6 Maintenance Tips for Your Stamped Concrete Driveway
A stamped concrete driveway is a good option if you want to achieve a natural-looking paver without spending too much. In terms of durability, it also holds itself together very well against harsh weather conditions and heavy traffic for many years. But just like all types of concrete driveways, it can be susceptible to wear and tear if not maintained properly.
Here, we give you some maintenance tips that can help ensure that your stamped concrete driveway remains intact for as long as it can. We hope that with all these tips, you can avoid major repairs that will surely take a chunk out of your money and time. But first, it is important to get to know the many components of your stamped concrete to understand the best way to maintain it.
What Is a Stamped Concrete Driveway?
As the name implies, stamped concrete driveways are textured or imprinted concrete that replicates the look of natural stones like slate and flagstone. This is a popular choice in many homes since it is easier to install and more affordable. Not to mention, it comes in a variety of designs and patterns, giving homeowners more freedom to decide.
Stamped concrete is generally made up of the following parts:
- A concrete slab that has been stamped with the desired pattern (this can be brick, natural stone, etc.)
- Primary colour that covers the entire surface
- Secondary colour or antiquing finish that provides the highlights; the secondary colour is what gives the concrete driveway its natural look
- A sealer that gives the colours a deeper and richer tone. It also coats the whole driveway in a shine, protecting the whole surface
All the above components are essential to installing a good quality stamped concrete driveway. But one that should never be missed is the sealer. This part is what serves as the layer that protects the concrete from the external elements that constantly beat down on it. Without the sealer, water damage will surely whittle down the lifespan of your driveway. You may also see some hazing or milky spots forming in some areas. All these lead to deterioration that is beyond the remedy of regular maintenance.
Though stamped concrete is relatively more affordable than all the other options for concrete driveways, it still is a hefty investment. And any repairs to damages could cost between $12 to $18 per square foot, which means you’ll have to be ready to spend around $1,800 just to replace the entire driveway.
Repairing and replacing your concrete driveway is the last thing you’d want. So, we have compiled this list of maintenance tips that can help you keep your driveway in tip-top shape.
Tip #1: Mind the Washer
New cleaning technology is popping up every time. Power washers have existed for a while and though they are incredibly useful in various situations, cleaning your concrete driveway with pressure washers might not be good in the long run.
Over time, the high pressure from the washer can chip the sealer away. This leads to the sealer thinning out. Your concrete driveway will not only lose its shine, but it will be vulnerable to water damage, too.
Tip #2: Stick to a Schedule
Talk to your installer or provider about resealing. Generally, stamped concrete should be resealed at least every 18-24 months. Once you have your resealing schedule planned, stick to it. If you miss even just once, you risk leaving the concrete driveway to breakage and thinning. The colours will start to fade and the concrete will be open to damaging elements.
You might think that putting on a thick, heavy layer of sealer will solve the problem. The answer is no, it won’t. As much as possible, do not over-seal your stamped concrete. Building up the coating too thick will cause the concrete driveway to have a yellowish hue. Discolouration, especially if it happens at the sealer, can be very difficult to remedy.
Tip #3: Consider the Surface
Train your pets not to urinate on the concrete driveway and go instead for the grassy side of the lawn. Urine is very acidic. It will not only stain the concrete but can also thin out the sealer as time goes by.
This also applies to other acidic substances that may come in contact with the surface of the concrete driveway. Things like vinegar, salt, and deicers can quickly break the sealer down. You do have safer deicer alternatives in the market. Be sure to talk to your installer for more information.
Another thing that you should do in moderation is the use of lawn sprinklers. If you have got some lawn sprinklers, chances are, you use them quite often to make sure your lawn stays fresh. But did you know that it also poses some risks on your concrete driveway? Constant exposure to water can break the surface. Not only that, but it will also expose the concrete to damage from the water and all the other elements in the environment.
Tip #4: Shovel with Care
If you live in an area where it snows heavily, you might be used to the idea of shovelling ice off your driveway with a metal shovel. But doing so on a stamped concrete is a bad idea. You can scratch or chip the sealer and the concrete at the same time. If you do not have any alternative, try to be careful right around the bottom.
Tip #5: Choose the Right Fertilizer
Did you know that your choice of fertilizer can also affect stamped concrete? Watering plants with highly acidic fertilizers, for instance, can stain the concrete. It can also destroy the sealer over time. And speaking of plants, place your pots and planters at least half an inch off the surface to allow the stamped concrete to dry completely after the rain or after watering.
Tip #6: Hire Professionals
Last but not the least, consider hiring professionals to oversee the maintenance of your stamped concrete driveway. Installation is an investment, but maintenance should be given as much care and investment, too. This way, you will have less problems to deal with in the future and you will have peace of mind that your driveway will be in the best condition all the time.
Get the best care for your stamped concrete from Decorative Concrete SEQ today. From installation to maintenance and repair, we deliver great quality services for budget-friendly rates. Call us today!