Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway FAQ’s
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveways FAQ’s
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?
Pattern imprinted concrete has long been a popular driveway surface product and not without reason.
First of all a well laid and kept driveway can add value to your property and as a pattern imprinted concrete driveway makes your home seem looked after, those first impressions will count.
Other reasons are:
- Super strong and long lasting
- Easy to make look like new again by resealing your driveway
- Different colour tones to suit your home and personal style
- Low maintenance
- Weather resistant
- Straight forward to install by professional driveway companies
- No sinking or dislodging
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?
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?
In a word 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.
And the messiest part of a pattern imprinted concrete installation is during the colouring and printing process.
So to reiterate, 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.
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.
And 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.
An Imprinted Concrete Driveway Installation can create some mess!
What about edges and drainage?
Driveway 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
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 help minimise the risks of cracks appearing in the surface.
Pattern Imprinted Concrete Expansion Joint
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 decorative 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 Ultra Violet (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, in fact imperative, 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.
Moreover, with imprinted concrete 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!
How long before you can walk on pattern imprinted concrete?
Once the driveway is installed, how long do you need to wait before you can access your home? It’s important to leave the concrete to harden for at least 3-5 hours so you don’t get foot prints in your driveway (permanently). However, it’s best to leave it overnight if you can, especially on colder days when it takes longer for the concrete to set.
It’s a case of ‘better safe than sorry’ as it will be expensive to remove that footprint or dog paw from your driveway!
How long before you can park on your newly installed concrete driveway?
Once your pattern imprinted concrete driveway is installed, it won’t be sealed straight away as it needs time to cure. While many driveway companies say you can park your car on the newly installed driveway after 48 hours, it’s best to leave it for 7 days to give it enough time to cure.
Most installers will seal your driveway after 7 days and it’s best not to park on your driveway before this is done.
Access is possible – just keep your balance!
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!
Surface water was no problem at all.
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
Are pattern imprinted concrete driveways slippery?
If you search the internet you might find comments like ‘my sister had a concrete driveway done, and it was really slippery in winter!’
While this might be the case on some driveways – especially imprinted concrete driveways which are older, in general they shouldn’t.
Because when your imprinted concrete driveway is sealed, an anti-slip agent is added, so your driveway is NOT SLIPPERY, even in winter and in wet conditions.
The main reasons why your imprinted concrete driveway would be slippery is either A) because the installation and sealing hasn’t been done by a professional company to the standard it should have been done and B) because your driveway needs a reseal (with added anti-slip agent) as this needs to be done every 3 to 5 years.
ImproveOutdoors.com is the Number 1 resource for homeowners looking to make the right decisions for their driveways, homes, patios and gardens.
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!