Take care of your concrete to ensure that it lasts like it should.
Although concrete is one of the most durable construction products, it endures the harshest elements of our climate. Other wearing surfaces such as carpets and wood floors often have protective products applied (i.e. stain resistors and sealers) to extend their service life and durability while facilitating easier maintenance. To provide the same protection to your concrete driveway, it is recommended that it be treated with a protective sealer. By following the guidelines outlined here, your driveway will be durable and serviceable for many years to come.
Prior to applying a protective sealer, your driveway must be cured to attain the strength and durability potential of the concrete. Curing maintains the concrete at satisfactory moisture and temperature conditions to allow hydration to continue. Curing should commence within minutes after placement and extend a minimum of 7 days.
Any one of the following methods can be used:
- Spray on curing compound (according ASTM C309).
- Polyethylene cover.
- Seven day continuous water cure.
- Saturated burlap with polyethylene cover.
Of the methods mentioned, the spray on curing compound provides the most cost effective approach towards curing particularly during summer concrete construction.
Once your driveway is cured and given an opportunity to air dry (approximately 1 month), it is now ready to be sealed. A protective sealer minimizes moisture and deicing salt penetration into the surface of the concrete. Concrete surfaces must be sealed when ambient temperatures are favorable and certainly before the onset of winter. Depending on the type of sealer, regular maintenance may be required. Contact you local ready mix producer for sealing products available in you area.
Care and Maintenance
Although concrete is an extremely durable product, the following care and maintenance guidelines will add to the value of your investment:
- Do not apply deicing chemicals for snow and ice removal during the first winter. To provide traction, sand is recommended.
- Never apply deicers containing ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate. These products may be packaged and sold as deicers, but aggressively attack and deteriorate concrete surfaces.
- For stain removal, do not use harsh acids. Use a product specifically designed for the stain in question and for use on concrete.
- Keep concrete clean of snow and ice at all times.