Winterize a Driveway or Sidewalk Before it Snows

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Hurry and get these done before the first snowflake flies!

Snow blow driveway winterizationFamily Handyman

Ready to hunker down for winter? Not yet. There are a handful of important winterization tasks to perform around the house, inside and outside. One thing on your list should be prepping the driveway, sidewalks and other concrete or asphalt surfaces before the snow starts flying.

Snow, ice and freezing temperatures can do serious damage to concrete and asphalt, leading to large cracks, potholes and accelerating their deterioration. But it’s easy enough to protect those surfaces.

Get Your Driveway and Sidewalks Ready Before it Snows

Before the snow flies, break out the power washer and give your driveway and sidewalks a good cleaning. If you have a concrete patio, clean that off too. After that, inspect those surfaces to identify cracks, spalling or other problem areas that need to be fixed before the depths of winter arrive.

Patch and Repair Concrete

Even the smallest cracks and surface spalling can turn into big problems during winter. Concrete is a porous surface.  When moisture gets into the cracks and the temperatures dip below freezing, it expands, causing the cracks to widen. On concrete slab sidewalks and patios, the moisture can seep into the ground underneath, resulting in an uneven surface.

Before winter sets in, take some time to inspect surfaces and find the cracks or other damaged spots that need attention. Usually, you can fix concrete cracks yourself. Sometimes it’s as easy as filling the cracks with a sealant like a durable polyurethane caulk made for concrete.

If your concrete surface is spalling, when the surface is flaking away, you may need to do some additional repairs to extend the life of it. You can fix spalling concrete by resurfacing it. Like cracks, concrete spalling can leave it vulnerable to water damage.

Seal Concrete and Asphalt Surfaces

After the cracks are filled and the surfaces fixed, it’s time to seal the concrete surface. Sealing your driveways and sidewalks, or any other outdoor concrete surface, protects it from the elements. In the winter, that will help mitigate damage from snow and ice seeping into the concrete and breaking it apart.

This doesn’t just apply to concrete driveways. It’s important to seal an asphalt driveway before winter.

Mark Your Driveway and Walkways

Mark your walk and driveway perimeters by pounding in driveway markers. If the ground is frozen, just drill a hole using a masonry bit and your battery-powered drill.

Driveway-Marker drill frozen groundFamily Handyman

Staking out along the curb is also helpful for protecting your lawn because snow plow operators have no reference point to tell where the roadway ends and your lawn edge begins. Your lawn and every other thing hidden by snow are at risk of being struck by the plow blade. However, you can easily avoid this costly damage by staking your lawn with driveway markers for the winter.

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