Winter can be especially tough on your driveway and other concrete surfaces. Snow and ice—as well as salt and de-icers—can wreak havoc on concrete surfaces.
It is important to learn how to winterize your concrete surfaces ahead of winter’s eminent chill to avoid expensive and time-consuming repairs. You should plan on winterizing your concrete surfaces annually to maximize their lifespans and limit the hours you spend on maintenance. Concrete surfaces that are heavily trafficked—like concrete driveways and garage floors—require the most special attention.
Winterizing Concrete Driveways
If you live in an area that usually receives snow and ice every winter, it is crucial that you winterize your concrete driveway. Snow, ice, brine, and de-icers can all damage your concrete driveway, especially if they’re allowed to seep in through the cracks in the driveway. Cracks include expansion joints as well as cracks due to weather and stress.
Seal Cracks and Expansion Joints
When water and brine seep through the gaps in your driveway, they can freeze, thaw, and refreeze, causing heaving and cracking. You can prevent moisture from getting into the cracks and expansion joints by sealing them with a polyurethane caulk. You’ll need a caulking gun to do this.
Choose a gray or limestone color caulk to match your driveway. The caulk will create a seal, so water and brine don’t seep into the ground beneath the driveway. It’s best to seal twice yearly—once before winter and once after winter. Sealing before winter prevents damage, while sealing after helps repair minor damage.
Seal the Surface of the Concrete
You should also seal the surface of your concrete driveway. Water and brine will seep into the pores of the concrete and cause pitting. You can seal your concrete using Concrete Institute ASTMC 309 concrete sealer.
Clean the driveway—pressure washing works best—and then use a sealant pump sprayer or roll on the sealer. You’ll want to pay particular attention to the approach when you apply sealant. The approach is the pad of your driveway closest to the street. The approach takes the most abuse from foot and car traffic, so add a second coat of sealant to prevent uneven wear.
Winterizing Concrete Garage Floors
Like concrete driveways, concrete garage floors need winterization. When you park your car in your garage, salt, de-icer, and other chemicals, as well as water, drip onto your garage floor and corrode it. There are two things you can do to protect your garage floor.
Sealing Garage Floors
Sealing your garage floor is also an excellent concrete winterization tool. You can use an acrylic sealer, a siliconate penetrating sealer, or even an epoxy coating. Sealing will help keep the chemicals and salt from pitting your garage floor. You will follow the same steps as for sealing your concrete driveway: clean the surface, then spray or roll the sealant onto the floor, paying special attention to the entrance.
Garage Floor Containment Mat
The easiest way to protect your concrete is to use a garage floor containment mat. You will first need to clean the concrete floor in your garage and make minor repairs, such as filling in cracks with caulk. After that, you just roll out the mat.
When winter ends, you can roll the mat back up and store it for next winter. Containment mats help keep brine, de-icer, and other chemicals off your garage floor and prevent the need for further protection.
If you’d like to learn more about how to winterize concrete surfaces in Arkansas, contact Razorback Concrete at 870-455-0700 to speak with a specialist or receive a free concrete estimate.