Areas with drastically different seasons experience a significant fluctuation in temperatures, in addition to a variety of precipitation and wind. Residents of Atlanta are aware of the ways that harsh weather can affect daily life. One can see the toll it takes on their house, car, and furniture, but they might not have considered the way it affects their concrete driveway.
Concrete driveways are durable and strong, but they are also very porous. Their porous nature makes them susceptible to certain kinds of damage, especially when subjected to freezing temperatures during the winter months. Driveways need proper care to maintain their attractive appearance, increase longevity and prevent the need for a whole driveway replacement.
Winter in Atlanta can be a particularly precarious month for driveway maintenance. Between rapid freezing and thawing, sleet, freezing rain, and snow, driveways and walkways take a lot of damage. Fortunately, there are steps one can take to mitigate the destruction and prolong the life of their driveway. Read on for more information on how homeowners can protect their driveway from harm during winters in Atlanta.
As soon as a person hears sleet, ice, or snow in the forecast, they break out the salt in the hopes of keeping their driveways from getting slippery. However, concrete sustains significant damage when salt is used on it. The same is true for other kinds of deicing chemicals.
The reason that salt and deicing agents are harmful to concrete is not necessarily the chemicals themselves. Instead, using these chemicals can encourage a more rapid freeze and thaw cycle, which can lead to cracks and breaks in the surface of the concrete. It is especially important to avoid the use of salt and deicing agents the first year after a driveway replacement. During this time, the driveway is more susceptible to freezing and thawing damage.
Instead of salt, homeowners can use sand on their driveway to increase traction. Sand can be applied on top of the ice, but it needs to be reapplied if it gets buried by any snow.
Sealing one’s driveway is one of the best ways to prolong its life and protect it during the winter, and the rest of the year, for a variety of reasons, including the following. Sealers repel water, which is the primary source of damage to a concrete driveway. In the winter, the water turns to ice and expands in the pores of the concrete. This expansion creates cracks in the concrete, which are prone to crumbling and breaking once the water thaws again.
Believe it or not, the sun can cause damage to concrete. The harmful UV rays of the sun encourage oxidation, which ages the concrete faster and makes it more susceptible to flaking and cracks. It may be counter-intuitive, but the sun’s rays are most potent during the winter months, so it is even more critical to have the driveway sealed before winter arrives. Additionally, the sun can cause discoloration, making the driveway less attractive. Regularly sealing a concrete driveway protects it from sun damage.
Concrete is porous, which means water has plenty of places to hide inside its cracks and crevices. In Atlanta’s wet weather, this water does not have a lot of opportunities to evaporate, leaving the perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold can discolor concrete, giving it a dirty, green look that dramatically reduces its appeal. Sealing the driveway prevents moisture from getting trapped inside the concrete and inhibits mold growth.
Atlanta does not get a lot of snow accumulation, but it does get sleet and freezing rain. Any amount of freezing, wet precipitation that builds upon a driveway can cause significant damage. As the snow, sleet, or ice melts, it seeps water into the porous concrete. As stated earlier, this water damages the concrete through the freeze and thaw schedule and by facilitating the growth of mold. Homeowners should take care to remove snow and ice build-up from their driveway as soon as possible. The faster the driveway is cleared; the less water will seep in and cause damage.
There is no way to control when a car starts to leak oil or other fluids. Most driveways wind up with an oil puddle or stain on them sooner or later. When the oil from a car mixes with snow and sleet, it can pose a threat to one’s concrete driveway.
The fluids inside of a car are highly acidic and can disintegrate concrete. When combined with water, a concrete driveway is much more likely to develop cracks and flakes. Homeowners must clean their driveway as soon as they notice any fluids from a vehicle present. Homeowners can do a few things to remove these fluids, such as pressure washing, using natural absorbents to soak them up or use chemical cleaners.
One of the best ways a person can protect their driveway from damage is to hire a reputable concrete driveway professional. A driveway that has been appropriately installed and topped with a high-quality seal protects a person’s driveway from the roughest sources of winter damage. Hiring a professional helps a homeowner start off right foot so that they can avoid having to deal with costly repairs or even driveway replacements.
It may not be the arctic, but winter in Atlanta can still be rough on not only people but things made of concrete. The fluctuating temperatures, snow, and ice are detrimental to the longevity of one’s property. Concrete driveways and footpaths are susceptible to these and other environmental factors. Homeowners who take the proper precautions to protect their driveway from the winter weather can get several decades out of it but starting with a properly installed driveway is key.