Does concrete conjure up an image of a grey, drab design? It has never been further from the truth, and while that may have been the case in the past, concrete now comes in a huge array of finishes, colors, and patterns. If you are thinking of getting a new driveway, all you need to do is decide which method is right for you.
If you are unsure of the many options, then have no fear. Below, we give our must-read guide on concrete driveway design ideas.
1. Stamped Concrete
Stamped concrete is a very popular choice for a number of reasons. The first is that it can be stamped to look like many different surfaces, such as stones, paving slabs, and bricks. The second is that it is extremely durable.
Concrete also has very low maintenance requirements and can remain for around 40 years in the right conditions. All it needs is the correct installation, and in frosty conditions or powerful sunlight, it should remain steadfast. It takes a few days to dry before you can use it, though laying the concrete is a fairly quick and easy process.
Stamped concrete, as well as having easy to customize designs, can also come colored. This provides a wide range of options at a very affordable price.
2. Colored Concrete Driveway Design Ideas
Concrete does not have to be dull and grey. In fact, many people are surprised to find out that concrete comes in a whole array of colors. These colors are either added to the concrete during mixing, on dusted on once the site has been laid.
Concrete colors are usually chosen to match or complement the natural materials in the surroundings, or the house the drive attaches to. When choosing, you should consider the color in the stones and woods that already exist. Everything from black to cobalt blues and vivid sandstone colors exists.
This design option does cost a little more than standard grey concretes. This is because it is a custom order, and so takes more labor. However, the finished product will more than make up for it.
3. Stained Concrete
If you want a truly unique finish on your driveway, then you should consider stained concrete. It uses chemical stains to add a finish to existing concrete surfaces. As it reacts with the minerals in the concrete, you get a patched, mottled, uneven effect that looks both natural and modern at the same time.
This means that no two stained concrete surfaces are the same. Colors produced can always come up differently, with random patterns and effects. As such, you should expect a finish that is not uniform, but one that adds depth and warmth.
4. Concrete Etching
Concrete etching (often known as engraving) is a method in which a pre-existing driveway can look fresh and new. Patterns and designs are carved into a driveway that has already been laid. People will often choose to stain the etched driveway to give it a shiny, lustrous finish.
One of the most common methods is to stain the surface first to give it color. The etching then exposes the original color underneath, so you end up with a two-tone pattern. It is a great way to make a dull, grey concrete drive look special and inviting.
5. Sawed Patterns
Sawed and grooved patterns in concrete are not just decorative, but practical. They are applied using a special concrete saw, or they grooved with a specialist hand tool. You may find that different color schemes can be used in the pattern with concrete staining.
The practical aspect comes from the ability to prevent skidding and accidents. You often find sawed and grooved concrete at places such as airports and highways, though in a more utilitarian design. Its uneven surface can add much-needed traction, which can be welcome if you live in an area with harsh winters.
6. Exposed Aggregate
Exposing aggregate is a method that has been around for over 100 years, and it carries with it a look of timeless class. It involves placing aggregate in concrete, laying it, then stripping away the top layer. Doing so can give a look as beautiful as laid marble.
There are several methods in which the aggregate can be exposed, and each results in a slightly different finish. One of these is brushing and washing, an older method that requires no tools or chemicals. All it requires is a hard water spray and broom, that takes away the top surface to the required depth.
Another method is to spray the concrete with a chemical retarder after laying. This stops the concrete from setting, so the exposure can be done with scrubbing or a pressure washer later. The final method uses abrasive blasting, either with a sandblaster or shot blasting to take off the top layer.
7. Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers are a popular option, as, like laid concrete, they are durable and require very little maintenance. One advantage they have is that if they ever need replacing, you can take out one paver and change it instead of laying the whole driveway again. They also do not need time to set like a laid concrete drive, so you can use them immediately.
Pavers can come in a huge number of options, including shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also be mixed up to use combinations of paving stones to create interesting patterns and borders. The only drawback is that it takes more money to lay than standard concrete or stamped concrete.
Find a Trusted Designer
Once you have an idea about what method you prefer, then contact a specialist to assist with concrete driveway design ideas. Make sure you find a Sacramento concrete contractor with great reviews, who can both design and deliver many options.
Your first stop should be Solid Construction Design. We will always be happy to visit you at home and discuss your options. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation estimate.