Do you have a concrete patio, either old or new, that could use a little care? Or maybe you have just gotten one poured and are thinking of ways to keep it as good as new?
One of the real advantages of concrete patios is that, if they’re properly installed and provided with durable coatings, they can be very low maintenance affairs.
There are, however, some measures that you want to take to make certain that your concrete patio retains the beauty it had when it was installed. What’s even better, most of it doesn’t even cost anything.
Your concrete contractor will be able to give you some tips toward keeping your concrete looking new, but here are some of the concrete patio maintenance basics that you want to attend to.
Prevent damage from occurring
One of the best ways to make certain that your concrete patio retains its original luster is to dedicate a bit of time every day to simple cleaning. Get a good broom and sweep off the patio, which will prevent dust and dirt from building up and, eventually, requiring more thorough methods of cleaning.
Obviously, people aren’t going to remember to do this every day. However, if you take at least a couple of times a week and just go out, sweep off the patio and clean off any spots that you see, it will stay looking new for a lot longer and you can avoid having to do more intensive cleanings more frequently.
Another way to prevent future damage is resealing the patio every 3-5 years, depending on the sealer and what kind of beating the patio has to take. When you fix the cracks and keep the patio sealed, it will be good for a long time.
The main thing here is keeping the concrete clean and healthy with little effort now and then. Fallen leaves and other dirt, if left for a long time, might leave some stains that are hard to clean. If you simply blow them off with a broom you don’t have to scrub them later.
Monitor the condition
As stated before, even a surface as durable as concrete will not last forever and, because of that, you have to keep an eye on your concrete patio to look for signs of damage. Cracking can start out very small but, if you don’t get it attended to, it could become a much bigger problem.
What happens eventually is that water gets into those cracks, eventually works its way into the concrete, and can cause damage. It is most often the reason concrete starts to crack when it’s located in a freezing climate. Water gets into the cracks, freezes and expands and so does the crack.
Now, with proper prevention, it won’t happen so fast if at all. If you follow the next guidelines, you can save yourself from bigger repairs.
When you do see a crack, you can take the DIY route and try to fix it yourself. Here is a guide on fixing concrete cracks which works well in all concrete surfaces.
Conversely, you can simply call your local contractor and have them come over and fix the problem and talk to you more about maintenance for concrete patios.
Taking the latter option ensures that the work will be done right and, in the process of doing the work, the contractor can look at the rest of your patio and ensure that there aren’t any other maintenance jobs that need to be attended to.
Pressure washing concrete
Pressure washing is a service that you can have done professionally, or if you like doing a bit of work around the house, it’s actually a fairly enjoyable way to maintain your concrete patio. Not only the patio, but it’s also good for driveways and keeping your foundation clean.
Set the pressure washer to a medium level of intensity so you don’t damage any stamped concrete or other ornamental touches your patio has. Here bigger is not always the better, too much pressure can easily leave marks on your concrete, and decoration would be ruined.
It’s important to remember that the pressure washer can dislodge debris, which could fly up in your face or eyes, so be sure to wear protection when you use one of these devices. Another point not to work with too high pressure, only enough to clean your patio.
Also, be sure to wear clothing that you’re not too concerned about, as you’re likely to get soaked in this process. Depending on the place, even rain clothes might be good. I usually use them when I wash balconies before rendering just to keep myself dry and in good mood.
If you do it right, pressure washing can remove grime and other difficult stains from concrete patios, restoring them to their original beauty and making your investment last longer.
If it seems the stains are too hard to get rid of, try using cleaning solutions before adding more power. There are things like vinegar that can naturally help you remove stains and also commercial products. Just use them as the instructions say and you should be safe.
How to clean concrete without pressure washer
Now that the cleaning solutions are brought into the picture, you don’t always need a pressure washer to get your patio clean. Brush, water, and concrete cleaning solutions can go a long way on any concrete surface.
It’s not as therapeutic as washing with pressure, but you get the job done with proper scrubbing. Water the concrete and get some solution mixed with water on it and start with the rough brush. If it needs to sit on the surface sometime, let it.
After that just wash it off with a garden hose or by pouring water. For most common problems that might do the trick. If you have grease or rust, check this guide and some others on this site.
Maintaining a concrete patio is the key to its long life. If you have already got a decorated or stamped patio, it only makes sense to keep it in good shape to host BBQ parties and such. Or even just to enjoy it yourself.
Remember that doing small tasks now and then won’t feel nearly as bad as doing heavy maintenance 2 times a year. Most often it just takes 15 minutes of your day to do small cleaning.
Also while you’re at it, keep your eye on the concrete condition. If you see some cracks or other problems, take care of them as fast as possible.