CD Designs Blog

    Installation of Your Driveway

    Following on from our blog entry ‘Preparing for a New Driveway’, here is what you should do with your pattern imprinted concrete driveway during installation, and when it is finished.

    After the concrete has been poured and imprinted, it will take somewhere between 24-48 hours to dry. We will close the area off with hazard tape or barriers, but the responsibility for preventing any damage will be yours. We will discuss the best way for you to access your home, if possible using other entrances for family or visitors. You should also make sure pets are not able to get near.

    Come on lads... Its concrete time!

    Concrete arrives

    Once the concrete is dry the release powder will be brushed off, which will cause some dust in the surrounding area. You will want to make sure all doors and windows are closed, and maybe let your neighbours know as well. After this the drive is given a thorough cleaning with a power washer, which will expose the true colour of the pattern imprinted concrete. We will need electricity and water supplies for this so please make sure they we have access to them.


    Concrete sealant application

    To complete the installation we will apply a sealing coat to the concrete. We will then clean the whole site leaving it in the condition we found it (except for your brand new pattern imprinted concrete drive of course).  Do not park your vehicles on the finished driveway for at least 72 hours after the sealing coat has been applied, as the seal needs time to cure.

    Preparing for a New Driveway

    Hopefully you will be getting ready for us to install a new pattern imprinted concrete driveway in the near future. Here are some tips on how to prepare before we arrive.

    When you order we will let you know which week we will be installing your pattern imprinted concrete driveway.  This is because we can never give a completely accurate date as we need dry weather to begin work. The actual date will be confirmed 24-48 hours in advance, when we can get a much more accurate weather report.

    The first thing to do is to make sure we have full access to your driveway and any other areas we will be working on. Make sure the drive is clear of vehicles, and that any gates we will need to get through are open when we arrive. Also make sure we have access to water and electricity at all times during the installation.

    You may also want to let your neighbours know what is happening, as the process can be noisy, and can create dust which may be blown around. You will want to close your windows and maybe employ dust cloths at doors to prevent damage to carpets. Finally you may want to cover or even remove any plants in areas we will be using to protect them from damage.

    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).

    What you should ask pattern imprinted concrete driveway installers

    At CD Designs, we pride ourselves on being professional, reliable and helpful, and possessing the right skills to ensure that every customer, whether domestic or commercial, we work for comes away more than satisfied. I’m sure you’ll agree that our pattern imprinted concrete driveway testimonials and our pattern imprinted concrete driveway case studies speak for themselves.

    However, when hiring any concrete contractor, you need to ask the right questions to start with, not only to make sure that you think the contractor is trustworthy and will do a good job, but also to make sure that you and the contractor understand exactly what it is you want, so that the end result lives up to your expectations.

    Before hiring:

    1. Ask the contractor for a certificate completion of trade, references and a portfolio. A reliable contractor will be more than happy to prove their worth.

    2. Ask them if they have suitable compensation and liability insurance that will cover them if they are injured on your property, or cause accidental damage while carrying out work.

    3. Ask to see a work schedule and payment terms before they start, so you have a good idea of when the work should start and finish, and how you should pay for it.

    4. Ask what warranty they will give the work, and what they will charge for future maintenance of the drive when the work has gone outside the warranty period.

    Planning/During/After the work:

    1. Discuss the plans in detail: the area to be concreted, concrete mixture, patterns, colours, sealing, finishes, paint, etc. Make sure no detail is left unclear once the work starts.

    2. Tell the contractor what vehicles are likely to use the driveway regularly, and ask what depth the concrete should be, as a result. The average concrete driveway is four inches deep, but regular usage by heavy vehicles may require more.

    3. Ask for concrete, not cement, if you want concrete! The two differ.

    4. After the work is finished, ask the contractor for instructions on how to look after the concrete in the short term and long term.

    Home Improvements To Avoid

    A while ago, the Royal Mail group released the findings of some research that they’d carried out. This wasn’t your usual “top ten” list of home improvements… quite the opposite in fact. It was a list of the least desirable home improvements, according to the home owners they questioned.

    What topped the list? Apparently, the home addition that people liked least was a “del-boy style” built in bar. Which surprises us, to be honest. Obviously, anything that’s “del-boy style” should probably be treated with caution. But we didn’t expect the result to be an interior bar. A poorly installed driveway, that we could understand.

    A badly installed driveway looks terrible and isn’t fit for purpose. Conversely, a well installed pattern imprinted concrete driveway will make your property move attractive, will last for years, and will be a joy to park on. Take a look at our case studies for some examples of finished pattern imprinted concrete driveway installations.

    The article contains a load more interesting facts and statistics; it’s available here. There are some interesting tips for people who are looking to do up their property in order to sell it. It’s worth a read. Of course, our number one tip would be: get in touch with Complete Driveway Designs, and get your driveway sorted ASAP.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

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

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