Driveway, Walks & Patios

Your concrete or asphalt driveways, walks and patios help give your home that extra curb appeal. They get a lot of use over time, and expand and contract in different weather conditions, which can cause them to crack. Learn how to maintain and repair these surfaces, so they’ll keep looking good in the years ahead.

Care and Maintenance

Follow these care and maintenance suggestions for your home’s driveways, walks, and patios.

Asphalt Driveways

Apply a sealcoat mixture every two years to protect the surface, fill in crevices, maintain the appearance of your driveway, and help keep water from penetrating and deteriorating the asphalt.

Keep the driveway free from gasoline and motor oil. This will help prevent deterioration of the driveway.

Fill any cracks with asphalt filler as soon as they show.

Never park bicycles or set outdoor furniture on asphalt. The sharp ends of a kickstand or chair legs can put holes in the asphalt.

Concrete Walks and Patios

Many walks and patios are constructed from concrete. All concrete structures crack slightly as they expand and contract. Control joints have been provided in your walks and patios to minimize this cracking characteristic. However, all concrete walks and patios develop small cracks.

Your patio surface treatment is a blend of portland cement, silica sand, and specially formulated resins, and it may also have a 100 percent acrylic topcoat stain. The following recommendations will help you maintain a long-lasting patio surface.

To clean the surface

Wash the entire surface on a weekly basis to remove surface contaminants such as dirt, salt, and other airborne particles. Don’t use more than a garden hose and water. Check with your local water authority first to make sure you are allowed to wash these surfaces.

Clean the entire surface using a household detergent once a month, if necessary. Rinse thoroughly.

To maintain the surface

Use plastic, fiberglass, or rubber-coated patio furniture to reduce damage to the surface treatment. Steel furniture can damage the coating.

Touch up any damage to the coating right away with a 100 percent acrylic topcoat stain. Immediately rinse away any acidic materials spilled on the surface using plain water.

Consider sealing your concrete surfaces with a good-quality sealer to protect the surface and the finish from water, road salt, and oil stains.

Improper use of a power washer can damage concrete coatings and finishes.

Avoid contact with acids or acidic materials.

Don’t apply salt to concrete or asphalt; salt deteriorates the surface of these materials. Use sand instead to provide traction in slippery conditions. Use floor mats near exterior doors to keep sand from being tracked into your home.

To fill small cracks in concrete flatwork

Concrete flatwork can develop small cracks 1⁄8- to 1⁄2-inch wide in cases of severe frost or changes in the grade around your home. These cracks are ordinarily of no serious consequence; they just detract from the appearance of your flatwork. However, small cracks can potentially lead to real problems down the road if left unsealed. Prevent them from becoming a costly repair by inspecting concrete flatwork in early spring and applying a concrete crack sealer to any small cracks. Concrete crack sealer is easy to apply and readily available at any home care center.

To repair small cracks in concrete flatwork, follow these steps:

1. Roughen any edges of the crack that are smooth using a tool such as a wire brush or cold chisel.

2. Clean out any dirt, organic matter, or concrete chips from the crack using a tool like a masonry brush, heavy paintbrush, or shop vacuum.

3. Measure the depth of the crack. If it is deeper than 1⁄2 inch, fill up the crack with sand or backer rod to within 1⁄4 inch of the surface. If the crack isn’t deeper than 1⁄2 inch, just move on to the next step.

4. Fill the crack with a concrete crack sealer available at any home care center, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Overfill the crack slightly to allow for shrinkage.

Apply concrete sealer when the outdoor temperature is between 45°F and 100°F. Also, apply concrete sealer only when rain isn’t expected within the next 24 hours.

If Your Home Is Part of a Homeowners Association (HOA)

Check with your HOA regarding maintenance, and be familiar with all HOA documentation.