So, what are the tell-tale signs it’s time to clean them out? Next time you’re giving them a once-over, look out for these seven warning signs.
We’ve all heard that “curb appeal” is important, but did you know that it can add 3 to 5% to your home’s value? Even if you’re not thinking about selling your home right now, you want it to look appealing to your friends, neighbors, and passers-by.
One of the most noticeable things about the front of your home is your driveway. Unfortunately, this is also a part of the home that often doesn’t get a lot of attention. Despite this, having a clean driveway that looks great isn’t hard, once you know what to do.
Follow these simple steps to make your driveway the envy of all your neighbors.
1. Sweep Up Debris
The first, and probably also the easiest, step is to sweep up any leaves, mulch, or other organic material that has accumulated on the driveway. If you don’t do this regularly, they can leave brown stains on the surface.
If you notice that stains have already occurred, don’t panic. They’ll fade fairly quickly, or you can clean them off fairly easily (see the next step).
2. Remove Unsightly Stains
Stains from organic materials can be removed using ½ cup of liquid dish soap diluted with about 3 gallons of water. First, spray the stained area with the hose, then pour the mixture over the stain. Scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush.
Rinse it again with the hose, then sprinkle powdered laundry detergent over it. Scrub again, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse again. This should make the stains disappear.
You can remove rust stains with muriatic acid, which you can buy at most home stores. This is a dangerous chemical, however, so make sure to use caution and follow the directions on the packaging. You’ll also want to put on some long rubber gloves and wear safety goggles.
Oil stains are another common eyesore that can plague your driveway. You can often remove them by topping them with clay-based kitty litter or sawdust, stomping it down, and letting it sit overnight. Then, sweep it up and rinse it off with the hose.
If that doesn’t work, or you don’t have any handy, you can use other household items like:
- Baking soda
- Oven cleaner
- Powdered laundry detergent
These tend to work best on new stains. For old, tough-to-get-rid-of stains, you’ll need to head to the home store and pick up a stronger stain-remover solution.
3. Power Wash
Once all of the stains have been removed, it’s time to power wash the entire driveway. This should remove any stains that remain and will also help ensure that weeds don’t grow up through any cracks in the driveway.
If you own a pressure washer and are comfortable doing it yourself, then go ahead. Just be careful or you could end up causing damage.
Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional driveway cleaning service. This is the best way to make sure you get great results without the worry.
4. Patch and Seal
If your driveway has cracks or areas that are broken, you’ll want to take this opportunity to patch it up. Since the first step of the patching process is to thoroughly clean the area, you’ll already be ready to get started.
Use a concrete patching compound to fix any problem areas, then make sure to seal the driveway to protect your work.
Driveways that aren’t sealed are more likely to crack. This is especially true if you live in an area where temperatures fall below freezing. Without sealant, water can get into the concrete and create cracks when it expands.
Even in warm climates, it’s a good idea to apply sealant. This will help your driveway withstand high temperatures, the pounding sun, and heavy rains.
Since your driveway is already clean, this is the ideal time to apply a sealant. You’ll have two choices.
A dry-look sealant is more expensive, but it will last up to 10 years. Wet-look sealant is less expensive, but you’ll need to reapply it every 3 to 5 years. However, this type of sealant is also better at repelling oil stains.
5. Keep Up with Maintenance
That’s it! If you follow these steps, you’ll have the immaculate driveway you’ve been dreaming of. Now, you’ll want to take some steps to keep it looking great for as long as you can.
If possible, try to avoid parking on your driveway. If you have a garage that’s large enough to accommodate your family’s cars, it’s worth your time to clean it out. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting fresh oil stains at any time.
If you notice stains, make sure you clean them up right away. Use the method explained above and pressure wash if necessary. This will help ensure that the stain isn’t permanent.
You’ll also want to sweep debris off the driveway regularly. Not only will this make it look nicer, but it will help avoid staining. This will save you some time and money as you won’t have to do a full cleaning as often.
Don’t Have Time to Get the Clean Driveway You’re Dreaming Of? Leave it to the Pros!
Now that you know the steps involved in making sure you have a clean driveway; you may find yourself wondering how you’ll ever make the time to get it done. Don’t worry! The professionals at Outdoor Extreme Clean can take care of everything for you.
If you want to make the front of your home look gorgeous without lifting a finger, contact us today.