Concrete Maintenance Tips
Are you aware that the concrete in and around your home requires maintenance? The concrete around and inside your home enhances the appearance of your home and will provide many years of service with minimal maintenance. Most homeowners are unaware that concrete requires maintenance nor do they understand what kind of maintenance is necessary. They are also unaware that homeowner warranties on new homes do not cover exterior concrete. Proper care and maintenance of concrete is the homeowner’s responsibility. Exterior concrete is like a wood deck or siding - - it must be protected from the environment to reach its expected service life.
If you live in an area with extreme freeze-thaw cycles; pop-outs and pits are not uncommon. These are cosmetic in nature and will not affect the structural integrity of your concrete but they are unsightly. Sealing concrete to prevent water getting into the concrete and freezing inside it can help reduce this type of damage from occurring.
Benefits of Maintenance – Maintaining your concrete will keep it durable and functional as well preserving its appearance. Nothing will make a home look unkempt or old before its time more than concrete spalling, pitting or cracking concrete. Concrete in bad condition will affect the curb appeal of your home reducing not only the number of potential buyers who will even look at your home but also the ultimate sale price of your home. So now the big question becomes – what kind of maintenance does concrete need?
- 1) Apply a good quality sealer according to manufacturer’s directions. Concrete sealers are not all the same. There are several different chemistries and are designed for very different situations. Here is an article that discusses the various chemistries and how to select the sealer that meets your needs the best. (link to paper on sealer types.) Most concrete sealers are easy to apply and are the most important thing you can do to care for your concrete. It is essential that you make this small investment, hopefully as early in the life of the concrete as possible.
- 2) Keep lawn fertilizers cleaned off concrete surfaces – and SWEEP them off. Many lawn fertilizers contain iron and will leave rust stains on the concrete if they get wet. If you have not read this and you already have rust stains on your concrete, use a good rust remover (link to rust remover). Many rust removers contain a bleaching agent of some type so make sure you follow the instructions completely or you will end with white spots instead of rust spots.
- 3)Keep your concrete clean and free from stains – oil, rust, dirt, etc. Contaminants in your concrete will break down the concrete. Sealing your concrete will enable you to keep it cleaner with less effort (another good reason to seal concrete). Clean concrete will make your home look more attractive also.
- 4)Keep your exterior concrete clear of snow and ice whenever possible. Also clean off slush and ice dropped from the undercarriage of vehicles. This slush carries all sorts of deicing chemicals from the public roadways. Many of these chemicals are potentially damaging to your concrete.