Maintenance. It’s one of the true joys of home ownership.

OK, perhaps that was a little tongue in cheek, but the fact remains that most parts of your home need regular TLC to remain in top working condition.

Concrete is no exception. Whether you have a traditional brushed-concrete driveway or the newest in pervious concrete technology in your patio, regular maintenance is a must.

Based on our concrete experience in Whatcom County, here are our best tips for ensuring your concrete installation looks good and works well for as long as possible.

Traditional concrete:

In general, the maintenance of traditional concrete is a straightforward process. At least once a year, use a broom and then a pressure washer to remove dirt, grime and stains from the concrete. After a single pass with a pressure washer, you’ll be amazed at how much cleaner the concrete looks already.

After washing, it’s a good idea to seal the surface to repel water (which can infiltrate the concrete and cause cracks) and dust. Use a sealer that also repels UV radiation from sunlight, as it can weaken concrete over time, resulting in a higher propensity for cracking or spalling.

If concrete does crack, you’ll want to repair it as soon as possible. Water penetration through cracks, in addition to weeds (helllooooo, dandelions!) growing in them, can accelerate the widening of cracks and harm not only the concrete surface, but the substrate as well.

Finally, it’s important to periodically seal the joints, as well, to repel weeds and water.

Pervious concrete:

Pervious concrete serves the additional function of providing a draining surface for rainwater, so maintenance will be a tad different.

For starters, it’s important to inspect it often to ensure that the concrete isn’t clogging. Use a broom or blower to regularly (at least once a month and after every big windstorm) clear the concrete of any debris, such as leaves, pine needles, mud and dirt.

Then, as with traditional concrete, it’s a good idea to use a pressure washer at least once a year to remove sediment that can clog the concrete’s pores.

Oh, and don’t ever pile dirt, sand or yard waste on the concrete, as it can sink into and clog the much-needed voids in the pervious concrete. Also, keep chemicals — including motor oil and antifreeze — away from the concrete, as this can soak through and contaminate the groundwater.

With regular love and attention, concrete can stay looking — and working — like new for years after installation.

Of course, if you feel that your concrete is already beyond saving, give the professionals at Custom Concrete a call! We’d be happy to swing by and take a look.