You’ve had a beautiful new cement driveway installed, and pulling into your home has never been easier. But you know that overtime any cement driveway can crack. How do you protect your cement and keep it looking good for longer? There are a few steps you can take, and we’ll explain them below.
By the way, while the terms cement and concrete are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Concrete contains cement as well as other materials, which make it stronger. Most likely, you have an entirely concrete driveway, and that’s what our tips will be most useful for.
The absolute best thing that you can do to keep your cement driveway from cracking is to make sure that your professionals installed it correctly the first time. There are a few things that your cement contractor needs to do in order to ensure your driveway won’t crack, including:
- Base prep and compaction: Cracks can occur if the ground below the driveway shifts, but base materials can cushion the driveway from this effect. So, using the right amount of base material and compacting it properly is essential.
- Proper water content: If your concrete has too much water, it will evaporate and cause shrinking and cracking. Too little water and it could be brittle and more prone to cracking too.
- Wait for curing: Your contractor should tell you how long it will take for your cement to cure. In that time, you and them should leave the driveway alone as much as possible so that you avoid making small impressions which increase the odds of cracks.
Along with those basics, there are also additional steps that your contractor can take in order toprotect your driveway from cracking further, including:
- Add control joints: Control joints are orderly gaps in the concrete which allow it to more easily expand and contract with changes in temperature. This is like a relief valve for the concrete which prevents cracks.
- Use reinforcement: You can reinforce your driveway internally with steel reinforcements. They add strength and prevent some crackingwhen they are the right size for the specific load your driveway will hold.
What if your concrete driveway installation has already happened? There are three main things you can do to keep it in better condition. We explain below.
Protect from Weight
Your driveway was likely designed and installed for average-weight vehicles. You should avoid driving or parking any of these heavy objects on the driveway:
- Work vehicles that are heavier than the average van
- Heavy equipment like excavators, bulldozers, etc.
- Large portable storage containers
- Moving vehicles
While it can be inconvenient to park these things on the street or try to get them in your backyard without touching the driveway, it is much better for your driveway.
Protect from Trees
When given enough time, tree roots can make a mess of most things. Normally they are not attracted to the driveway itself, but they might seek nourishment nearby. Choose smaller trees for your property and make sure they are away from the concrete.
Fix Small Cracks
The absolute best thing you can do for your driveway is to fix small cracks before they get larger.