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Just a Quote: Expert advice without the hard sell
Pattern Imprinted Concrete advantages and disadvantages – Advantages
Pattern imprinted concrete, when installed well, in good weather conditions by a competent contractor can provide an attractive and durable paved surface for a domestic driveway or patio. You will get the appearance of natural products such as stone, cobbles, brick, slate, tile or even timber in a wide range of patterns and colour finishes, at a fraction of the cost and with a quicker installation time. Pattern imprinted concrete is a solid product which should not allow weed growth through it in the way that concrete block paving and tarmacadam can, although it can support the growth of algae and lichens. Apart from resealing every three to five years pattern imprinted concrete is virtually maintenance free.
Pattern Imprinted concrete advantages & disadvantages – Disadvantages
When installed badly, pattern imprinted concrete is almost impossible to patch or repair invisibly. Whether a section is badly printed, coloured or chipped, if it is cut out and replaced there will be an obvious difference between the original surface and the new area. Poor workmanship in the incorrect application of colour surface hardener, antique release agent or sealant can result in premature wearing of the surface. This can lead to flaking of the surface, early wear of the coloured layer and exposure of grey concrete.
Crack control joints not cut into the concrete effectively will almost definitely lead to random cracking of the surface and although the paved area will still be usable, its appearance will be ruined forever. As the concrete is a solid slab, albeit separated by narrow contraction joints, there is a risk that future problems with underground drainage and other services will not be possible without excavation of the concrete. Replacement of a new area of pattern imprinted concrete will result in the original and new areas having different appearance. Any necessary remedial work to underground services should therefore be carried out prior to the installation of pattern imprinted concrete.
Don’t expect too much of pattern imprinted concrete
Pattern imprinted concrete is somewhat of a Marmite™ type of product – you either love it or hate it, and that can depend on your past experiences with it. If you are expecting pattern imprinted concrete to faithfully reproduce the appearance of expensive cobbled setts, York Stone or Welsh slate then you are probably going to be disappointed. Pattern imprinted concrete can only ever create a general impression of these natural products. The trade-off of the slightly inferior appearance is that pattern imprinted concrete should be much less expensive and installed in a shorter time and therefore with less disruption than natural products.
Companies promoting pattern imprinted concrete would argue that the only reason a homeowner would have block paving, tarmacadam or resin bound aggregates for their driveway or patio area instead of imprinted concrete is cost, and to be fair, there is some truth in that. Naturally that argument does not apply when comparing pattern imprinted concrete to natural products such as granite setts, but here they would argue that pattern imprinted concrete has many practical advantages over natural stone setts, blocks, paving slabs and slate.
Just a Quote
Surveyors should help with the design of your pattern imprinted concrete driveway or patio area and should also talk you through the processes involved in an unbiased fashion. The installation companies we can introduce you to will have photographs, brochures and samples to help you decide which pattern and colour you prefer for your pattern imprinted concrete driveway.