And deicers on your concrete driveway can cause surface damage by forcing that unwanted cyclical thawing and refreezing of moisture.
Products containing ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulphates are especially harmful because they will actually attack the driveway foundation chemically. But don’t despair, heated driveway mats are a great alternative to chemicals, manual labor and salting. If you avoid snow build up with heated mats, you will see less wear and tear on your driveway come spring!