This pattern imprinted concrete driveway FAQs guide has been written with typical questions potential customers have in mind.
If you have other questions….please let us know here.
Why Should I Choose Pattern Imprinted Concrete?
If you’re looking for a driveway surface that will last, has low maintenance requirements and looks fantastic…why wouldn’t you choose imprinted concrete!
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQs Installation
How long does it take to Install a Pattern Imprinted Driveway?
Based on a driveway area of 100m2 or less, if the weather is dry, and access is good, then groundworks (preparation) can be completed within a few days. Taking ‘concrete pouring’ into account and ‘finishing off,’ a time frame of around 5-7 days is average from start to finish.
Does a Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway Installation cause lots of mess?
Yes! But an experienced and professional contractor/installer will keep this to a minimum. Dust from excavations during the preparation stage will create mess. So, it’s best to keep all windows and doors shut.
At the time of installation, any splashes of wet concrete should be immediately cleaned off walls, garages and fences. The messiest part of a pattern imprinted concrete installation is during the colouring and printing process. Again, it’s important that all windows and doors are kept tightly shut and it’s also a good idea to seal the bottom of doors (including garage doors) with tape.
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An Imprinted Concrete Driveway Installation can create some mess!
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQs -Thickness and Sub base
How thick will the concrete be laid?
100 -125mm (3.9 to 4.9 inches) are the requirements for an installation. The consistency of thickness is important. Pathways and patios may be slightly less thick, as weight-bearing is less important for such areas.
What about the Sub base?
As with all driveways (and any paved surface), the sub-base installation is key to having a stable and long-lasting driveway. An unsuitable sub base installation may be affected by substrate movement…which in turn could cause problems. The ideal depth of a sub-base is 120 mm to 150 mm (4.7 to 5.9 inches).
Again consistency is key. MOT Type 1 stone is best to use for a solid base and this needs to be compacted in layers.
What about edges and drainage?
Edges can be curved either using flexible plastic or using other restrainers such as the increasingly popular ‘bull nose edging.‘
A pattern imprinted concrete installation can also sit flush or slightly raised of a lawn area. There is a wide choice of edging options available with this decorative paving product.
Drainage is usually to channel drainage that sits at the lower points of a driveway/patio area. Most of the time, this is along the front of a driveway, adjacent to buildings, or both.
Recess manhole covers can be easily integrated into most patterns. This makes them almost unnoticeable, as shown below.
Pattern Imprinted Concrete edging using ‘Bull Nose Block’, channel drainage and discreet manhole cover
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQs Cracking and Fading
Can the Pattern Imprinted Surface crack?
A poor sub-base installation can cause instability beneath a concrete surface.
Exposure to hot and cold weather will (like all other materials) cause expansion and contraction. In turn, this may cause ‘hairline’ cracks to appear.
As a pattern imprinted concrete surface is monolithic (laid as one slab) it’s important to cut control (expansion) joints to approximately 25% depth of the surface. These minimise the risks of cracks appearing in the surface.
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Expansion Joint
In our view, most pattern imprinted concrete surfaces do not, repeat do not crack. If cracks do appear they’re generally very slight (hairline). If you are given unrealistic expectations that hot and cold weather will not effect a paving surface (ANY Paving surface) then an alternative paving option such as gravel should be considered. Simple.
Will a Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway Fade?
During a pattern imprinted concrete installation, colour is added to the surface of freshly laid concrete. During this part of the installation, it’s important that colour is laid consistently to prevent any uneven patches of colour.
An ‘even spread’ of colour will go a long way to ensuring you get an outstanding finish.
Exposure to UV from the sun may cause fading but Acrylic-based sealers are applied during the final stages of installation, to protect against this. It’s highly recommended to ‘reseal‘ an area every few years to ensure protection.
How Will I Know When to Reseal?
Have you moved into a property which already has a pattern imprinted driveway/patio?
Q. Does the colour look slightly different in some areas, maybe a little lighter?
A. This is a good sign that the area could do with a reseal.
Q. Did you decide on a pattern imprinted installation yourself?
A. Then a reseal every 2-4 years is best. This will provide protection to the colour pigmentation from UV from the sun.
It’s really easy to make sure an imprinted concrete driveway stays in tip top condition and resealing is key to this.
READ OUR GUIDE TO RESEALING HERE
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQs Colours and Patterns
A wide range of colours are available for imprinted concrete installations. Typically a ‘base colour‘ is blended to create different variations (blends) of colour. This is a major decorative paving advantage of pattern imprinted concrete.
In comparison, other paving products such as resin and block paving are more limited in terms of colour combinations. There are also a wide variety of patterns available and these can be used to incredible effect to create the impression of real stone, slate and cobble.
Variations of stamped concrete cobble designs are popular
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway (FAQs) – Access
Will access be restricted during the installation process?
During the preparation stage of an installation access is no problem. On the day of pouring access is restricted (it’s freshly laid concrete after all!) but a number of options such as access via a neighbour, platforms and boards and the removal of fence panels are all options.
Don’t worry you won’t get stranded!
Access to house after imprinted concrete has been installed
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQs – Weather, SUDs and Waste
Can access be a problem if concrete pouring is delayed?
Some contractors/installers prepare a number of jobs in advance. The preparation stage (excavation, sub-base, and drainage) can be completed in any weather conditions.
Problems and delays may arise if there is a prolonged period of bad weather; this can result in a backlog of jobs waiting for installation. Whilst this can be frustrating, in all fairness, the weather is beyond the control of the best installers out there!
If you are told of such delays, keep in mind that sometimes an installer is unable to specify a date for ‘pouring,‘ due to weather.
Try to get an approximate date from the contractor/installer and ensure that the sub-base surface is compacted well.
Temporary ramps can also be installed to ensure you are still able to park vehicles on your driveway.
How does can the weather impact access/installation?
When weather patterns were more predictable, the summer was generally accepted as the best time to lay. But as we all know in the UK…the one thing that is predictable, is that the weather is unpredictable! So, there’s as much chance of delays due to wet weather in August as there is in October!
The only time a pattern imprinted concrete driveway/patio installation should not be attempted is during extremes in temperature. In freezing conditions water in the concrete mix will…..freeze.
In contrast, in extremely hot conditions the concrete mix will ‘set’ very quickly and it will be too difficult to ensure colour penetration.
What are Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs)
This is guidance was created for adequate drainage, as increased paving of driveway areas (Tarmac, Block Paving and Concrete) has significantly contributed to pressure on public water systems.
Many years ago (before driveways were common) the UK was covered in gardens! Imagine that? Surface water was no problem.
Having a bedding area is good for the environment and nature
After flooding in many areas of the UK, the Government decided to take action and create SUDs.
As a homeowner, the decision to whatever you want to do on your property (for now) is still up to you. If you have any questions around SUDs guidance/regulations contact your local council to check requirements.
Generally, most pattern imprinted concrete installations require drainage (via drainage channels and/or into soakaways.)
It’s rare that compliance with SUDs guidance/regulations is an issue.
What about waste materials taken away from my property?
This is a developing area of concern for all homeowners. The appropriate removal of waste materials from your property is your responsibility. Ensure any waste carrier used has the appropriate permit to dispose of waste from your property. Older tarmacadam areas (containing tar) are of particular environmental concern.
This garden waste is no problem and has been partially separated
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Our extensive knowledge and experience enable you to make an informed decision….avoiding headaches and protecting your financial interests.
We hope you have found this pattern imprinted concrete driveway FAQs guide helpful.
We always want to know about any issues (good and bad) affecting the Driveway Industry so let us know in the comments below! Thanks
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