If you live in an area that has cold winter weather along with snow, ice, and other winter hazards, you know it can be difficult to maintain your driveway during the colder months. But driveway maintenance is important if you want to protect the cement or asphalt and maintain your home’s attractive curb appeal. And of course it’s a safety issue during winter, when it’s important to avoid the risks of slipping on ice or snow – either in or outside the car.
A helpful article at e-ssortment offers some basic year-round driveway maintenance tips, including:
- Relocate trees or shrubs that have roots that could eventually threaten the cement or asphalt.
- Create space for snow and other drain-off by edging the sides of the driveway. According to the article: “’Edging’ means that you remove the sod within two to three inches of the cement or blacktop.”
- Periodically seal or waterproof your driveway with a high quality sealing product.
- Keep the cement or blacktop clean year-round with a leafblower and pressure washer. It’s especially important to clean spilled oil or other chemicals that might damage your driveway.
- Avoid using salt on cement driveways in winter, especially during the first year. Salt can lead to cracks in cement and other damage.
- Whether you have a professional plow to remove snow from your driveway or you do it yourself, be sure the plow blade is lifted high enough so that it doesn’t scrape and damage the cement or asphalt.
- Make sure gutters are not draining directly onto your driveway.
- Never park heavy vehicles or equipment on your driveway. It is not built to handle their weight.
ConcreteIdeas.com notes that during winter, it is important to remove snow and ice from your driveway as soon as possible, because the freezing and thawing process can cause the driveway to crack. The article makes the following suggestions:
Avoid using de-icing chemicals, since the chemicals can penetrate the concrete surface and cause damage underneath. While rock salt may not harm your driveway directly, it can harm vegetation in your yard and corrode metal. The best way to add traction to an icy driveway is through the use of kitty litter or sand. If you are resealing your driveway in the fall, you will go far in protecting your concrete from the harmful effects of a snowy winter.
eHow.com offers the following suggestion when it comes to dealing with a driveway that has become a sheet of ice. Use the sun! If you spread sand over the driveway, the sun’s process of heating the sand will create “pock marks” in the ice with ridges and peaks that will simply evaporate away in the sunshine.
If you decide to hire a snow plowing service, you’ll want to be sure that the service will be prompt, trustworthy, within your budget, and a company that makes sure to avoid any damage. WinterisHere.com offers the following advice:
- Collect estimates from several businesses so you can determine the going rate in your area and which companies are within your budget.
- Ask questions about the service. How often to they normally plow? Will you have to call them before they put you on their schedule? What equipment do they use, and are they aware of the steps necessary to avoid damaging your driveway? How do they bill for their services?
- Ask if there are any additional costs. Does the company charge extra for snow or salt? Do they charge more for large snowfalls?
- Make sure to get a written agreement. In any business arrangement, it’s important to get the details in writing. That way, if your expectations are not met, you might be able to get a refund and to hire another service.
Once you make it through the winter, be sure to maintain your driveway year-round. If you have an asphalt driveway, it’s important to make sure it is patched, sealed, and kept clean. DoItYourself.com offers comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for maintenance of asphalt driveways. The site also provides advice for maintaining concrete driveways.
With regular maintenance and careful winter attention, your driveway can remain a safe, attractive, well-kept part of your home.