CD Designs Blog

    Installing your own pattern imprinted concrete driveways in cold weather

    As the winter draws in, you might think of packing up your tools and leaving any pattern imprinted concrete driveway and pattern imprinted concrete patio work until next year, when spring starts to draw in. After all, the cold weather can have a lot of negative effects on concrete projects, making it hardly worth it?

    We would say yes and no. The cold weather does present you with some challenges when installing concrete, but it is by no means impossible. Let’s look at some tips for beating Jack Frost back from your concrete!

    When planning your winter concrete driveway installation, make sure you have everything ready to go. This includes all your materials, a properly prepared installation site, and weather protection such as insulation materials and heaters. The critical objective is making sure the concrete does not freeze, or get too cold for it to cure properly. This can happen if your concrete loses heat and moisture too quickly at the early stages.

    Planning tips:

    * Using a lower slump concrete is good for cold weather, as it will reduce the necessary setting time and cut down on bleed water.

    * Consider using accelerating admixtures or Type III Hi Early cement. These will get through the critical setting/curing periods quicker, so need protection for less time.

    * Request a preheated mix of concrete from your supplier.

    * Don’t use flyash-containing concrete if at all possible, as it will take longer to set/cure.

    Next up, let’s look at the placement stage. To start with, make sure all snow and ice is removed from the concrete and sub-base. Use heaters to keep the sub-base above freezing temperatures, and try to keep the concrete itself between about 13 and 23 degrees centigrade.

    After placement, don’t start finishing the concrete until bleed water has dispersed. At the same time, you should make sure that the concrete doesn’t dry out complete while curing. And never let ice form on your concrete while it is curing! Ideally you should keep the template of the concrete above 10 degrees centigrade using heated enclosures and/or insulating blankets for about three days to a week after pouring, and then keep it up to at least 5 degrees for four days after that.

    One last tip — when you remove the heating/insulation, do it gradually, so the concrete doesn’t cool too rapidly (by 5 degrees or more per 24 hours).

    Can We Mention Snow Yet?

    Ok, ok, we probably need to apologise for this one immediately, before we go any further. You’ve just about got over the rainy summer (it was in the grim North, anyway). You are hoping for a windy but hopefully not too wet autumn. And then the folks over at CD Designs go and start banging on about winter weather already? Despicable, some might say.

    But hold on there — it is certainly not our intention to attempt to condemn you to an endless winter. We just wanted to share a few nuggets of advice to prepare you for the cold spell.

    For a start, make sure you get yourself a decent shovel: this has endless uses, from the obvious (shovel that snow), to the more inventive (shovels are also good makeshift toboggans, if you have a decent wide, flat one.)

    Next, you should think carefully about what you use for grip on your pattern imprinted concrete driveway. Using sand, or a sand a gravel mixture is ideal, as it provides grip when the snow falls, then you can simply wait till the snow has melted and shovel it up and re-bag it, ready for next year. Using Salt on your drive is not a good idea, as it can corrode your concrete.

    Getting Ready For Snow

    Well, if last winter taught us anything, it’s that a bit of snow can really cause some big problems. There was some pretty serious disruption last year. Don’t get us wrong, snow is nice for a little while… about as long as it takes for your local council to run out of grit for the roads.

    Snow and ice can make some surfaces treacherous to walk on. That’s why clearing snow and ice off driveways is such an important task in countries where it really, really snows. Hence the famous American snow-shovel.

    If you’ve made the sensible choice of investing some of your home improvement budget in having a pattern imprinted concrete driveway installed, there are a few things you should be aware of.

    Because your pattern imprinted concrete is protected by a coat of sealant, it shouldn’t be adversely affected by ice. However, if you’re going to attempt to scrape and shovel ice and snow off your pattern imprinted concrete driveway, you may risk scratching away this sealant, so it pays to be gentle. Also, we’d recommend that you take care when it comes to chemical de-icing products. These shouldn’t be left in contact with any surface for an extended period of time, and sometimes aren’t too good for your lawn and any flowers you might have around the driveway area.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

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

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