To repair cracks in the driveway, begin by cleaning the area. Patch with crack filler (a caulk-like compound) available at home improvement stores. After applying the compound, smooth the area using a putty knife.
Tip: For extra traction on the driveway, spread sand onto the wet sealer before it dries.
For larger areas use cold-patch compound. Follow product directions; more than one layer may be needed. Tip: Flatten the patch by laying a piece of plywood over the repair and drive over it several times.
The difference between asphalt and compound – Asphalt is flexible and may require several layers of application. Asphalt does not spread as easily as concrete and is generally weaker. Concrete is available in a wide variety of colours and textures. Concrete lasts 10 to 15 years longer than asphalt and is a rigid product. Compare prices before making your selection.
Concrete is no longer limited to the garage floor. Consider choosing cement countertops for the bathroom or kitchen. Cement countertops are made of sand, aggregate and water. Add glass pieces, mosaics or fossils to customize a design for your home (colour choices are endless).
Tip: Choosing cement for the backsplash instead of the entire countertop is also an option.
Disadvantages to cement countertops include: hard-to-clean surfaces – it is porous and therefore improper sealing can lead to stains. Cutting directly on the cement will cause marks on the surface.
To fight mildew stains on cement, make a solution: 1/2 cup bleach combined with 1 gallon water. Apply using a spray bottle.
Cement glue can be removed from furniture by applying cold cream, salad oil, peanut butter or WD-40 to the area (test on inconspicuous area first to avoid staining). Zap grease stains on concrete floors. Start with a stiff brush. Sprinkle the wet concrete with dishwasher detergent. Let stand for five minutes and pour boiling water onto the area. Scrub and rinse.
Muriatic acid is also a concrete floor cleaner although extreme caution must be used with this product. Apply the acid onto the floor and scrub (follow instructions on bottle).
Tip: Muriatic acid can be added to water but water cannot be added to muriatic acid.
Cat litter is another grease stain fighter for concrete. Work cat litter onto area until the stain fades. Sweep the area and spray on oven cleaner. Leave for 10 minutes, rub with a stiff brush and rinse using a pressure washer.
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Tip: Alternatively use wood shavings in place of kitty litter.
To clean stucco or brick, make a solution of 1 tbsp. dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup borax and 1 gallon water. Spray the area with the solution and scrub.
Tip: TSP (trisodium phosphate) and a pressure washer also work well to clean stucco or brick.
Tip: To remove a white powdery buildup on brick or concrete, scrub with one part muriatic acid to eight parts water. Rinse.
Give your concrete floor a lift with fresh paint. Sweep, vacuum and wash the surface using muriatic acid. Follow the directions on the bottle. Choose a paint that is two parts epoxy and speak to your paint dealer about proper application. Seal the floor and add a protective gloss finish i. e. liquid acrylic finish.
Concrete floors and driveways can be sealed to
prevent staining. Concrete is porous, and without sealing it absorbs stains. Floors must be clean before sealing. Follow paint dealer’s instructions before applying sealer. Keep in mind that the surface cannot be walked on for two to three days after application.
To remove glue from concrete surfaces, begin by heating the area with a hair dryer or heat gun. Next apply a contact cement solvent, rinse with warm water.
To remove cement from fabric, scrape off residue, apply WD-40 to the stain; scrub and wash (do not toss the item into the dryer unless the stain is gone). If the stain remains, purchase a cement solvent but read the label before applying the product to a textile.
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Reena Nerbas is a professional speaker and the author of three national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Gift Packs are available online or by calling: 204-320-2757.