Drab, gray driveways and walks are commonplace but new concrete finishing techniques are putting color and texture into the mix. If your Madison WI driveway is pock-marked from road salt or wear consider boosting your curb appeal with decorative concrete flat work.
Dramatic results come from basic components. It takes skill and the eye of an artist. The most common and simplest way to add texture to concrete is a e stamping technique.
Just like a rubber stamp makes impressions on paper, stamping often combines color and texture. It’s ideal to make concrete look like natural stone or wooden planks. Texture is stamped into freshly-poured concrete.
You have to stamp “wet” concrete, so it’s ideal for a new driveway, walk or patio. That doesn’t mean you cannot upgrade an existing driveway without starting over. If your concrete surface is in excellent shape, without cracks and chips, a new, thin layer over the top is easy to stamp and stain.
Explore Concrete Finishing Options
There are dozens of patterns readily available for your new driveway, walk or patio. If making a choice is difficult it’s likely because there are so many to choose from. Among the most popular are:
- Natural wood timbers – concrete stamped to look like wooden planks is a growing trend. Would a driveway of reclaimed barn boards or a hardwood-look patio make a statement? Custom-finished concrete recreates the appearance of custom wood flooring or landscape timbers with a durable, all-weather surface.
- Classic brick – for a classic, colonial feel stamp concrete to look like traditional bricks to make a statement.
- Custom slate pavers – random shapes mixed to give the surface the appearance of cut stones and individually installed pavers.
- Natural stones – random applied stamps to look like flagstones or cobblestones reduce labor-intensive installation and upkeep.
Just like stamping ink on paper, over-sized rubber mats apply designs molded into them to wet concrete. Placed on wet concrete, mats are tamped down leaving the desired impression. Remove the mats and you cannot tell the finished surface started as simple poured concrete.
Texture is great. Don’t overlook an additional boost of color. As part of the finishing process, colors are applied in several ways, including:
- Integrated color – color added to the cement mixture. The ideal choice for an even one-color pour. Most commonly earth tones like shades of tan and brown.
- Dry-shake coloring – popular source of color, dry-shake materials double as concrete hardening agents. Coloring sprinkled on wet concrete in random patterns are absorbed into the surface. Produce intense, dense color combinations.
- Dyes, stains and tints – applied to the surface each releases chemical agents that bond with the concrete. Can work in combination with colored concrete and dry-shake materials for dramatic colored creations.
Consider Pros And Cons Of Custom Finishing
Plain, smooth concrete is still the standard but colors and textures are gaining acceptance. No surface is perfect, each has advantages and disadvantages. The benefits of textured, colored poured concrete surfaces include:
- Affordable finishing – are you seeking the look of pavers, bricks or natural stones? Textured concrete treatments are far less expensive and easier to install than the real thing.
- Long-term value – increasing outdoor living space is a leading remodeling goal. High-quality patios are assets and custom driveways boosts curb appeal.
- Add a personal touch – dozens of patterns, textures and color choices allow plenty of room for personal expression.
- A safe surface – textured surfaces are slip-resistant. In addition, extra non-slip additives in sealants make surfaces even safer.
- Eye appeal – looking for a unique appearance and a surface that “wears like concrete?”
- Easy care – clean off residue from road salt, dirt and debris and reseal occasionally – resealing every 2-3 years is recommended.
Additional homeowner considerations include:
- Not DIY-friendly – stamping and staining concrete takes special tools, skills and experience.
- Difficult to repair – a damaged decorative surface makes matching the texture and color more difficult than just applying a patch to solid gray concrete.
- Some care required – almost maintenance-free, some homeowners don’t want to deal with resealing.
Call Madison’s Concrete Finishing Professionals
When it’s time to rebuild your driveway, add a new patio or sculpt a sidewalk do you have to stick with plain ol’ boring gray cement or blacktop? The answer is an obvious “not any more!” When you’re planning a change take advantage of a respected professional’s years of experience, skill and technique.
Under the direction of Marvin Martinez, crews have decades of experience installing and maintaining pavers and decorative poured concrete hardscapes. Rely upon Marvin’s Brick Pavers know-how to evaluate what you need to enhance your property. Give him a call at 608-630-8855. Or contact him via email. Is a change to your home’s hardscape in your future plans? Decorative, colored concrete finishing adds unique curb appeal to your Madison WI area home.