The Ins And Outs Of Concrete Sealing

2 Decorative Possibilities For A Concrete Driveway

A decorative concrete driveway provides many design options to enhance the kerb appeal of your house. Here are two types that might work for your property.

Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate is concrete with decorative stones evident on the surface, giving it a speckled look. The pebbles are mixed into the cement mixture or placed by hand. Then, after a layer of cement is washed away, they are highlighted.

This concrete gives you plenty of chances to vary its appearance as you choose stones and pebbles in different sizes, colours and shapes. You can use crushed quartz, limestone, granite or other things like coloured glass and seashells. The contractors can colour the cement as well to contrast it against the aggregates, emphasising them.

You can add a border for a more decorative driveway. For example, use stamped concrete that mimics pavers on the border and exposed aggregate in the centre part. You can contrast the colours of the two areas. For example, pit a sandy-coloured middle part against a stamped red brick border. Another possibility is to set dark charcoal exposed aggregate against a border of pale grey smooth concrete. These two variations go well together because of their strongly contrasting textures. 

Stamped Concrete

An alternative option for the entire driveway is stamped concrete. This surface is created with moulds or stamps that are imprinted into the cement while it's still wet. The concrete needs to be at the right point of curing. If it's not set enough, it won't hold the stamp imprint. But if they're too hard, the moulds won't be able to make an impression.

A popular style is to mimic stone pavers. You can choose the appearance of your favourite stone, be it slate, limestone or travertine. The contractors use various colouring techniques that create the appearance of the stone they're emulating.

They can add colour to the cement as they mix it, which will give the concrete a uniform colour. Then, after the cement is laid and before it's cured, they can sprinkle a dry-shake colour on the surface. These colourants react with the concrete to form organic patterns. To create tonal changes similar to those in natural stone, the contractors will combine and layer the techniques, including adding dyes and stains at a later stage.

While stone is a popular variation, stamped concrete can mimic a wide range of surfaces, such as cracked mud, timber planks or bricks. A stamp will need to be available to create those particular surfaces. Contact a local concreter for more information.