Handyman: Prep driveways and walkways for winter

Glenn Haege

The way our past two winters have been, there is a good chance we will have another round of severe weather to deal with in the coming months. That is why it’s vital to do preventative maintenance on your concrete or asphalt driveways and walkways to help extend their life and eliminate potential problems.

First, let’s take care of some correct verbiage. There are two kinds of cuts in your sidewalk and driveway concrete. Saw cuts that go one-quarter to one-third of the way through the slab and are not filled in are known as control joints.

The spaces between slabs filled with some kind of material between them are called an isolation or expansion joint. When weeds and grass start to grow in these, they need attention.

“It is important to seal them with a polyurethane sealant to keep the water from pouring in under the driveway, which causes hollow spots and leads to the concrete lifting and cracking when the water freezes,” said Dino Stathopoulos, a crew leader and foreman for SAS Services, (248) 546-2345,

Some sealants include Quikrete’s Self-Leveling Polyurethane Sealant,; Sikaflex Crack Flex Sealant by Sika,; or Loctite PL S10 Polyurethane Concrete Crack & Masonry Sealant,

Before starting any maintenance on your concrete driveway or walkway, clean it. To remove the oil, gasoline and transmission fluid stains, try Simple Green,, or Contractors Solvent by Orange-Sol, And while specialized cleaning products will do the job, Stathopoulous said you may have the perfect cleaning solution right under your kitchen sink. “To clean up spots on driveway, good old Dawn dish soap will also do a good job of lifting the dirt and stains right out,” he said.

For uneven concrete, you can have the slab replaced, or you can level slabs through a process called concrete lifting, where the contractor drills holes in the slab and injects a polyurethane formulation under it. This process is called PolyLevel and is cheaper than replacing the concrete. It is available exclusively from Foundation Systems of Michigan, (877) Dry-Mich,

If you have an asphalt driveway, start by cleaning the driveway with an all-purpose cleaner such as DeWitt’s Degrease It, (800) 962-8599, Then clean out any cracks and depressions in the driveway and fill them with rubberized crack filler like DeWitt’s Leveling ‘N’ Crack patch.

Now you are ready to seal it with rubberized asphalt-emulsion-based sealers such as DeWitts line of DS-2000, 4000 or 5000 products. You also can consider sealers such as Black Jack by Gardner Gibson,, and Latex-ite driveway sealer from Dalton Enterprises,

One thing to remember is that while sealing a driveway is easier to do when the weather is cooler, you need to be aware of the nighttime temperatures, because if it drops below 50 degrees it could impact the length time the sealer needs to fully dry.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.