How do I remove petrol stains from my concrete driveway?

Petrol spills are quite common and can happen for a variety of different reasons. Fortunately they are quite easy to clean on a pattern imprinted driveway, due to the sealant we apply over the top of the concrete. The sealant acts as a barrier to shield the concrete from damage. Due to natural wear and tear we do urge you to get your driveway resealed when needed, around once every 2-3 years on average.

We recommend that you tend to the spillage as quickly as possible, in order to prolong the life of the sealant and therefore prevent any damage to the concrete. Petrol spillages are cleaned up in the same way as they are on petrol forecourts, with sand. But don’t panic if you do not have sand, cat litter or any other absorbent granular substance will do. Just sprinkle a substantial amount on the spillage and allow it to soak up the petrol. Once you have completed this step just dispose of the sand and petrol substance and give it a thorough wash with water. Do not use washing-up liquid or other such products, as the chemicals in them can react with the petrol and corrode the sealant.

De-icing my concrete driveway?

An icy driveway can be hazardous and cause accidents. There are various different de-icing products on the market within the UK, the most common being rock salt. This should not be used on a pattern imprinted driveway, as the chemical compound found in salt will break up the sealant and begin to corrode the concrete. However there are many more ways in which you can de-ice your pattern imprinted concrete driveway, some more costly than others.

The first way which is the cheapest, is to remove ice by chipping away at it with a plastic shovel. We recommend a plastic shovel over a regular shovel as it tends not to scratch the sealant we use over the top of the concrete. If you do not have a plastic shovel to hand you can use a metal shovel, however this will probably mean that you will have to re-seal your driveway in the summer, as patches of the sealant will have been removed along with the ice, leaving the concrete underneath unprotected.

The second way would be to use some sort of product on the driveway. One such product is something called Envirothaw. A standard 4kg tub of Envirothaw costs around £12.50 and can be bought from various different places such as B & Q, Amazon etc. One tub generally covers around 45 square metres. A more basic solution would be to dilute standard anti-freeze (the kind you would put in your car) with water and spray it on the drive.

The most expensive route to de-ice your pattern imprinted driveway would be to install a radiant heating system underneath your driveway. This can cost anything from £250+ per square metre to lay, plus the heating bill on top would push the price even higher.

One final solution would be to lay some sand down on your drive. This will not remove the ice but it will improve your traction over the ice, making the driveway safer for walking and allowing you to move your vehicle easier.

Can I have pattern imprinted concrete inside my home?

Of course! Pattern imprinted concrete is a very versatile product and is often used throughput the home. The concrete can be poured and shaped to fit a wide range of different designs, and can be coloured to either compliment or contrast the rest of the room, so if you are looking to install a new conservatory or garage why not consider pattern imprinted concrete to give a twist to a usually boring floor.

Here at Complete Driveway Designs we have pattern imprinted concrete flooring in our showroom, so if you want to see what it looks like, please get in touch to book an appointment.

Do you reseal existing concrete driveways?

We have been contacted in many different circumstances with new and current customers asking if we reseal existing driveways. The answer is yes, we do reseal existing driveways. We pride ourselves on having a dedicated aftercare team to deal with any needs that one of our customers may have.

Unfortunately lots of driveway companies do not stick around for very long, and many new customers come to us due to the company that installed their driveway no longer trading. We have been established since 2003 with no signs of slowing down, so if you have an existing pattern imprinted driveway which has been installed by a trader who is no longer available, why not give us a call today and receive a free no obligations quote for your reseal.

What are the white patches on my pattern imprinted concrete?

The white patches you may be able to see on your drive are what we in the industry call blooming. This could happen to your drive for a couple of different reasons.

One reason may be that at the time your driveway was installed there was a lot of moisture in the air, usually during a damp or rainy day. This causes the chemical compound found within the seal to react and causes the white patches or ‘milking affect’.

Another reason may be that because concrete is made with water and is usually over hydrated to make it workable, the excess water needs to work its way out of the concrete naturally. In the event of the concrete being sealed before the excess moisture has worked its way out, the moisture can get into the seal causing it to turn white or seemingly lose its colour. This can be progressive and happen in different areas, depending on the content of moisture retained in the concrete slab.

We seal our driveways as soon as possible for the convenience of our customers. It gives them peace of mind that the concrete underneath is protected from any damage, however this does present itself with the drawback of blooming. All our driveways come with our de-blooming guarantee, meaning that during the summer months we will come back and re-seal the area to eradicate the unsightly patches.

Is pattern imprinted concrete slippery?

The simple answer to the question is no, however laying the sealant which protects the concrete from damage is a complex procedure. To some “cowboy” installers, applying the sealant is an after-thought, with a badly applied incorrect admixture causing the seal to be thick and very slippery.

Here at Complete Driveway Designs we pride ourselves in being pattern imprinted concrete experts. We take care with the sealant and also add an anti-slip agent to combat any slipperiness. All our staff have the relevant knowledge and experience to overcome these issues.

Will the concrete crack?

Concrete is well known for being strong and durable. Many of today’s oldest historical landmarks are made from concrete such as Rome’s Coliseum and Pantheon, and concrete is also used for modern structures that need to be be strong, such as the Hoover Dam. One thing to note about concrete is that it grows stronger over time, meaning that your concrete driveway will be solid for years to come.

“Will the concrete crack?” is a question we get asked on a regular basis. Simply put, yes concrete will crack, however here at Complete Driveway Designs we are experts in dealing with it. In order to mitigate cracks we create expansion/crack control joints once the concrete has set. These are perfectly positioned cuts in discreet areas (usually in-between the pattern) which will control where the cracks go. Any crack that appears will be directed along this cut, and therefore be small and barely noticeable.

crack-control-jointThe arrows show where the control joints are

crack-control-joint-reverseFrom the reverse angle the joints are virtually invisible

How can I be sure I'm getting the best tradesmen working on my property?

In order to achieve the best possible results, we ensure that all of our installers are suitably trained and qualified. Not only this, we are fully committed to CSCS training, resulting in our health and safety policies and procedures being the best in the industry.

If that’s not enough, take a look at the accreditations we have below.


How do I maintain my concrete driveway? Essential and non-essential maintenance?

We generally split our driveway maintenance jobs into two categories, essential and non-essential. It is important for our customers to know the difference, so that they can determine whether any remedial work is urgently required, or if it is just a cosmetic issue.

Essential Maintenance for Pattern Imprinted Concrete

Basically this is needed when the sealant has worn away. The sealant is an acrylic compound applied to all our driveways after installation, and ensures they are protected from weathering, the freeze/thaw cycle, and other erosion from pedestrians and vehicles. If the seal has worn away it is essential to get it re-sealed, as there is currently nothing protecting the concrete. The image below shows a driveway in need of essential maintenance.

Non-Essential Maintenance for Pattern Imprinted Concrete

This is maintenance that enhances the visual appearance of the driveway, but where there is no threat to the integrity of the concrete. A good example of this is blooming, which is described above in the “What are the white patches on my driveway?” section. Another is when a driveway has “lost its colour”, which is an indication that the seal is doing its job. The image below shows a driveway that is not damaged and the seal has not worn away or been penetrated. The seal has weathered naturally and ‘frosted over’, and a full reseal although not essential has brought through the colour of the concrete underneath. We liken this to having your car waxed – it is not essential but if you want it to look good it is something you should consider.


Concrete driveway maintenance during and after winter?

Although concrete is remarkably durable, it does require a minimal amount of care. The sealant we apply after installation does act as a protective barrier, however there are still some points to note on how to maintain the surface during the winter months. It is always a good idea to clear any snow gathering on the driveway, never to use de-icers and under no circumstances ever apply salt, if for some reason. Salt and de-icers should be washed away immediately with water through a low powered jet.

Should the surface ever be slippery, the best solution would be to apply sand on the affected areas.

We recommend that a re-seal is carried out by professionals every 2 to 3 years in order to maximize protection.

Potential cosmetic problems with pattern imprinted concrete?

Although concrete is remarkably durable, it does require a minimal amount of care. The sealant we apply after installation does act as a protective barrier, however there are still some points to note on how to maintain the surface during the winter months. It is always a good idea to clear any snow gathering on the driveway, never to use de-icers and under no circumstances ever apply salt, if for some reason. Salt and de-icers should be washed away immediately with water through a low powered jet.

Should the surface ever be slippery, the best solution would be to apply sand on the affected areas.

We recommend that a re-seal is carried out by professionals every 2 to 3 years in order to maximize protection.

Two of the biggest concerns with Pattern Imprinted Concrete are blooming and delamination.

Blooming occurs when moisture is trapped under the sealant which is applied to your concrete once it’s been poured and pattern imprinted. This trapped moisture stops the sealant properly penetrating the surface of the concrete. The sealant and the trapped moisture react with each other, causing patches of visible discolouration.

Delamination is caused by sealant being applied to concrete which hasn’t been properly prepared or has had too much of another admixture applied to it. This stops the sealant being able to cover the concrete properly.  Delamination is the sealant literally peeling away from the concrete.

Both blooming and delamination can be dealt with by properly resealing your driveway. Stripping away the original sealant, thoroughly cleaning the surface of the pattern imprinted concrete, and carefully reapplying a new coat is the only certain way to get rid of discolouration.

Obviously, when we install a pattern imprinted concrete driveway we do everything possible to ensure that these problems – especially delamination – don’t occur. If you’ve got concerns about a driveway that we’ve installed, please don’t hesitate to contact us regarding remedial projects.


Tarmac vs imprinted concrete driveways?

There are a number of different options available to those who are looking to solve their driveway problems by investing in a long term addition to their property. However, usually this choice – which can be a difficult one – boils down to choosing between two of the most common methods of hard-surfacing, tarmacadam (“tarmac”) and concrete.

Along with the obvious difference in composition between the two materials, there are a number of other distinguishing features which should be taken into account when choosing between the two options.

For domestic applications like driveway design, both concrete and tarmac require certain additions before setting, in order to increase their workability. For tarmac, this is know as “cutback”; it’s the addition of a solvent. This solvent stops the tarmac setting in order to increase the amount of time it can be worked and shaped. This solvent has to evaporate out of the tarmac before the setting process can be completed. Although this does allow greater flexibility in working the unset tarmac, it can backfire, meaning that the surface of the tarmac will stay soft and sticky for weeks or even months after it should’ve set. Concrete is not affected by its admixtures in this way.

There are a number of other issues affecting tarmac which a concrete driveway will not suffer from, Soft, badly set tarmac, can, for example, be scuffed by the wheels of cars with power-steering turning “on the spot”. This can make it unsuitable for driveways in which some tight reversing and turning is necessary.

Tarmac, even well installed and properly set, is much more susceptible to chemicals than concrete. A spillage of vehicular oil on tarmac will eat through the surfacing and spread through the surrounding tarmac. There’s no way to salvage tarmac which has been exposed to such solvents; any affected patches must be cut out of the driveway and patched up with new tarmac.

Although tarmac driveways may have a lower initial price than concrete driveways, you should remember that the difference in price is indicative of a difference in quality. To use an old but accurate cliché, you get what you pay for.

Want to know more about pattern imprinted concrete driveways? Feel free to call the office and speak to an expert on 01706 827 180.


Do I need planning permission for a new driveway?

This is a very common discussion amongst the public, which causes a lot of confusion. Complete Driveway Designs prides itself on adhering to all current legislation, which ultimately terminates the need for planning permission.

If your new driveway created a direct entrance/exit to a carriageway, then planning permission is usually required. If the area in question is already is already an entrance/exit and is utilised, planning permission is not required.

It is always best to consult with your Local Planning Authority before deciding to go ahead with any planned work, at Complete Driveway Designs we’re always happy to help, why not call the office today on 01706 827 180 to discuss your needs?