How to Maintain Concrete Patios, Driveways and Walkways
Patios create one of the great living spaces in our lives. On a patio, parents sit back and watch their children play, husbands grill hotdogs and hamburgers for weekend cookouts, families and friends gather for impromptu gatherings, and couples enjoy the fall or spring weather together. These outdoor living spaces add great quality of life to our busy schedules. Like the lawn and plants, concrete patios require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and functioning at their highest capacity.
The best maintenance is the preventive kind. Daily preventive maintenance involves cleaning and a good broom. Any large corn broom works well for the outdoor areas and makes quick work of sweeping away errant leaves, dirt left by shoes, and the dust and dirt kicked up by wind or rain. Sweeping the patio daily keeps this buildup of dirt and dust at a minimum and makes giving the patio a more thorough cleaning easier. Just like inside the home, the outdoor areas benefit from daily spot cleaning and pick-up
A more thorough cleaning may be needed every week or a couple of times a month, especially when the patio is used often or when it rains daily, such as in the summer. A light buildup of dirt is easily scrubbed away with a scrub brush and a hose with a high-pressure nozzle. If dirt or mildew builds up in corners or where water collects, use an environmentally-friendly bleach or soap to scrub the concrete. Rinse it with a jet nozzle and the concrete will look nearly new.
An annual pressure-washing powers out the deep-down grime that sweeping and scrubbing won’t clean. Concrete patios and walkways are often pitted and porous, giving grime an easy place to hide. After a good pressure washing, those nooks and crannies are clean and ready for another year of use. Many people now own pressure washers. For those of you who don’t, tool rental companies rent them at a reasonable cost or hire a handyman. They often charge a reasonable rate to complete the pressure cleaning.
Long-term preventive measures for maintaining concrete patios and walks include elastomeric paints and concrete stains. Concrete stains provide a great look for a concrete patio and walkway, giving them new beauty. Stains are permanent, permeating the top layer of the concrete so it doesn’t flake away or chip off like paint. The stain will wear away, however, as the concrete does in traffic areas. Manufacturers recommend applying a sealer annually. The sealer repels dirt and water and helps prevent wear.
An elastomeric coating goes on like paint but protects against wind-driven rain and debris. The coating is like a thick, elastic film and conceals hairline cracks, patches and other irregularities. Like concrete stains, elastomeric paints beautify and protect concrete.
Versatile and cost-effective, concrete patios and walkways are ever more popular today. Proper maintenance and care insures the patio and walk will remain pleasing to the eye as well as functional for years to come.