Your driveway is one of the first things people see when they come to your house and as such it often helps formulate people's first impressions of you. What is your driveway saying about you?
The most common stains by far are oil stains. On porous substrates oil will quickly penetrate into the surface and once it goes in it is usually impossible to completely remove. Oil stains will leave the pavement looking darker or wet. This is especially the case on the darker coloured concrete or concrete pavers. Oils at the surface hold onto dust and dirt and as such always look dirty. Even if your car doesn’t leak oil you should consider that anyone who parks, or even turns around in your driveway could drip oil on it. We have also come across a number of cases where there has been a major mechanical failure in an otherwise pristine engine and it has caused significant oil staining.
Like most things prevention is better than the cure. Using a good quality sealer on your driveway will prevent oil from penetrating the surface and as such spills can then be completely removed. It is important to note that many hydrocarbon based products such as oils, diesel and petrol will soften and penetrate into most sealers over time and as such it still pays to clean off the oil stains as soon as practical. Use of harsh cleaners should be avoided so that the seal is not damaged.
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Rust stains are quite common and usually come from one of three main sources. These are bore water, trace elements in granulated fertiliser and rust/mud from vehicles.
Bore water stains are very common in certain areas and preventing spray from water high in iron is the only way to prevent these from occurring. This can be achieved by treating the water to remove the iron, or by preventing it spraying on the driveway.
Many lawn fertilisers contain a number of trace elements which help your grass to grow. One of these is iron and if granules are left on the driveway they will dissolve when they get wet and penetrate into the surface. Those containing iron will leave a small orange/red spot. Lots of granules will leave lots of spots.
Rust stains can also come from or off your vehicle. Off road vehicles can drop mud in the driveway and depending on where you have been these could contain mud. If you’ve ventured anywhere there is red dust, then you are very likely to have a fair amount of iron stuck up under your wheel guards. Water running off from rusty vehicles can also be enough of an iron source to cause staining. Trucks and utes with steel trays seem to be the main culprits.
These are caused by particles of rubber coming off the tyres and being left on the driveway. The amount of rubber left behind depends on many factors including the abrasiveness of the driveway, the softness of the tyre, and the weight of the vehicle. Marks are usually more prevalent in areas where cars turn. Sealing the driveway reduces abrasion and prevents the rubber becoming embedded into the surface of the pavement. In most instances sealing will be sufficient to almost eliminate tyre marking and will make any marks that do form much easier to remove
Tyre Shine Stains
These stains are usually not noticed until the driveway gets wet. Then a number of crescent moon shaped dry patches appear. Most tyre shine products are silicon based. Overspray onto the pavement creates a silicone based seal. Often it’s not the owners who have caused these stains. Most car detailers and some mobile mechanics will use tyre shine on the customer’s cars. Depending on the products used these stains can be very difficult to remove. The good news is that since they don’t leave a visible stain you will only notice them in the wet weather. Better yet, if you’ve had your driveway sealed the wet weather usually won’t darken your pavers as much. Furthermore, the tyre shine is much easier to remove from a sealed surface if it is still noticeable.
Not all sealers are created equal. Some are created almost purely to enhance the look of the paving; some for the purpose of protection and some to repel stains. The majority of sealers do a bit of everything in varying degrees.
Driveways and carports are probably the most physically demanding sealing application in a residential environment. Simply driving across the surface can be very abrasive, particularly if dirt and sand is dragged into the driveway surface. Then there is the extreme friction created when someone steers on the spot. However, apart from someone doing a burnout on your driveway, the most significant stress on the driveway surface is when breaking the grip from a parked car.
When you park up in a driveway, or in your carport, the tyres are hot. As they cool they contract and under the weight of your vehicle the tread grips the surface it’s parked on. When you move the vehicle the tyre will be holding onto the surface and that grip needs to be broken before the car will move. Many filming type sealers will not be able to handle these types of forces, particularly if you park in the same spot and they are subjected to the same stresses day after day. It is not uncommon to see some filming sealers delaminate and peel off the pavement in such situations.
Penetrating type sealers are a really good option as they penetrate deep into the surface and therefore are second to none in terms of adhesion. If you need a wet-look finish some solvent based sealers can be used for driveways although good preparation and application procedures are required to ensure the best possible adhesion is required. With time most wet look effects fade out and therefore it is Mr Blastit’s preference to go with a penetrating type sealer for driveways unless a wet look is non-negotiable.
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