You may think of your driveway purely in terms of utility (if you think of it at all), but the truth is that driveway appearance also matters a great deal. A poorly kept-up driveway can spoil the overall effect of your landscaping efforts, as well as contribute to a negative first impression for a potential homebuyer. For these reasons, it’s important to keep driveway cleaning and maintenance in your regular rotation of outdoor chores.
For many homeowners, driveway discoloration and splotches are a scourge that they are eager to eliminate. Leaks and stains on your driveway are not only unsightly, but also prone to reappearing over and over unless you deal with their root causes. Persistent oil leaks keep a lot of driveways from looking their best, so do all you can to solve the problem at the automotive level before investing time and money in a comprehensive cleanup. The same goes for other kinds of staining and surface damage: take time to investigate the sources. An improperly directed sprinkler system, for instance, can be the culprit of driveway rust stains and other mineral deposits.
Beyond stain removal, driveway maintenance routines will depend on whether you have a concrete or asphalt driveway. If it’s asphalt, reseal it every few years. On a clear, dry day, start by soaking up any oil stains with kitty litter and cleaning away other marks with a TSP (trisodium phosphate) washdown. Then use asphalt-compatible products to fill cracks, gaps and holes, and use a disposable squeegee to apply an airport-grade latex sealer over the entire surface. Make sure that the forecast is clear for the applying and drying time, since rain will cause the sealer to run onto sidewalks and streets, leaving unremovable stains. Follow with a generous drying period (up to a couple of days if possible), and you’ll have an attractive automotive entrance.
Concrete driveways don’t need much maintenance outside of the occasional washing and oil-stain soak-up. If a kitty litter application doesn’t do the job or you have a stain that’s been sitting for quite a while, take out the TSP and mix it to a paste-like consistency and apply it to the stubborn stain. After letting the mixture sit for a bit, you’ll be able to rinse any signs of grease and oil away right along with it.
Although your driveway may seem like a relatively low-profile element of your home’s exterior, you’d be surprised how much of an impact it can have. Keeping your driveway clean and well maintained will go a long way towards creating curb appeal.