With harsh winter conditions just around the corner, now is the perfect time to go over your driveway maintenance. Whether you have an exposed aggregate driveway, a stencil concrete alfresco or concrete footpaths, you should have an organised maintenance schedule that will save you time and money in the long run. And with the typical mix of wet and dry conditions in autumn, there are whole ranges of pointers to consider. Today, we’re specifically going over how to protect your driveway and concreted areas during the autumn months.
#1: Regularly sweep leaves
Let’s face it: autumn leaves falling on the footpath or on your driveway can make a beautiful picture. But what’s not so beautiful are the stains that leaves can, well, leave.
But why and how exactly do leaves stain concrete? Well, the pigments in leaves, pinecones and other seeds that fall from trees start to decay in autumn, when leaves fall from the trees sustaining them. When the pigments decay, they release tannins, which are dyes. These tannins then react to the alkaline that is found in concrete, settling into the microscopic pore-like holes that lie on the surface of the concrete. This is what causes a stain.
The easiest way to prevent leaves from staining your driveway is to sweep them away before staining occurs. But if you find that you didn’t have time to sweep before a rainy day, don’t fret. Sweeping leaves from a driveway that is still wet will minimise the chance of staining.
Sweeping might not be ideal for everyone. It can be time-consuming, and considering how quickly piles of leaves can accumulate, it needs to be done fairly often. If sweeping regularly sounds unachievable, consider your other option: using a leaf blower.
If you do choose to use a leaf blower, ensure you use it carefully. For example in some council areas, blowing leaves onto the street is a fineable offence as it can clog the gutter and contribute to pollution. Instead of taking a risk, be safe and blow the leaves into shrubs for mulch or onto the lawn, whereby a lawn mover will vacuum the leaves as it goes.
#2: Remove furniture
As winter approaches, you’ll want to consider removing any furniture and pot plants from your driveway, alfresco and concrete footpaths. Pot plants and furniture are known to leave stains, especially when they come into contact with water for prolonged periods of time.
You should also be removing and storing barbeques, grills and other metallic items (such as tools) that can rust. Metals prone to rusting and corrosion that you should be wary of include:
- Iron, and alloys containing iron
- Copper (although, copper can take up to 20 years to corrode to the point where it turns green)
While some products claim to be rustproof, you should still try to avoid leaving them outside in the rain. All it takes to stain your concrete is one bolt that hasn’t been rust proofed. Rust and corrosion stains are typically deep brown or green and can be stubborn to remove.
It may sound inconvenient to move your items, but you will probably find that you won’t be using them unless they are undercover anyway. Therefore, storing them in the garage or undercover during the wet season will also protect them from being damaged by harsh conditions.
#3: Reseal your concrete
Sealing your concrete is another good way to prevent damage to your coloured concrete or exposed aggregate driveway. Summer months and warm days can cause cracks and chips in your concrete pavement. These faults, while they might seem small, can actually affect your entire driveway by the time winter comes around.
Winter conditions, for example, can magnify the extent of these seemingly small problems. Thin layers of ice melting and rainwater can seep into the cracks, eventually causing the concrete to expand. This results in even more cracks, making the initially small problem a large and costly one to fix.
The obvious solution to this issue is to reseal your concrete before winter. You’ll want to invest in a sealant that is breathable (meaning that it allows moisture to escape). This will prevent the issue of water getting into cracks since it repels surface water while also allowing water underground to evaporate. An example of a breathable sealant is a siloxane/silane blend.
Prestige Concrete Services have over 20 years’ experience in providing a range of concrete services – from decorative paving for residential areas to a hard and long-wearing commercial driveway. With us, you can rest assured knowing that our work is of a high quality. If you want to inquire about our work, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0411 440 157.