Clearing snow and ice from your driveway is a nuisance for all homeowners, especially when sub-zero temperatures and the falling white stuff are relentlessly working in tandem to create dangerous and seemingly impenetrable icy conditions. But as tiresome as it is to keep your concrete driveway clear during the winter, proper upkeep is essential to not only prevent slips and falls, but to lengthen the lifespan of your driveway.

As tempting as it is to cover the surface with quick-melting salt to prevent those shoveling-induced aches and pains, it really is best to avoid using salt on cement driveways.

The salt can cause the concrete to crack over time, and that will make more than your back ache when it comes to the expense of repairing it.

The damaging de-icing chemicals can also do a number on any plants in the vicinity of your driveway and corrode the metal on your car.

So if not the simple solution of using salt, what’s a winter weary homeowner to do? Instead, opt for tossing some kitty litter or sand on the slippery stuff. The kitty litter grit helps provide traction for you and your car while the sun works to heat up the sand, creating pockmarks in the ice and thus, making it easier to remove it afterward.

It’s also important to remove snow and ice from your driveway as soon as possible, because the freezing and thawing process can cause the driveway to crack.

If you have a snow blower or hire a professional to remove snow and ice from your driveway, ensure that the plow blade is lifted high enough so that it doesn’t scrape and damage the cement.

In the fall, clean any spilled oil or other chemicals on your driveway with a pressure washer and when dry, reseal with a high quality product to further protect your driveway from the ravages of winter.