Seal Concrete & Driveways to Prevent Winter Damage
Just like any other feature of your home, concrete and driveways need regular maintenance. To extend the life of your concrete, you should follow a routine schedule that includes power washing, sealer application, and expansion joint sealing. Fall is an ideal time to clean and seal your concrete walkways, driveway, patio, pool deck, and porch in preparation for the harsh Winter elements.
Concrete is a porous material that allows it to absorb water, which becomes an issue once temperatures dip below freezing. Water expands by approximately 9-percent when it freezes, therefore any water trapped inside the concrete produces pressure as expansion occurs. Repeated freezing and thawing eventually cause the cavities to rupture, resulting in cracking, chipping, scaling, and pitting.
The problem is accelerated during Winter as car and foot traffic bring salt and de-icing agents onto the concrete and driveway. Salt is water absorbent, so it traps even more moisture into the concrete. The acidic properties of salt also weaken the chemical bonds that hold concrete together.
Another potential issue to inspect and prevent is the deterioration of the expansion joints. The expansion joints are the spaces between concrete slabs filled with some kind of material. When the caulk, self-leveling sand, or other fill materials break down and disappear, the joints become filled with weeds, grass, and water. If the fill material has failed, then water and moisture will fill and freeze in the joints and under the slabs. Water getting underneath the slabs disrupts the soil, freezes, and extensive movement and cracking leaves the slabs uneven.
Eventually, all of the damage will require expensive repairs. Concrete is not lifetime guaranteed by any means, but having it cleaned, sealed, and repaired regularly can greatly extend it's life and improve appearance.