Beautiful, Strong and Compelling Concrete: Ideas, Tips and More

Different Types of Decorative Concrete Driveways

If you are thinking about upgrading your existing concrete driveway, or you want to install a new concrete driveway, you may want to also consider the benefits of adding a decorative pattern or design to the driveway. Decorative concrete driveways can enhance the visual appeal of your driveway and even add value to the price of your home should you ever want to sell. Here are some of the most common types of decorative concrete you can use.

Polished Concrete -- If you want your driveway to shine, gleam and always appear as if it's just been freshly waxed, you should choose polished concrete. Polished concrete is most often seen in showrooms and car dealerships, but it is becoming increasingly popular for driveways as well. To create polished concrete, a contractor grinds your driveway with diamond-tipped tools until the concrete achieves a high-end polish with a glossy appearance that never dulls. Polished concrete is available in different colors such as auburn, burnt sienna, turquoise, terracotta, sand and walnut. These colors are mixed into the concrete before it is poured, so that as the polishing process occurs, the colors penetrate deeply into the concrete.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete -- Exposed aggregate is decorative material that is added to the concrete either during the mixing process or after the concrete has already been poured. You can choose aggregate that is made from material such as granite, quartz, limestone and other coloured stones. The aggregate is embedded in your concrete driveway and forms interesting and distinct patterns that you can't achieve through staining. Contractors use two main methods for creating an exposed aggregate concrete driveway: direct mix and seeding. Direct mix is the most common method, in which the aggregate is added into the concrete mix and poured out to make your driveway. Seeding occurs after the concrete has been poured, with the aggregate shaken by hand over the fresh concrete.

Stamped Concrete -- Stamped concrete driveways are created by using stamps or stencils that have unique shapes and patterns that are pressed into freshly-poured concrete so that when they harden, they form distinct shapes, patterns and designs. Many homeowners choose stamps that mimic the appearance of such material as flagstone, cobblestone, granite, brick or wood to jazz up the visual appeal of their driveway. Stamped concrete is ideal if you don't want to pay for a more expensive driveway such as natural stone, but you still want the look of that material.