Winter in Des Moines brings freezing temperatures, snow, and ice that can take a toll on your concrete driveway. But with some preventative maintenance and safe snow removal practices, you can keep your driveway looking pristine and withstand Iowa’s harsh winter weather.
De Moines local Ryan Walker, owner of Des Moines Concrete Works, has given us the complete run down to make sure your concrete driveway holds up for years so you can enjoy it winter after winter. Read on for his top tips to maintain your Des Moines concrete driveway this winter.
Seal Cracks Before Winter Hits to Prevent Further Damage
As temperatures drop, water seeps into any existing cracks or crevices in your concrete and expands when it freezes, causing further damage. Stop cracks in their tracks by sealing them before winter arrives.
Inspect your driveway and use a concrete crack filler to seal any problem areas. Polyurethane or silicone-based concrete sealants work best. Properly sealing cracks prevents costly repairs down the road.
Be sure to thoroughly clean out the crack of debris before sealing. Allow proper drying time per the product instructions. Addressing cracks proactively helps your concrete driveway withstand the freezes and thaws of Iowa winters.
Carefully Remove Snow to Avoid Chipping or Scraping
Improper snow removal techniques can damage your driveway’s surface. Use a plastic shovel and sweep it back and forth to lift snow off the concrete. Metal shovels or scrapers can chip and scrape the concrete.
Rock salt and chemical de-icers are abrasive to concrete surfaces. Limit use of salts and chemicals by shoveling promptly after snowfalls. The less ice buildup, the less de-icer you’ll need.
When removing snow, be mindful of plows coming too close to the driveway edge. The metal blades can crack or break off chunks of concrete. Keep plows at bay by marking driveway edges with reflectors or stakes. Proper snow removal protects your investment in your driveway.
Apply Concrete-Safe De-Icers to Melt Snow and Ice
Salt, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride quickly melt snow and ice buildup. However, chloride-based de-icers corrode and degrade concrete over time. Opt for safer, concrete-friendly de-icers like calcium magnesium acetate or potassium acetate.
Read the product labels and avoid de-icers containing ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate that damage concrete surfaces. Even with concrete-safe products, only apply as needed in a light, even layer.
To melt existing ice buildup, sprinkle a thin layer of de-icer over the ice. Give it time to work – resist the urge to over-apply. Rinse residue when temperatures allow to prevent salt and chemical buildup.
Rinse Salt and Chemical Residue Regularly to Prevent Concrete Damage
Road salts, de-icers, and other chemicals accumulate on driveways through the winter. As temperatures warm above freezing, thoroughly rinse off your concrete to prevent long-term damage.
Use a pressure washer to remove residue. Be sure to adjust pressure and nozzle direction to avoid damaging the surface. Rinse regularly throughout the warmer winter days to prevent buildup.
Proper rinsing keeps your concrete looking its best and prevents pitting, cracking, scaling and spalling down the road. A clean, salt-free driveway prolongs the life of your concrete. Your driveway will thank you after a proper wash.
Re-Seal Before Winter for Added Protection from Moisture
Your driveway was likely sealed after being poured, but this sealant naturally wears off over time. Re-apply a fresh concrete sealer before winter arrives to provide an extra layer of protection against moisture damage.
Concrete sealants prevent water, de-icers, and salts from penetrating pores in the concrete that can cause cracking, pitting, and spalling during freeze/thaw cycles. Sealants provide a water-repellent barrier.
Use a high-quality acrylic- or urethane-based concrete sealant suited for driveways. Be sure to allow ample drying time before the weather turns. Re-sealing your driveway gives you peace of mind heading into winter.
Maintain Your Des Moines Concrete Driveway Through Winter with Ease
So there you have it, follow these easy steps and don’t let the Des Moines winter wreak havoc on your concrete driveway. With vigilant maintenance and TLC, your driveway can emerge this spring looking as good as new.