Durable and low-maintenance are two words used to describe concrete driveways, many of which delineate boundaries between landscaping features. Whether you say the driveway is cement or painted, these features have come a long way from the plain jane days of gray only. Depending on the shade, a natural color driveway can provide a stark and eye-catching contrast for several decades. Yet, concrete slab design offers a wide array of choices for color, pattern, and/or texture duplication.
Like other concrete surfaces, a driveway can be stamped or stained depending on your preference and end-goal. A stamped concrete driveway emulates the appearance and texture of many common natural materials, such as stone. But, the color and/or style can be coordinated with the home or business, allowing the owner to create a truly custom landscape.
Benefits Of Concrete Driveways
The durability correlates to the surface’s high load-bearing capacity thanks to its rigidity. Unlike asphalt driveways, concrete drives won’t flex under the traffic flow and weight of heavy vehicles. It’s also known to withstand natural disasters, such as flooding and high-wind events.
Ease Of Maintenance
While a concrete driveway, whether decorative or not, generally needs little maintenance and repair during its functional lifespan, what attention is needed can be considered sporadic. The surface should be cleaned as needed, along with applying a new sealer. Ask your concrete contractor for recommendations for appropriate cleaners and sealers.
There are many materials available to choose from for a driveway installation but using concrete for driveway installation is held as cost-effective for most situations when the long-term cost is considered. The durability significantly reduces maintenance and repair expenses.
Part of the cost-effectiveness relates to the renewable resources used in concrete production, such as natural rock, sand, and water. The cement itself derives from limestone, a recurring and substantial natural mineral. A concrete driveway also reflects heat rather than absorbing it as asphalt driveways do. This can help lessen cooling costs during the summer, especially in warm climates.
What Is An Exposed Aggregate Driveway?
Most concrete used for driveways have the aggregate completely mixed in, leaving a smooth surface, but some home and business owners choose to have an exposed aggregate driveway. This style provides attractive and decorative texture to the driveway surface which bestows skid resistance, increasing safety for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
When poured, removed, and polished properly, the surface can resemble granite or marble. Vibrant natural stones, such as granite or quartz, are common but colored, recycled glass and other manufactured materials are sometimes used. Natural aggregates generally vary in color based on the geological origin of the specific aggregate, from soft pastels to rich jeweled tones.
These drives do, however, have special considerations to be considered to help keep them in a pristine condition such as the relationship between the aggregate itself and moisture control.
How Long Does A Concrete Driveway Last?
Some have functionality upward of 50 years with professional installation and regular maintenance and repair. Yet, this depends on many factors, such as:
· Tree root encroachment;
· Poor installation;
· Using salt to melt ice during the winter; and
· Excessive traffic and/or weight for the PSI.
How Long Before You Can Drive On A Concrete Driveway?
This depends on how long it takes the concrete to dry for foot traffic, which can range from eight hours to two full days. But a general rule of thumb is to wait at least three days after pouring before driving on the surface. Keep in mind concrete needs 28 days to completely dry thus holding its strength.