How to Maintain Concrete: Everything You Need to Know

Cleaning and maintaining your concrete surfaces properly not only ensures they will look beautiful for years to come, but it can also save you money in the long run and prevent moss and algae from building up and making your concrete slippery.

One of the reasons decorative concrete is so popular is that it’s super low-maintenance and durable. That said, no paving material is truly maintenance-free, and that includes concrete. Here’s how to maintain concrete to make it last:

Treat Your Concrete with Care

There’s no doubt that concrete is one of the most durable and damage-proof materials you’ll find used in construction. That said, no material is perfect, and it’s still important to take precautions to stop concrete from cracking and make sure it isn’t put under unnecessary pressure.

Try to avoid subjecting your concrete to very heavy machinery and vehicles to help prevent cracking. Also take precautions and be as careful as possible when you’re shoveling or plowing your concrete surfaces in the snow, as metal tools can cause damage, especially with repeated use.

Stamped concrete driveway

Clean Regularly

Regularly cleaning your concrete can keep it looking like new for years to come by preventing dirt, moss, algae, and other debris from building up over time. Fortunately, cleaning concrete doesn’t take a lot of work as long as you’re consistent about it.

For regular cleaning, a push broom or garden hose will generally get the job done. Keep in mind, though, that debris is more likely to accumulate during certain times of year. When leaves fall in autumn, for example, your concrete surfaces are likely to collect more debris, and they may be a little harder to clean if wet leaves pile up.

You can also prevent moss and algae from building up by increasing the amount of sun your concrete gets. Trimming back tree limbs or other plants that shade your patio or driveway can help.

Reseal Periodically

For more difficult debris that has built up over time, having your concrete professionally pressure washed and resealed is, without a doubt, the best way to keep your concrete surfaces clean, safe, and beautiful. Pressure washing is a relatively quick process, and a professional can remove all the debris and moss that have accumulated over time on your concrete.

Although concrete doesn’t have to be sealed, it can go a long way to preserve the appearance and durability of your surfaces and protect against stains, damage, and cracking. Resealing your concrete surfaces periodically can make regular cleanings much easier and faster as well!

Remove Stains as Quickly as Possible

Although sealing and resealing does a great job of protecting decorative concrete from stains, it’s still important to quickly remove grease, oil, gasoline, and other difficult-to-remove stains as fast as you can.

Alkaline degreasers work well to remove oil and grease. Another way to remove these stains quickly and prevent them from absorbing into your concrete is to use powdered dishwasher detergent. Apply a thick layer of detergent over the stain, let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes, and then scrub the stain with a stiff broom or scrub brush to break down and soak up the grease or oil.

If a stain does absorb into the concrete, pressure washing will usually do the trick.

Avoid Exposing Your Concrete to Harmful Chemicals

Concrete is tough and can withstand a lot of chemicals and wear and tear that other materials can’t. There are certain chemicals and substances, however, that you want to avoid exposing your concrete surfaces to, especially if your concrete has lots of texture where chemicals can accumulate.

Whenever possible, avoid using chemical deicing agents in the winter.Deicers can cause surface damage to concrete driveways and patios by causing moisture to thaw and refreeze repeatedly. The most harmful types of deicers are those that contain ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate, since these chemicals can actually disintegrate concrete.

Other chemicals commonly found in deicers that can be damaging to concrete include:

  • Calcium chloride
  • Sodium chloride (rock salt)
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium acetate
  • Magnesium nitrate

It’s also important to remember that new concrete is more likely to be damaged by salt than older concrete, so it’s a good idea to avoid all potentially damaging chemicals for the first year after your concrete has been poured. Sand is a great alternative to salt during the winter months!

If your concrete has been damaged by chemicals, professional attention can help restore your surface back to its original condition. At GWC, we have a wide range of methods to repair and restore concrete surfaces and prevent future damage.

Do you have concrete surfaces that need to be pressure washed, sealed, repaired, or restored? We can help!

At GWC Decorative Concrete, we have over 75 years of combined experience working with decorative concrete. We have the knowledge, experience, and equipment necessary to restore your concrete to its former glory safely and effectively, and we can help make your concrete surfaces easier to clean and maintain in the future.
If your concrete is in need of attention, call us today at (503) 849-0901 or contact us online and request a free estimate.