CD Designs Blog

    Merry Christmas – A Winter Guide


    Merry Christmas from everyone at Complete Driveway Designs! We’re sure that lots of you were hoping for a white Christmas, but it seems that the weather reports were correct, and all we’re going to get is wet and windy. Should we get snow or ice in the future however, here is a quick guide for your pattern imprinted concrete.

    Don’t worry about the effect of snow on your driveway, it is perfectly protected. However if you do decide that you want to remove the snow, you must be careful when doing so. Using something heavy and hard-edged like a metal shovel or wooden broom may scratch the sealant or the concrete. It is best to use a plastic shovel, whilst trying not to scrape too close to the concrete.

    If your driveway becomes icy, you may consider trying to remove the ice. Don’t put salt on it, as the salt will make a mess of your driveway if there are any gaps in the sealant. You may also consider throwing some hot water over it to melt the ice, but in our experience the water just freezes again and you have the same problem. Anti-freeze can be used in watered-down, small amounts to defrost your driveway, and putting sand down can make it less slippery.

    If you want any advice don’t hesitate to get in touch, and stay safe!

    Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway Maintenance Advice

    Proper maintenance of your pattern imprinted concrete driveway is essential to how long it will last and how good it will look in the future. Here are some simple dos and don’ts when maintaining your driveway, and some tips for when something goes wrong.

    Don’t put salt on your driveway. This will start to eat away at the seal and eventually the concrete. Wash any salt that may get on your driveway through road gritting off immediately.

    Do wash off dirt and stains as soon as possible. Use soapy water for the simple stuff, and a de-greaser for oil stains. For more persistent stains a wire brush can be used.

    Don’t put and kind of weed-killers or pesticides on your driveway. When using them around your garden, be careful not to let any run off onto your concrete. If any gets on simply wash it off with water as soon as possible.

    Do reseal your driveway when needed. Take a look at our information on when resealing is necessary. Some customers expect their driveways to look as good as new without any maintenance, but with good housekeeping your driveway will look great for many years to come.

    Don’t drag garden furniture or other heavy objects over your driveway. This will scratch the seal, but don’t worry the concrete underneath will still be fine. A reseal will be needed to get rid of the scratches.

    For any maintenance problems don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and we’ll do our best to help.

    Blooming Maintenance

    A common effect of applying sealant to a pattern imprinted concrete driveway in the winter is something that in the industry, we call blooming. This can cause alarm to a customer who witnesses it, in fact it is one of the most common telephone calls we receive, with customers believing that their driveways our ruined beyond repair. It is understandable that seeing your investment in this state can be worrying, but it need not be. The solution is simple.

    A Driveway With Blooming

    A Driveway With Blooming

    Blooming is caused by a ‘reaction’ of the sealant to moisture, causing the surface sealant (not the concrete) to turn cloudy and in some instances white. Although we take every caution to eradicate moisture from the concrete, it is often difficult, particularly in the winter months, to prevent concrete from retaining this moisture. However even with blooming present you should still be assured that the pattern imprinted concrete underneath is protected.

    Partway Through A Reseal

    Partway Through A Reseal

    Once the climate reaches a suitable temperature, we will do what we call a reseal. This involves breaking down the existing sealant with thinners, thus eradicating the blooming, before resealing the driveway to the way it looked before.

    Fully Resealed Driveway

    Fully Resealed Driveway

    These pictures are from a driveway we installed at a home in Farnworth in December, which due to the winter conditions developed some blooming. We recently resealed the concrete so it now looks as good as new.

    Beware of oversealing your pattern imprinted concrete driveway

    Take care if you choose to do your own pattern imprinted concrete driveway reseal. When we use the term reseal, we do so with an air of caution. The term can be taken too literally when customers reseal their own pattern imprinted concrete. Disastrous consequences are seen all too often when the owner of a pattern imprinted product does not properly prepare the surface, or take into account the existing seal on the drive. We have witnessed the effects of seal being lavishly brushed on top of seal and re-applied on numerous occasions until the sealant is so thick and layered that areas begin to flake and pluck.

    Like any work, time and care must be taken to prepare the surface, firstly by breaking the existing sealant down and suspending it with a xylene based thinner, thus giving the opportunity to ‘bond’ and judge the amount of sealant present on the drive. When we have judged how much sealant is present, we are then able to decipher how much seal is required to be reapplied, using the same xylene based thinner to thin down the sealant depending on the need for it.

    Not only do disproportionately sealed drives pose the threat of flaking and plucking, often taking the surface of the colour hardener with it, but they can become hazardously slippery. This can also, when the driveway is sealed in the correct manner, open up a proverbial ‘can of worms’. When the xylene is applied, whether it is an attempt to work it into flaked areas or to try and breakdown existing sealant, it can cause the copious layers of seal to ‘curdle’ and rub off with ease, as seen in the accompanying video. So when sealing your pattern imprinted concrete make sure you do so in the correct way, otherwise you could be merely concealing a problem or creating a whole new one.

    Removing Oil Stains From Your Driveway

    An oil stain; the last thing you want on your new (or old) concrete driveway

    An oil stain; the last thing you want on your new (or old) concrete driveway

    Pattern imprinted concrete driveways are ideal to park vehicles on, as they do not sag under heavy weight like brick driveways.  Parking vehicles on any driveway however, inevitably leads to oil stains.  Here are a few tips to remove those stains.

    Firstly you should try washing the drive with soapy water.  However as with clothes, oily stains will not be removed easily with standard washing.  For more stubborn stains the basic is to absorb the oil before removing the absorbing material.  Cat litter or sawdust are two common household materials that are very good at this job.  Sprinkle either of them over the stain and leave it for a couple of days, then simply brush the area.  This should get rid of any top surface stains.  However for deeper stains a different solution is needed.

    Check the weather report first to make sure it is not going to rain.  Sprinkle some dry cement over the affected area, and again leave for a couple of days before brushing the cement off.  This should dry up most oils in the deeper concrete, but make sure not to get the cement wet as it will permanently stick once set.

    Photo by Daniel Villar Onrubia.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    T: 01706 827180

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