Maintaining Pavements at Home

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Concrete pavements like driveways and walkways last for years, but they still need regular maintenance to keep their good looks, and to stay free from damage. Pavements can get stained, chipped and cracked by moisture. Routine upkeep can reduce problems.
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Don’t Use Deicers
The strong chemicals in deicers are hard on cement. According to TRUEGRID, a company that provides an excellent, flexible option to your parking lot design, they wear down the surface, causing scaling and spalling. Deicers work by forcing ice to thaw, but in cold weather, the moisture simply refreezes. This is what causes the damage. The worst deicers to use contain ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulphates because the chemicals eat away at the concrete. Traditional rock salt is actually less damaging. Sodium chloride, its official scientific name, and calcium chloride are still not great substitutes though. They cause corrosion in metal and kill vegetation. The best material to use is sand, which provides traction without harming the concrete. The most important time to worry about your pavements is the first winter after they are installed. At this point the concrete is especially susceptible to harm from salt and chemicals.
Use a Sealer
According to TRUEGRID, it is a good idea to apply a sealer to your concrete every two years. If it receives a great deal of traffic, or if you live in an area with temperature extremes, it might need to be done annually. A good rule of thumb is to seal it when it starts to show wear and tear. Check the joints in your pavement closely. They may need sealing more often than the other parts. Moisture can get deep into the concrete through these spots in the concrete. Sealing them eliminates this problem and also prevents weeds from growing up through the joints. You can buy sealers at your local home improvement center or a concrete material supplier. If it is newly installed, ask the contractor to recommend a brand of sealer. Sealers are only effective if you follow the directions provided by the manufacturer, so be sure to read and follow them closely.
Clean Your Concrete
Though it seems like such a hard surface shouldn’t need cleaning, the fact is it will look attractive if you take the time to clean it at least once a year. This is especially true if you have decorative concrete installed. Simply keeping it swept consistently is the first step. Periodically use your garden hose with the nozzle set on high to pressure wash away accumulated dirt and grime. You can also buy special cleansers and use a pressure washer for more ingrained dirt. Be sure to remove stains right away. This includes oil, grease, gas, and other types of both wet and dry spills. If you end up with a stain anyway, use a pressure washer in conjunction with concrete cleaning chemicals. The Concrete Network offers specific advice for spills and cleaners that are effective.
Make Repairs
If you find cracks, repair them as soon as possible. This is how moisture gets deep within the concrete, causing major damage at the sub-grade level. Some repairs are easy if you feel comfortable with do-it-yourself projects around the house. But if it looks like major work is involved, be sure to call in a professional concrete contractor to do the work. If you try to do the job yourself and it involves major repair, you can easily make the situation worse. The result will be hiring a contractor anyway, to fix your fix. The most cost-effective approach is to get it done by an expert the first time around. The pavements around your home were made to last for years. With regular maintenance, they will be damage-free and attractive for decades.

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