A decorative concrete driveway refers to one that is painted, stained, or stamped. The stamping or staining process can make the concrete look like brick, stone, or a number of other materials, and a paint job can make drab and dull concrete look more visually appealing overall. If you're thinking about adding some curb appeal to your property with a decorative concrete driveway, note a few questions you might have about the process and the finished product.
1. Is it really safe to drive on a decorative concrete driveway?
Putting too much weight on any concrete surface can contribute to it cracking and chipping sooner than it should, and finished concrete is no exception. However, note that the paints and stains and other materials used to create this finished surface are very durable and meant for concrete in particular. They shouldn't chip or crack just from everyday vehicle traffic and from using your driveway to play basketball, ride bikes, and the like. If you have special concerns, such as if you own a heavy trailer or recreational vehicle, ask a concreter if there is anything extra needed to protect the finish.
2. What if the paint color isn't an exact match?
Concrete will absorb some color that is applied to it simply because it's so porous; the mixture that makes up your concrete driveway may affect color consistency, making it a bit different from what you see in brochures and online. Exposure to sunlight, salt used to melt snow, and other such outdoor conditions can also affect the color of your driveway. While a good concreter will offer a color that is very close to the colors you see online or elsewhere, often being able to create a near-perfect match, it is good to balance your expectations with how those colors are affected by the concrete surface and outdoor conditions.
3. How are cracks addressed without compromising the finish?
Your concreter may leave you with a tube of concrete tint that you would mix with concrete patching material if you want to fix cracks on your own later. This can ensure that the color of the patching mixture is the same as the color of the stamping or painting. For more severe cracks and chips, you can call the concreter to fix those instead, as they can use the same mixture of colors and the same techniques to repair the driveway, allowing the repairs to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the driveway.