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How do I remove tire marks from a concrete driveway?

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Quick Answer

Tire marks can generally be removed from a concrete driveway by cleaning the area with a degreaser. If the marks are embedded deeply into the sealant on the driveway, then a solvent is used to loosen the sealant, allowing it to be cleaned. Stripping the sealant is also an option.

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Full Answer

Tire markings are caused by hot tires running over the sealant applied onto the concrete driveway. The sealant contains plastizers, which are added to the tires to make them flexible. As the tires are used, the plastizers heat up, which allows them to leech from the tires. When the leeching plastizer comes into contact with certain sealants used on concrete driveways, they migrate, discoloring the sealant and causing the tire marks. The higher the quality of the tire, the more plastizer tends to be present in the tire formula, making them more likely to cause marking.

To prevent the tire marks from appearing, car owners can switch to harder, lower-costing tires. Driveways can also be covered with denser sealants that are more resistant to marking. These denser sealants are those with greater cross-linking in the resins used. Sealants that are most resistant are the higher-solids acrylics, epoxy sealers or cross-linked polyurethanes.

If using a degreaser and scrubbing the tire marks does not remove them, consider using a pressure washer. Before using the pressure washer, apply degreaser solution as normal, but remove the solution using the pressure washer instead of a scrub brush. Just as with scrubbing, removing severe or deep tire marks may require several reapplications of degreaser and pressure washings.

Removing tire marks from sealed concrete driveways can either be easier or more difficult than removing them from unfinished concrete, depending on the depth and severity of the marks. On sealed concrete driveways, tire marks occur when solvents used in manufacturing the tire exchange with solvents used in manufacturing the sealant, staining the driveway black.

Remove minor tire marks from a sealed driveway using the same strategy used on unsealed driveways. However, if degreasing and pressure washing do not remove the tire marks, use a solvent to remove the marks. If even solvents fail to remove the marks, removing the old sealant and applying a new one is the only way to restore the driveway's original appearance.

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