If springtime is for housecleaning, fall is a great time for concrete maintenance. A good Saturday of concrete maintenance should be on your annual calendar to ensure that your investment stays in great shape and works like it’s supposed to.

Here are four things you can do each year to keep your concrete in top shape:

Ensure gutters and downspouts are in good working order. The first step is to keep your gutters clean and free of clogging debris, such as oak and maple leaves, cedar seeds and pine needles. Doing so helps ensure that rainwater goes where it’s supposed to. A leaking gutter can result in a persistent drip that will damage your concrete. Overflowing gutters and disconnected downspouts also can leave water to seek its own path. Water that flows over pervious concrete can deposit silt and other detritus, quickly clogging the concrete. Water that flows under or around a slab can undermine the integrity of the substrate, leading to failing concrete.

Remove pine needles, leaves and dirt from pervious concrete. Pervious concrete works by allowing rainwater and runoff to filter through the pores in the surface into the substrate below. Maintaining the ability for water to flow freely through pervious concrete requires visual inspections, seasonal sweeping/blowing and deeper cleaning one or two times per year. During autumn, when leaves and seeds are falling, is an important time for cleaning. Think of it this way: If you need to clean out your gutters, you need to clean your pervious concrete surfaces, too.

Avoid the use of chemical deicers or salts. Chemical deicers and salts are damaging to concrete — some of them significantly so. Most deicers work by making their way underneath the ice and dissolving into a brine that loosens the ice’s hold on the underlying surface. But certain chemical compounds in that brine can be damaging for concrete. Ideally, any deicer that is used on top of concrete should be completely free of salt and magnesium and calcium chloride compounds.

Dig deeper: What can be used instead of salt and chemical deicers?

Remove snow as soon as possible. The best defense against ice is a good offense. Preventing ice from building up in the first place is the best way to keep from having to resort to using chemical deicers on your driveway. Invest in a good snow shovel or snow blower and use it — as soon as the snowfall is complete — to remove snow from your concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios. You don’t want the snow to freeze to the concrete and start a freeze/thaw cycle, as that can be damaging to concrete.

For more concrete maintenance tips and questions, check out the Custom Concrete website or give our office a call.