Whether you are pouring new concrete or looking to repair an existing surface there are many options to transform drab concrete into an inviting, decorative surface that will provide character to your driveway or patio and compliment the exterior of your home.
There are many conditions that can shorten the lifespan of a concrete driveway, patio,or walkway and result in unsightly cracking, discoloration, settlement or scaling. The typical causes of concrete distress include an improperly compacted subgrade, exposure to severe weather conditions, the use of an inadequate concrete mix, or bad placement procedures. As long as the driveway or patio is structurally sound, you can often save money by repairing rather than starting over.
If there is damage to the concrete, the first and most important step is to figure out what caused the damage and then determine the best repair procedure. Depending on the condition of the concrete and your budget, your options for repair and transformation range anywhere from a simple color enhancement to complete resurfacing.
Concrete is simply a mixture of Portland cement, aggregate like stones and sand, and water. The water reacts with the cement and forms a bond which binds the cement to aggregate to form a very hard structure. Concrete was used thousands of years ago but has improved dramatically in the last 100 years. It is used in roads, sewers, buildings, bridges, tunnels, and even boats. Protecting it and enhancing it has become an industry all its own.
The best solution to cracking, scaling, or spalling is a concrete overlay. This process will not only cover up the existing flaws, it will give your concrete an upgraded look and allow you to choose from a variety of color and pattern options.
Concrete engraving is an enhancement to the surface using a stain and a special routing machine used to cut a pattern into the surface. Engraving can be done with new or old concrete. The end result is a surface that has the appearance of brick, marble, tiles, or flagstone.
Applying a coat of acid or water based stain will add color to new concrete or take care of any discoloration that has occured to an existing surface. Discoloration of concrete driveways can be due to a number of causes including improper color application, weathering, sun exposure, and absorption of stubborn grease and oil stains.
1.Solid-Color Stain: The best option for a dramatic change in the color of your concrete is a water based stain that will penetrate into the concrete rather forming a surface film. Once cured this stain will provide a natural colored concrete look. The concrete will need to be free of all other sealers and coatings prior to application in order for the stain to penetrate properly. No additional sealer is required for this process, but can be used if desired.
2.Transparent/ Semi-Transparent Stain: This is the best option for a subtle change in color. As with the solid color stain, the concrete will need to be free of all other coatings to allow it to penetrate the concrete. A sealer is typically used to lock in the color. Translucent Stain offers a natural look which will highlight the natural variations in concrete. This can be used in multiple color combinations to achieve a unique multi-toned appearance.
Concrete doesn’t have to be sealed, but sealing it will help preserve appearance and structural integrity. Concrete sealing is especially important to maintain the appearance of concrete that has been colored, stamped or engraved. There are several different types of concrete sealers to choose from: Epoxy or polyurethane sealers, Acrylic-resin based sealers, and penetrating sealers. Please consult a professional for advice on which concrete sealer is the best option for you.