Regular maintenance and care of your concrete and masonry work is important for every home owner. Luckily, it is pretty easy to keep up as long as you know what to use.
Concrete- Concrete is especially easy to maintain. Power washing about every three months is likely to keep it stain free. If there is a spill of oil, grease or gas then make sure to wash it off immediately. For more stubborn stains use a bit of sand and non metallic brush. Using course salt is also an option, but it will wear on your sealant faster and can cause discoloration in newer concrete.
Hardscapes- The most basic form of care for your hardscape areas is making sure the drains and drainage areas are clear and cleaned out. Depending on the weather and your surrounding greenery they should be cleaned about every 3- 6 months. Before rainy months is especially important. Excess water will cause slippage and movement of your stone/rock/etc. As for stains using a mild dish soap with a bucket of water should do the trick. Try not to use anything too abrasive to avoid scratching.
Sealing- Sealing your concrete or masonry surfaces is a personal choice. It is true that the sealant will protect against water and most damage, but it can change the feeling of the surface and sometimes the color will vary slightly after. In high traffic and harsh weather conditions it is definitely a good idea to use a sealer. Before the winter months especially. High quality sealant should last at least two years and can last up to four, depending again on the traffic and weather conditions. Cleaning sealed concrete should be handled the same way as regular concrete for the most part. However, using things like salt and sand should be avoided. A sponge or course towel should do the trick.
Hopefully as we approach these winter months you find your home looking as beautiful as ever.