A guide to Imprinted Driveways
The imprinted driveways market has grown significantly since the 1990s. Prior to this there was limited choice available in terms of colouring concrete. Colours were not blended so they tended to be red, black, or yellow – believe it or not, nothing in between.
The advances in colouring concrete technologies really made the imprinted driveways market take off. Whilst the United States were pioneers, they quickly exported their patented technologies around the world and have helped clean up some of the awful ‘crazy paving’ which blights much of the built up areas of the UK.
So what makes imprinted driveways so special?
For many the answer is the relatively low cost (compared to quality block paving and resin), the ease of installation (usually turnaround of a few days) and of course low maintenance. For many, this last feature is a time saver worth paying for – no more weeding!
Of course there is also the wide range of patterns and colours and for the untrained eye it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a pattern imprinted concrete driveway and a ‘real stone’ driveway.
Do imprinted driveways cost a lot?
This depends on whether you get sucked in by some ‘slick sales patter’ or whether you find a high quality installer yourself! It’s been known for some people to pay as much as £150 per square metre and for others to pay as low as £50 per square metre – and everywhere in between. If you see an installation just ask the installers if they do ‘private work’. Be WARNED, however. They may be a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ as they may pass your details onto a sales representative, anyway!
Are imprinted driveways Suds compliant?
Seek advice from your local planning authority on this. Generally, if there is natural drainage (such as a lawn or bedding area) drainage is fine. If, on the other hand, the installation of a new concrete driveway will mean that surface water drainage goes to the public path/road – channel drainage installation (and possibly a soakaway) will be required. DON’T make the mistake of not putting drainage in. Your local authority will not be happy and it will be a costly mistake to fix! Suds is a big deal!
Do imprinted driveways crack and sink?
Unlike sunny California, the UK has extremes in temperature. Concrete (or more specifically the water/moisture within it) expands and contracts due to these extremes.
This may cause cracks.
Similarly, if an imprinted concrete driveway is poorly installed, without due regard for appropriate depth – cracks may appear.
Its’ also poor installation practice to install if the temperature is below 4 degrees or above 30 degrees. Mid range is good, extremes are bad.
A further consideration is cutting expansion joints into concrete once the ‘curing’ process has finished. These help promote cracking (should it occur) along these cut lines.
Sinking should not be a problem as pattern imprinted concrete is usually laid as a whole slab.
Imprinted driveways – What pattern should I choose?
Generally, if you have a small driveway (less than 75 square metres) it’s best to opt for a cobble type design.
There are many variations of cobble available and the decision is really down to personal choice.
In comparison, larger driveway areas always look great with slate or stone effect prints.
More information on patterns?
Read this before starting to clean.
Choose one of these pressure washers to prevent damage to your driveway!