Imprinted concrete provides a tremendous opportunity to construct unique and compelling driveways to help a property stand out. So, what are the critical components in creating imprinted concrete driveways that will deliver quality, aesthetics and durability?
Thorough preparation and careful installation
To produce imprinted concrete driveways of the highest quality, the most crucial step to get right is the preparation of the sub-base, which typically consists of densely compacted crushed aggregate. When the base is stable, it requires intense concentration and caution to pour and lay the wet concrete. Demonstrating patience at this stage will help produce a consistent finish. While the concrete is wet, the expert will apply the pattern using a set of printing mats containing rigid and flexible versions to ensure all corners and edges of the driveway are printed.
Avoid patchy colouring
One of the primary benefits of imprinted concrete driveways is the dazzling array of colours you can incorporate into the design, so it’s vital the ensure the colour is consistent throughout. An antique release agent and colour surface hardener are used in combination to produce a myriad of finishes. The release agent and surface hardener come in liquid and powder form, but it’s essential to ensure even distribution across the concrete. The release agent also allows the mats to peel easily from the concrete. Once the concrete has been set, the release agent is rinsed away, leaving you with a uniform finish.
Two factors in securing the longevity of imprinted concrete driveways
As mentioned earlier, creating a stable sub-base is critical for any driveway, and beneath that is known as the sub-grade. The sub-grade is typically soil but can occasionally be made of stone, and it must merge successfully with the sub-base to form a stable foundation that will endure. The concrete mix used in the driveway construction must be correct to minimise the possibility of concrete cracking. Using the right amount of concrete for an adequate level of thickness to provide strength is also an important consideration.
Ways to minimise cracking
There are several methods that some builders will employ to attempt to minimise the likelihood of cracks appearing in concrete or even encourage it to crack in easier-to-repair areas. Slip membranes are used in driveways to let the concrete move, reducing the build of pressure and decreasing the chances of cracks forming on the surface. Contraction joints allow the concrete to crack in weaker areas such as corners, but only beneath the surface to not spoil the look of the driveway finish.
Protect the finish and reduce maintenance
Once the driveway has been poured, coloured, printed and set, it’s best to seal in the finish with a solvent-based acrylic sealer. Solvent sealers penetrate the concrete surface more comprehensively than water-based sealers and provide robust and lasting protection. It’s advisable to reapply a seal to your driveway every four to five years to maintain its fantastic finish. Contact our team today if you’re interested in exploring the end possibilities of imprinted concrete driveways for your property.