When having a concrete driveway poured for your property, you might consider having the concrete stamped, painted, or stained. Concrete is very porous and holds a paint color very well, and this type of finish can make your driveway look like it's made of natural stone or brick. Paint can also include any type of design you want, such as your family's initial or another symbol.
It's easy to think that a decorative concrete driveway is more delicate than plain concrete, but the opposite is often true. In many cases, a decorative driveway is more durable; note why that is so you can determine if this is the right choice for your home.
1. Color hardener
A stamped or painted concrete driveway will usually have a color hardener applied over the color itself. This is to protect the color and keep it from chipping, but it also serves to protect the driveway. A color hardener protects the paint on the surface of the driveway and, in turn, protects the concrete underneath from abrasions, cracks, flaking, and the like. This can be very important if you use the driveway for anything other than an entryway to your garage; if the kids ride their bikes up and down the driveway or skate, play basketball, or otherwise use the driveway for playing, you need this added protection.
This color hardener also keeps out excess moisture and water from the surface of the driveway. This can be important for any property, as too much moisture can soften concrete, but it's especially important in tropical area with heavy rainfall, areas with heavy snowfall, and on property that may not be graded so as to allow moisture to drain away from the driveway.
2. Protective sealer
A sealer is typically added over stamped or otherwise decorated concrete, to keep out dirt, oil, and other debris from the decorative elements. This protects the decorative part of the concrete but also protects the concrete itself, as with the paint hardener. A sealer will keep oil and mud from seeping into the concrete and creating stains while making cleanup easier. A protective sealer is also meant to protect paint and stain from fading under the sun's UV rays, and this can also protect the concrete, as it's less likely to get overly dry and brittle in very sunny areas. This sealer also makes your concrete driveway more durable overall while protecting the decorative finish.
For more information about the benefits of decorative concrete driveways, contact local concrete contractors.