Got Tire Marks?

From the most humble abode to mansions on the hill, Sundek Decorative Concrete Dealers throughout the United States have installed over a million square feet of Sundek decorative concrete coatings on driveways over the years.

These property owners primarily desire two things:
1) Increased Curb Appeal – In my forty years of Sundek history, I have always enjoyed receiving comments from happy customers of “how pleased they are with the awesome drive up appeal that Sundek provides” – after all the front of your property is a major announcement point for visitors!
2) Sundek Decorative Concrete Solutions – Each of our Sundek Decorative Concrete Solutions for driveways is durable enough to withstand vehicular traffic yet elegant in a variety of colors, patterns and designs.

From time to time, our customer care team receives phone calls inquiring if there is anything that can be done regarding the black tire marks that occur on their gorgeous Sundek driveway. The problem is not so much about the Sundek product performing but a situation that can occur on natural concrete  as well.

A recent article posted on ConcreteNetwork.com by Chris Sullivan provides a good summary of the chemical process behind tire marks.  He wrote,
Tire-marks2-150x150

“This is a phenomenon called “plastizer migration.” Plastizers are polymer compounds added to rubber, glue and plastic to make them flexible. The rubber used to make car tires contains plastizers to improve traction. But when the car is driven, the tires heat up, causing the plastizers to soften and leach out of the tire. When a hot tire is parked or driven on certain types of sealers, the plastizers migrate into and discolor the sealer. The better the tire quality, the higher the quantity of plastizer—and the greater the chance for hot tire marking. Lower-quality tires are harder and contain less plastizer, so they usually result in less hot tire marking on sealers.”

Now that we understand “why” tire marks occur, let’s chat a little about what we can we do about the problem? Here are some of the better solutions that seem to work the best and won’t harm the Sundek finish coat:

  • Concrete Degreaser may be all that’s needed, depending on the level of discoloration. Can be purchased at any auto part or big box store. I have been told Wal-Mart has a great driveway cleaner that works better than anything else.
  • Simple Green – safe and easy to work with. Can be obtained just about anywhere.
  • Automotive brake cleaner – You can buy at any auto parts store, grocery store for a few bucks.  Spray it directly on the tire marks and they dissolve.
  • Citrus Cleaners – these work pretty well – especially when the tire mark is fresh and not embedded into the sealer. You can find it at any big box store and most grocery stores and it is safe to work with.

This is a good list of safe, easy to use and products that are readily available to help you tackle those pesky tire marks and won’t harm the Sundek surface.  Please follow the manufacturer’s directions and safety guidelines for each product. Also, I recommend these products for use on concrete that does not have a Sundek coating as well.

 

A word of caution: I have tried a couple of remedies such as “Goof Off,”  paint thinner and few other “miracle” products, however, they were too hard on the Sundek finish coat, too expensive, and didn’t work any better than the options described so stay away from these.

Pressure Washing Option – The recommended products listed above can also be used as a pre-soaking treatment for further mechanical action such as the use of a pressure washer.  Once you have applied the cleaning product, scrub with a stiff brush and rinse with a high power spray nozzle to rinse away the gunk.  Tire marks that are more stubborn may take more than one treatment.  Pressure washing on a timely basis is a good maintenance practice, but may not get the really stubborn tire marks off.

Not a do-it-yourselfer?  Not everyone has a pressure washer or willing to go rent one.

Some Sundek dealership locations offer pressure washing services on a seasonal basis.   

If you arePicture11 considering a Sundek decorative concrete coating for your driveway, I recommend you spend time with your local Sundek Representative and tap into their valuable bank of experience.  Get their recommendations for the best colors, textures and Sundek finishes to combat or blend with those inevitable tire marks.

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