Winter Care Tips For Concrete Drives

A concrete driveway in an area with cold winters and lots of snow requires a bit of extra care to ensure it survives the season in good condition. Compared to asphalt, concrete drives aren't always as well suited to snow. If you prefer the look of concrete, don't despair. You can still have the driveway material of your choice as long as you use the following tips to help it survive the winter months.

Tip #1: Invest in a plastic shovel

A metal snow shovel or one with a metal blade may be tempting, since it seems like it can last forever. Unfortunately, the metal is hard on the driveway as it slowly chips away at the concrete surface. Use a sturdy plastic shovel instead. The trick is to shovel the snow before it has a chance to melt and then refreeze. This allows you to get the bulk of it off so any thin layer that remains can melt quickly.

Tip #2: Never use salt

Salt as a deicer may seem like a good idea, but it will destroy the concrete. Salt acts as a corrosive on concrete, resulting in pits or spalling that causes the surface to crumble. Even the so-called "chemical" deicers can be hard on concrete. If you must use a deicer, invest in magnesium chloride. It is less damaging than some of the other options, but you should still sweep it up as soon as the ice melts. If possible, spread sand for traction instead.

Tip #3: Fill in any cracks

If you already have a few minor cracks in your concrete, arrange to have them filled in before winter arrives. Small cracks can become wide holes if water seeps into them and freezes during the winter months – the expansion forces the crack apart. A few filled in cracks are much more attractive than large cracks and holes. You can have the concrete acid-stained or even painted to hide the repairs if they are extensive and creating a major eye sore.

Tip #4: Clean up any debris

Don't leave anything sitting on the driveway through the winter months. This includes everything from piles of fallen leaves to old tires or a box filled with firewood. Objects sitting on the driveway hold moisture, which then leads to mold or mildew stains on the driveway. Moisture held in large quantities on top of the concrete can also seep in, causing freezing and expansion damage that eventually weakens the concrete. Move everything off but your vehicle before the wet winter weather arrives.

For more help, contact a paving contractor such as Northern Asphalt LLC.