Taking care of your driveway may be the last thing on your mind when you first move into a new home. Driveways are a functional space created mainly for vehicles, and to most homeowners, their purpose outweighs their aesthetic value.
But driveways need tender loving care as much as your home needs maintenance and improvement. A sturdy and well-maintained driveway provides a great first impression of your home. At the same time, it adds value to your property, especially when you go to sell your home in the future. Homebuyers prefer well-built and eye-catching driveways.
Cleaning Your Driveway
There are four things to consider when you start fixing or maintaining your driveway, to ensure safety and durability and to keep it looking new for years to come.
Remove Oil Stains
Your vehicles discharge oil and other liquids that can stain your driveway. An old-fashioned way to eliminate oil stains involves clay-based cat litter (some may prefer fresh sawdust instead) that you place directly on top of the stain, stomp on and leave to sit overnight before sweeping the area clean and hosing it down with water. You can also use other common household items, such as baking soda, powder laundry detergents, oven cleaners and even the popular soda Coca-Cola. These items, used separately, can treat fresh oil stains in particular. Older stains that are tough to remove may require more potent commercial stain-removing agents sold in stores.
The usual wear and tear of concrete can invite weeds to grow out of cracks and crevices in your driveway. To avoid these unsightly invaders that can cause damage to your foundation over time if left unattended, you can power wash your driveway. Power washing usually takes care of oil stains and other driveway blemishes quickly. If you own a power washer, you can do it yourself. If you rent one, just make sure you're comfortable with your equipment and take the necessary precautions, including covering the exterior of your house so it doesn't get damaged in the process. Alternatively, you can hire professionals to do the job for you.
Most concrete driveways are built with a white surface, but the color does not stay white for long due to wear from vehicle stains, tire marks, weeds and weather. To maintain the original whiteness, you can use bleach. DIYers can use the simple combination of bleach, water and soap to restore the original white of their driveways; although, there are other cleaning solutions to choose from, including lime and poultice. Oftentimes, these agents do the job with the same results.
Get Rid of Mildew
Mildew is a surface fungus. It grows in driveways due to water deposits that get stuck in the crevices. It also sprouts in damp and unlit areas. Because of the slippery nature of mildew, it can cause accidents and pose a health hazard to anyone who comes in contact with it.
Luckily, it's treatable. To get rid of mildew, apply a solution of bleach and water on contaminated areas before sweeping and hosing them down with water. While cleaning your driveway, be careful not to contaminate your plants or grass with your cleaning solution. It's also ideal to treat mildew on a clear, warm day so the concrete can fully dry, which prevents more mildew growth.
Invest in Your Driveway
Your driveway is the first section of your home that greets guests and entices passersby to take a second look. You make a great impression by showing off a well-kept driveway that's both functional and aesthetically appealing. Invest time, money and effort in your driveway because its renovation adds value to your property.
With today's mortgage rates, you can refinance your home and use the savings to update your driveway. You will benefit from your investment, especially when you're ready to put your upgraded home on the market.