Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveways

 Pattern imprinted concrete is also referred to as imprinted concrete or concrete imprint and is also another very popular method of paving. Statically it is an even more popular method than resin bound driveways, this is partly down to the length of time they have been on the market compared to resin bound rather than necessarily being a better product.  The average installation usually starts by a full dig out or excavation of the area and a fresh concrete slab laid which is pressed with a stencil and then coloured. It is similar to resin bound driveways as there are a huge number of colours and styles which can be great to create a unique driveway that suits your home. Not only that, there isn’t any need for weeding which plays a huge part in most customer’s decision making process as most people are simply to busy to spend hours weeding their driveway in their free time.

Pattern imprinted concrete is also referred to as imprinted concrete or concrete imprint and is also another very popular method of paving. Statically it is an even more popular method than resin bound driveways, this is partly down to the length of time they have been on the market compared to resin bound rather than necessarily being a better product.

The average installation usually starts by a full dig out or excavation of the area and a fresh concrete slab laid which is pressed with a stencil and then coloured. It is similar to resin bound driveways as there are a huge number of colours and styles which can be great to create a unique driveway that suits your home. Not only that, there isn’t any need for weeding which plays a huge part in most customer’s decision making process as most people are simply to busy to spend hours weeding their driveway in their free time.


Buying Tips

 Like  resin bound driveways,  pattern imprinted concrete driveways require specialist tools and should not be attempted by DIYers, general builders or block pavers, unless of course they have been trained to do so and have sufficient experience.   As mentioned above, the full area would be dug out and then levelled with a vibrating plate, a sub base such as Type 1 would then be compacted and levelled and concrete poured over the top to form a solid base.  The major disadvantage of pattern imprinted concrete is that it can be susceptible to cracking, once again mostly down to rogue traders and inexperience. At this point some contractors may suggest re-enforcing the driveway with steel, 95% of residential driveways would not require this, this is a common lie used by rogue traders to increase your expectation of the quality and price of the job. The best way to stop imprinted concrete cracking is to use fibre re-enforced concrete and for medium to large driveways, movement joints should be installed to allow the earth to move slightly without damaging the top layer of the surface which could result in an unsightly crack.  Drainage must also be planned as concrete is non-permeable i.e. the water does not drain through it. A lack of drainage or badly installed drainage can lead to standing water on the driveway or an excess of water onto the path. Please note if you are planning on installing a concrete driveway you may require planning permission. To find out the law  click here.               Or  click here  to talk to our team for free advice about drainage and planning.

Like resin bound driveways, pattern imprinted concrete driveways require specialist tools and should not be attempted by DIYers, general builders or block pavers, unless of course they have been trained to do so and have sufficient experience. 

As mentioned above, the full area would be dug out and then levelled with a vibrating plate, a sub base such as Type 1 would then be compacted and levelled and concrete poured over the top to form a solid base.

The major disadvantage of pattern imprinted concrete is that it can be susceptible to cracking, once again mostly down to rogue traders and inexperience. At this point some contractors may suggest re-enforcing the driveway with steel, 95% of residential driveways would not require this, this is a common lie used by rogue traders to increase your expectation of the quality and price of the job. The best way to stop imprinted concrete cracking is to use fibre re-enforced concrete and for medium to large driveways, movement joints should be installed to allow the earth to move slightly without damaging the top layer of the surface which could result in an unsightly crack.

Drainage must also be planned as concrete is non-permeable i.e. the water does not drain through it. A lack of drainage or badly installed drainage can lead to standing water on the driveway or an excess of water onto the path. Please note if you are planning on installing a concrete driveway you may require planning permission. To find out the law click here.            

Or click here to talk to our team for free advice about drainage and planning.

How is Imprinted Concrete Laid?

 The concrete will be delivered on site, premixed, by a wagon. It cannot be mixed on site due to the aggregates or particles in the fibre reinforced concrete, quality control is only possible when mixed in large quantities. The concrete is then roughly distributed across the prepared sub base and then screeded and rolled to give a smooth and flat surface. After all of the excess water has been removed the concrete will be coloured with special colour dyes and a hardener it is added by hand, in powder form, and is scattered over the new base 2 or 3 times for full coverage. The concrete will be delivered on site, premixed, by a wagon. It cannot be mixed on site due to the aggregates or particles in the fibre reinforced concrete, quality control is only possible when mixed in large quantities. The concrete is then roughly distributed across the prepared sub base and then screeded and rolled to give a smooth and flat surface. After all of the excess water has been removed the concrete will be coloured with special colour dyes and a hardener it is added by hand, in powder form, and is scattered over the new base 2 or 3 times for full coverage. This process is messy and overspill from the paint should be ideally protected with sheets if not it should be cleaned away as soon as possible. Some imprinted concrete designs use 2 colours, which is notoriously difficult to achieve the correct balance and coverage between the 2 colours, it takes great experience to get this right which is only possible with years of experience. As always there are different qualities or grades of colour, some cheaper ones will fade much quicker than the more expensive dyes, it makes sense to spend more on the colouring that will last longer than constantly re-colour the driveway with cheap dyes. The hardener will start acting very quickly and it is important to use a release agent to stop the stencil used for imprinting from sticking to the concrete.   The final stage is imprinting the pattern this is done using textured mats which have the desired pattern printed onto them and must be carefully aligned with each other to ensure the pattern looks natural. Once in position the mats are pummelled to ‘stamp’ the pattern onto the concrete. Just like the colouring stage knowing the correct amount of pressure to apply when stamping is only gained through practice and experience it is very easy to press to soft or too hard.  2-5 days after the imprinting stage the driveway must be power washed to remove excess agents and debris, timing this is important, if it is done too early it can damage the surface but if it is left to late the surface will not clean properly.  The final stage of laying the imprinted concrete is to seal it. After the driveway has fully dried from the cleaning stage a transparent sealant will be applied to protect the driveway from spills and stains and stop the colours fading from UV light. Most sealants have a glossy finish but matt finishes are also available if desired.

The concrete will be delivered on site, premixed, by a wagon. It cannot be mixed on site due to the aggregates or particles in the fibre reinforced concrete, quality control is only possible when mixed in large quantities. The concrete is then roughly distributed across the prepared sub base and then screeded and rolled to give a smooth and flat surface. After all of the excess water has been removed the concrete will be coloured with special colour dyes and a hardener it is added by hand, in powder form, and is scattered over the new base 2 or 3 times for full coverage. The concrete will be delivered on site, premixed, by a wagon. It cannot be mixed on site due to the aggregates or particles in the fibre reinforced concrete, quality control is only possible when mixed in large quantities. The concrete is then roughly distributed across the prepared sub base and then screeded and rolled to give a smooth and flat surface. After all of the excess water has been removed the concrete will be coloured with special colour dyes and a hardener it is added by hand, in powder form, and is scattered over the new base 2 or 3 times for full coverage. This process is messy and overspill from the paint should be ideally protected with sheets if not it should be cleaned away as soon as possible. Some imprinted concrete designs use 2 colours, which is notoriously difficult to achieve the correct balance and coverage between the 2 colours, it takes great experience to get this right which is only possible with years of experience. As always there are different qualities or grades of colour, some cheaper ones will fade much quicker than the more expensive dyes, it makes sense to spend more on the colouring that will last longer than constantly re-colour the driveway with cheap dyes. The hardener will start acting very quickly and it is important to use a release agent to stop the stencil used for imprinting from sticking to the concrete. 

The final stage is imprinting the pattern this is done using textured mats which have the desired pattern printed onto them and must be carefully aligned with each other to ensure the pattern looks natural. Once in position the mats are pummelled to ‘stamp’ the pattern onto the concrete. Just like the colouring stage knowing the correct amount of pressure to apply when stamping is only gained through practice and experience it is very easy to press to soft or too hard.

2-5 days after the imprinting stage the driveway must be power washed to remove excess agents and debris, timing this is important, if it is done too early it can damage the surface but if it is left to late the surface will not clean properly.

The final stage of laying the imprinted concrete is to seal it. After the driveway has fully dried from the cleaning stage a transparent sealant will be applied to protect the driveway from spills and stains and stop the colours fading from UV light. Most sealants have a glossy finish but matt finishes are also available if desired.

Imprinted Concrete Patterns

Imprinted Concrete Driveways

IMPRINTED CONCRETE coLOURS

Imprinted Concrete Maintenance

 Imprinted concrete driveways do not require frequent maintenance that block paving does however it cannot be neglected completely it will need sealing every 2-5 years depending on the quality of the sealant, the amount of traffic and the amount of sunlight it is exposed to. Although the colour will slowly fade in-between the resealing stages it is impossible for weeds to grow into imprinted concrete which is a huge benefit compared to most  other types of driveways.

Imprinted concrete driveways do not require frequent maintenance that block paving does however it cannot be neglected completely it will need sealing every 2-5 years depending on the quality of the sealant, the amount of traffic and the amount of sunlight it is exposed to. Although the colour will slowly fade in-between the resealing stages it is impossible for weeds to grow into imprinted concrete which is a huge benefit compared to most other types of driveways.

Pattern Imprinted Concrete Pros & Cons

  Pros   + No weeds  + Lots of colours and styles  + Popular finish   Cons   - Re-sealing can be expensive  - Prone to cracking  - Very few experienced installers  - Some sealants can be slippy

Pros

+ No weeds

+ Lots of colours and styles

+ Popular finish

Cons

- Re-sealing can be expensive

- Prone to cracking

- Very few experienced installers

- Some sealants can be slippy

Pattern Imprinted Concrete in Brief

 Imprinted concrete is another great paving solution again due to a lack of maintenance and eye catching looks. Despite the impressive looks and the lack of weeding imprinted concrete still has the chances of tiny cracks even when huge care and planning is taken, sealants can be slippy and the scarcity of skilled contractors makes it a difficult method to achieve best results with.    Once again please bare in mind the advantages are only applicable if an experienced contractor and the correct tools and materials are used.  To read about other types of driveways  click here - Ultimate Guide to Driveways 2018.

Imprinted concrete is another great paving solution again due to a lack of maintenance and eye catching looks. Despite the impressive looks and the lack of weeding imprinted concrete still has the chances of tiny cracks even when huge care and planning is taken, sealants can be slippy and the scarcity of skilled contractors makes it a difficult method to achieve best results with.  

Once again please bare in mind the advantages are only applicable if an experienced contractor and the correct tools and materials are used.

To read about other types of driveways click here - Ultimate Guide to Driveways 2018.

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