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Maintain Your Concrete Driveway

Why Do This?

Constant sun exposure will cause cracks and expansion in your concrete driveway, so it’s important to fill cracks and reseal your driveway every five years. Filling small cracks is relatively easy, but resealing can be a big project if you have a large driveway. Contractor prices vary by location, but you can typically hire someone to do this job for anywhere from $0.10-$3.20 a square foot.

Difficulty:
Time: 60 minutes

What You'll Need

  • power washer
  • weed killer
  • garden gloves
  • broom
  • garden hose
  • concrete repair kit
  • plastic spray bottle
  • vinegar
  • sealer of your choice
  • wire brush

How To:

  1. 1

    Free up your driveway. Several of these steps require lengthy waiting times when you cannot use your driveway. Before beginning this maintenance process, make sure you have another place to put your cars!

  2. 2

    Check the weather. It’s best to perform repairs to your driveway on a day that’s 55 degrees or warmer – your sealing materials will form a stronger bond with the existing concrete at these temperatures. Also check the weather to make sure it isn’t going to rain, which will weaken the seal.

  3. 3

    Sweep and wash your driveway. Use a power washer to remove dirt and debris from your driveway’s surface, because the power washer tackles stains before they have an opportunity to set into the pores of the concrete.

  4. 4

    Pull weeds and grass. Weeds tend to grow in the cracks of the concrete and spread quickly, which can lead to further expansion of the cracks. For a DIY weed killer containing vodka, read 4 Creative Ways to Use Vodka.

  5. 5

    Inspect your expansion joints. Your expansion joints are the spaces between two large slabs of concrete. Take a look at them to make sure that the sealer doesn’t show damage, because an unsealed expansion joint can lead to major damage.

  6. 6

    Fill large cracks. Remove loose material from around the crack with a wire brush. Once you’ve loosened it, brush it away with a broom and use a garden hose to wash away the dust. Repair hairline cracks with your concrete repair kit to prevent water from seeping into the cracks. Follow the instructions on your kit.

  7. 7

    Etch your driveway with vinegar. To do this, fill a plastic water bottle with three parts water and one part white vinegar. Spray your driveway thoroughly, and then wash the vinegar solution away with water. The vinegar will remove any residue on your driveway.

  8. 8

    Prepare your concrete sealer. Concrete sealers generally come in five gallon cans and cost about $50 at your local hardware store. One can covers about 250 square feet, so if you have a large driveway you’ll likely need several cans. The best kind to purchase is a “sealer/filler” rather than just a “sealer” because it works better on hairline cracks.

  9. 9

    Apply your sealer.Brush or spray your sealer on your driveway following the instructions on the sealer can. Different sealers will have very different instructions, so be sure to read them thoroughly. Note: Make sure that you work systematically as you spread your sealer to avoid needing to step on areas that are still wet!

  10. 10

    Allow your sealer to dry. Generally, your sealer needs to sit undisturbed for 24 hours before the driveway can be used again. However, this time can vary so check the label of the concrete sealer you used for the exact time you need to wait. It’s also a good idea to put a barrier around your driveway to prevent accidental damage from cars that don’t know you just sealed your driveway!

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