Advances in decorative concrete finishing puts color, texture and “sizzle” into your Madison WI concrete flat work. As you drive through your neighborhood do you tire of the ribbons of dull gray or black driveways and sidewalks? You’re not alone. You can add an element of personality to your driveway, patio or walks and turn dull to delightful. You get dramatic results with the same basic components. Intriguing, right? The easiest and most common way to add texture is a simple stamping technique – very much like using a rubber stamp to make impressions on paper.
Stamping often combines color and texture. It’s a great way to give concrete the look of natural stone or wood. The texture is stamped into freshly-poured concrete. It’s ideal for a new flat pour for a driveway patio. But there’s good news for anyone who wants to upgrade an existing concrete layer, too.
You have to stamp “wet” concrete, so does that mean you cannot upgrade an existing driveway without starting over? No. If your concrete surface is in excellent shape – all cracks and chips repaired, etc. – a new, thin layer applied over the top is easily stamped and stained. Would you like to upgrade to a fresh look? Check with the professionals at Marvin’s Brick Pavers for recommendations.
Explore Stamped Decorative Concrete
Adding decorative stamped concrete to your Madison area home isn’t the perfect solution. It has pros and cons. The benefits of a textured, colored driveway or patio include:
- Affordable styling – for the look of a paver, brick or natural stone patio or driveway, textured concrete treatments are far less expensive than the real thing.
- Long-term value – outdoor living space is in great demand. A high-quality patio is an asset and a custom driveway boosts curb appeal.
- Let your personality shine – with dozens of patterns, textures and color choices there’s one for every lifestyle.
- Safety – textured concrete surfaces are slip-resistant and with additional non-slip additives in sealants they are even safer.
- Good looks – unique appearances and a surface that “wears like concrete” because that’s what it is!
- Little maintenance – sealed decorative concrete surfaces don’t need much care. And they only need resealing every 2-3 years. Clean off residue from road salt and reseal occasionally and you’re good for years. Could it get much easier?
There are some features homeowners look upon less favorably, including:
- Require care – although maintenance is minimal, some homeowners want to “install and forget” as with basic gray concrete. No sealing, etc.
- Difficult to repair – a damaged decorative surface makes matching the texture and color more difficult than just applying a patch.
- Not DIY-friendly –you can do it yourself but stamping and staining concrete takes special tools, skills and experience. Most homeowners don’t have any of these.
Like conventional rubber stamps for putting ink on paper, over-sized rubber mats with textures and designs molded into them apply patterns to wet concrete. Mats are placed and tamped down leaving the desired impression. When the mats come off the transformation is dramatic. You cannot tell the finished surface started as a flat pour of concrete.
There are dozens of patterns already available with even more in the works. Finding the one just right for you is a challenge – not because they’re hard to find, but because there are so many from which to choose! Among the most popular choices are:
- Traditional brick – for a real colonial feel consider a patio, walk or driveway stamped to look like classic bricks. What do you think, a traditional red brick side-by-side look or a fancy herringbone pattern?
- Slate pavers – mixing shapes to give the surface the appearance of cut stones and individually installed pavers.
- Random stone – what beats a flagstone patio or cobblestone drive? You can have it without the labor-intensive installation and upkeep.
- Natural wood timbers – concrete stamped to look like wooden planks is an exciting trend. Would a driveway built from reclaimed barn boards or a patio with hardwood flooring raise eyebrows in your neighborhood? You can recreate the appearance of custom hardwood flooring or landscape timbers on a durable, all-weather concrete surface.
Don’t overlook the ‘sizzle’ of color
Adding texture to your concrete flat work is great. An additional boost of color is even better. Colors are applied in several ways, including:
- Integrated color – the color goes in to the cement mixture. This is the ideal choice for an even, one-color pour. Usually applied as earth tones like shades of tans and browns.
- Dry-shake coloring – among the most popular sources of color this technique doubles as a concrete hardening agent. Colors sprinkled on a still wet surface in random patterns are absorbed into the concrete. Ideal for intense, dense color combinations.
- Dyes, stains, tints – also applied to the surface these each release chemical agents that bond with the surface. They can be used in combination with colored concrete and dry-shake materials for dynamic colored textures and artistic creations.
Rely Upon A Pro For Decorative Concrete Creations
Do you need major repairs to your driveway? Or want to expand your outdoor living space? Are you thinking: “must I have another flat, boring gray driveway or no-personality square gray patio?”
There are so many interesting choices of stone and cement pavers, plus colored and textured concrete the answer is a resounding “no!”
If you’re pondering a major change or addition, hardscape designers agree: don’t try to sort it all out on your own. Take advantage of a respected professional’s years of experience.
Marvin Martinez has decades of experience installing an array of paver and decorative poured concrete creations. He and his team at Marvin’s Brick Pavers know how best to evaluate what you want and need. Give him a call at 608-630-8855. Or contact him via email.
Marvin’s skilled hardscape professionals work daily to provide complete outdoor spaces. They combine landscaping with concrete pavers, bricks, stones and decorative poured concrete. Complete your outdoor living spaces and make them more inviting and enjoyable all year around. Give us a call and see how decorative concrete fits into your Madison WI home’s outdoor plans.