Winter is coming! If you live in the midwest, like the Cornerstone Conrete family, you will expect those harsh Minnesota and Wisconsin winters to come armed with lots of snow and ice. Adverse weather conditions can greatly damage the integrity of your concrete driveway, so protecting and maintaining your driveway is essential. While this does start with a great installation, after that the responsibility falls on the homeowner. But how do you prepare your concrete driveway for winter? How do you help make sure your concrete driveway lasts for decades even with these expected conditions? Our experts are here to help! There are a few things you can do to really prepare for those harsh winters.
1. Tidy Your Driveway
Before the snow starts to fall, take some time to ensure your driveway is clean and tidy. Remove any debris like branches and leaves and then give it a good sweep with a stiff broom. It is best practice to then wash your driveway with a power washer to get up any grime that you might have missed with the broom. If there are any stains, be sure to get those up as well. If the power washer can’t remove the stain, you may want to try a concrete stain remover. You do not want debris to get stuck underneath the snow and ice because they can cause staining and, in some cases, deterioration.
2. Seal Your Concrete
Here at Cornerstone Concrete, we add a sealant to your driveway at the end of our installation process to help better protect your concrete over time. Sealant can lengthen the life of your driveway by filling the pores of the concrete to protect against any debris or water. Furthermore, preventing possible surface damage. Having your concrete driveway sealed in the fall can save you money in the long run by preventing damage from harsh winters. Here at Cornerstone Concrete, we recommend resealing your driveway once every 3-5 years, so this is not a yearly requirement!
3. Proper Drainage and Level Ground
If your concrete driveway is installed by a good crew who knows what they’re doing, you should not have issues with drainage. However, over time concrete does rise and fall with temperature changes, so be on the lookout for areas where water can pool. If water is able to pool on your driveway, due to improper draining, it can become slick with a temperature drop. Unless you’re into hockey or ice-skating, this can seriously injure someone. If this is a concern, look to your local professional to make leveling repairs. We do not recommend doing this on your own!
4. Do Not Use Salt, Use Cherry Stone Grit
It’s no secret that snow and ice can make things a bit slippery, so make sure to use de-icer to ensure no one, and no car, are accidentally hurt or damaged. However, most de-icers, like rock salt, contain chemicals that can erode your concrete driveway over time. Here, at Cornerstone Concrete, we actually recommend not to use salt at all, even if it says “concrete safe” or “pet safe”. The safest option we recommend to homeowners is Cherry Stone Grit. Cherry Stone Grit is a natural way to melt ice and snow, while not causing damage to your concrete driveway. It is also a great non-slip solution to an icy driveway!
5. Remove Snow with the Proper Tools
Winter is here. It’s beautiful to look at and play in. However, your concrete driveway needs it gone. Try to remove the snow from your driveway as quickly and as often as you can throughout the winter months. The faster and more the snow is removed, the less likely any damage can occur.
On the flip side, make sure you have the right tools. Unfortunately, that snow shovel your mom gave you 10 years ago may need to be swapped out. Just like any tool, a snow shovel can break due to wear and tear over time. We recommend plastic shovels, because they will be a little more gentle to your concrete. If you do use a metal scraper, be sure to be careful not to create dents in your driveway.
You can further maintain your concrete driveway when winter is over. When Spring comes back around and the snow is melted, it is a good idea to spray down your driveway to get off any road salt or other debris that may have made its way onto your driveway from your car.
If you follow these tips, your concrete driveway should make it through the winter just fine. If you have any questions about your concrete driveway or are looking for a new one to be installed, give us a call at (612)325-3742 or contact us, here.