Choosing A Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway

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Choose a professional to install your pattern imprinted concrete driveway

The first decision you will need to make when installing your pattern imprinted concrete driveway is which company you are going to use to install it. This is the most important step, as employing someone who is not fully competent or a general builder can end up with a poor quality pattern imprinted concrete driveway and cost you thousands in repairs.

Decorative Concrete Specialists are printed concrete specialists and will provide you with the highest quality pattern imprinted concrete driveway that will last a lifetime, with little or no maintenance.

What kind of pattern do you want on your driveway?

The next decision you will need to make when installing your pattern imprinted concrete driveway is the kind of pattern (or “imprint”) you would like. There are two types of pattern that can be used – a textured mat pattern and a metal mat pattern.

A textured mat creates a shallow imprint that is more subtle than a metal mat imprint and adds a more natural feel to the driveway.

A metal mat creates a bold imprint that is a lot more visible than a textured imprint and gives more aesthetics to the driveway

Choosing between these mats is up to you and how you would like your driveway to look. There aren’t really any advantages of having one over the other.

Choosing a design for your pattern imprinted concrete driveway

There are many designs for pattern imprinted concrete driveways and we will give you a wide range of options to choose from. You can have straight, structured lines which add a respectable look to the property as a whole or alternatively you can have a crazy design that adds a fun, unique vibe to the property. Or there are many designs somewhere in between that add a respectable amount of uniqueness and structure to the property.

Below is an example of a pattern imprinted concrete driveway installed by Decorative Concrete Specialists Ltd. For more examples of our work see our driveways gallery.

Pattern Imprinted Driveway Example

Pattern Imprinted Concrete Walls

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Precast concrete walls have many uses; you can use them in a kitchen, for bathroom walls or to form a concrete living room in the basement or other home level. Precast concrete is not only used in residential applications but is common in commercial construction as well. Many manufacturers will not allow anyone but their own trained employees install their products, however here are the basics on how they are installed and what is involved in ordering and pre-planning.

Step One: Planning

It important to plan ahead when using precast concrete walls. You need to have the plans for the building and allow for any window and door openings. Once you have the plans ready submit them to the manufacturer to start the process.

Step Two: City Permits

It is important to get the appropriate permits before installing the precast walls. Some cities might require a different base than the minimum gravel base while others may have a minimum thickness requirement for walls. Submit the plans to the city and obtain the proper permits for installing the walls, including the use of a crane.

Step Three: Gravel Base

For a proper base you will need to have 8 to 12 inches of compacted gravel base beneath each wall. It is not necessary to have a concrete base for the precast concrete walls.

Step Four: The Crane

The walls will require use of a crane to lift the precast walls off of the delivery truck and into the correct spot for installation. You need to arrange for a crane, and crane access to the construction site. Be sure to check with your city to see if permits are needed for the crane usage.

Step Five: First Wall

Use the crane and set the first wall into place. This wall will need to be braced with 2 by 4′s  on either side to keep it upright and vertical.

Step Six: Next Walls

The next wall should form a 90 degree angle to the first and will make it possible to remove the braces. The manufacturer builds in pre set holes that will fit together and allow for bolts to hold them in place. Each wall will fit together exactly as your plans specified to the manufacturer.

Pattern Imprinted Concrete Patios

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How to install Patio Paving

1) First step needed to install pavers: Choose a paver. There are many from which to choose. There is one out there that’s right for every project. If you’ll be using brick, make sure you use paving bricks

2) Mark the outside dimensions. If your project is square or rectangular, drive a spike into each corner and spray paint the lines between the spikes to mark where you will be digging. For an irregularly shaped project, simply mark the edges with spray paint.

3) Get your shovel ready. It’s time to dig. You need to remove about 8 1/2; inches of earth to install pavers and a base for them. This will allow for 5 inches of crushed, 1 inch of sand, and the thickness of the paver, which is generally about 2 1/2; inches. If your pavers are thicker or thinner, change your excavation depth accordingly. It may seem like there’s a lot of digging required to install pavers properly, but it’s worth the hard work. As you dig, periodically place a straight edge across the edges of the patio and measure down to check the depth of your hole. It is better to dig a little too deep than a little too shallow.

4) Fill it back in. Now that you’ve done all that hard work digging that hole, you’re going to fill it back in. This may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but it’s the proper way to install pavers. First, install a layer of landscape fabric in the hole. Now add 5 inches of crushed stone. This will give your pavers a strong base yet allow them to remain flexible. This is especially important if you live in an area exposed to the freeze/thaw cycle. As you add crushed stone, periodically check for depth by laying a straight edge across and measuring down as you did before. Use a hand tamper or rent a compactor to compact the crushed stone.

5) Install another layer of landscape fabric. This serves two purposes. Like the first layer of fabric, it helps deter the growth of weeds. It will also prevent the layer of sand you are about to add from mixing with the crushed stone you just installed, while at the same time allowing water to drain through.

6) Install 1 inch of sand. This will be the setting bed that your pavers will rest in. The more time you spend getting this close to perfect, the easier the rest of the project will be.
To assist with installing the sand, we’ll use 2x4s as our guides (you can also use long pieces of pipe for your guides). Sprinkle some sand along the perimeter of your project. Place the 2x4s along the edge. Using a level and tape measure, add or take away sand as needed to make the 2x4s flat and 2 1/2 inches (the thickness of your paver) below the top of your new walkway or patio. Once your guides are at the proper pitch and height, fill the rest of the space with sand, using a rake and trusting your eyes to make it as flat as possible.

7) Use a long 2×4 as a screed. Place each end of the long 2×4 on a guide. Slide the 2×4 across the guides, levelling the sand in the process. Go across the area three or four times, adding or taking away sand as necessary.

8)  Using a hand tamper or compactor, compact the sand. This is a very important step. If you don’t compact it, the sand will settle over time, which will cause the pavers to settle too, leaving you with dips and valleys in your project area.

9) Add a little more sand and repeat the screeding process. This should leave you with a nice flat surface for the pavers to be set in. After screeding, avoid walking on the sand.

10) Straight edge. Before you start to install pavers, you need a straight line to work off. You can use a long 2×4 as a straight edge, or, you can drive two spikes and hang a string line between them to serve as your straight edge. If you don’t start straight, your pavers won’t line-up properly.

11)  Finally, all the prep work is done. Like most construction projects, most of the work is in the preparation. Start placing your pavers in the sand, using your straight edge as a guide. But the pavers close together. There should still be a thin joint line between the pavers that will be filled with sand later. Use a level to check for flatness. Use a rubber mallet to knock down any high pavers. Add more sand and reset any low pavers. If you were careful leveling the sand with your screed, you shouldn’t have to do much levelling now.

 12)  Cutting pavers. You may need to cut pavers along the edges of your project. Read this article to learn how to cut pavers.

13)  Edging. The perimeter of your project will most likely need an edging to keep the pavers in place.

14)  Polymeric sand. Now that all your pavers are set, it’s time to fill in the spaces between them. You’ll use special sand: polymeric sand. It’s fine sand with additives that react with water to create a strong bond between the pavers. Using a large broom, sweep the sand between the joints of the pavers.

15)  Clean. Using a broom or a leaf blower (it’s easier) remove all the polymeric sand that is on the surface of the pavers. Really, all of it. In the next step we’re going to add water to the equation and any sand that’s left on the surface will stick to the pavers.

16)  Last step needed to install pavers: Turn on the hose. Set your hose setting to a light mist and gently water all the pavers. The idea here is to get the polymers in the sand to activate. You don’t want to flood the joints or the sand will wash out. A light mist will work well. Allow the sand to dry for 10 to 15 minutes and then wet it down again.

How to Install a Pattern Imprinted Concrete Driveway

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Develop a plan for your driveway

You will want to consider a number of things so that the driveway is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and durable. Here are some considerations.

Do a cost estimate of the driveway

To do this, you will have to calculate the amount of concrete you will need, the type of forms you will use, and any reinforcement material you will incorporate in the concrete slab. You should also estimate the cost of any equipment you will rent for grading or finishing, and the cost of labor if you intend to hire workers to help with the project.

Determine the soil bearing characteristics of your project site

Soft, loamy soils or loose, sandy soils need amending to support your drive. This can be done by adding clay to sandy soils, sand or gravel to loamy material, or possibly by mechanically compacting the existing material. If you are in doubt, consult an experienced builder or even a civil engineer before proceeding, since an unsuitable base will lead to failure of the concrete after your investment of time, labor, and money.

Lay out the sides of your driveway

You can do this by driving small wooden or metal stakes at points where the drive will egress the street, then at the end point near your home, then tying builder’s line on them, to help you visualize the path of the driveway.

Measure the width of the drive so that it corresponds with the plan you have made

This may be an appropriate step to consider the width you will build in. A minimum width for a typical residential driveway is about eight feet, but even for a single lane drive, ten or twelve feet is better. For two lane drives, sixteen feet should be considered minimum.

Remove any soil or other vegetation from the driveway location after you have established the edges with builder’s line

If the soil is particularly soft or unstable, you will want to remove enough so that a suitable fill material can be placed under the driveway as you build. In very cold climates, a capillary fill material like crushed stone or gravel is desirable, to prevent cracks from forming and enlarging due to water expansion during freezing conditions.

Determine if there are any underground utilities that should be modified or installed before adding fill material or setting forms

Some typical ones might be conduits for outdoor lighting or power, water lines for irrigation, as well as telephone lines or potable water lines for you home. Your property may also slope in such a way as to require an underground stormwater drainage pipe to transfer surface water from one side of your drive to another.

Install the forms for your driveway

Typically, these will be 1×4 or 2×4 pieces of lumber, anchored with wooden stakes sufficiently to support the form boards. These stakes are driven into the soil with a sledgehammer at a spacing to keep the formboards on grade and straightly aligned. For curving drives, masonite or plywood that is strong enough to support the concrete load.

Grade the fill material or existing soil so that your slab of concrete will be the correct depth or thickness

Usually driveways are at least four inches thick for heavier vehicles or difficult to stabilize soil conditions, thicker concrete is suggested. Grading is done by placing a straightedge or tying a string across the top of your forms and measuring down to the soil, to the correct depth. Remove or add fill material with a shovel. You may also want to thicken the edges, or make them deeper, for additional strength and to decrease the likelihood of cracking.

Re-compact the fill material using a plate compactor

You may be able to compact the soil by driving a vehicle back and forth over it, taking care not to become stuck if it is particularly soft when you begin. The important thing to note, is that the compaction of the soil is what will support the weight of the concrete, as well as the subsequent load of vehicles using the drive, so the importance of having compacted, stable fill material cannot be overstated.

Install reinforcing steel

This can be a mat of steel reinforcing bars tied in place, typically number 4 rebar on 12 inch centers, or 6X6 welded wire reinforcing wire fabric, available at building supply stores. Another option is to have polypropylene fiber reinforcing added to the concrete mixture at the concrete plant.

Placement of your concrete

You will need the proper tools for the job, sufficient help to do it, and access for concrete trucks or an alternative method of placing the concrete in the forms. Wheelbarrowing the plastic concrete the length of a substantial driveway is labor-intensive, so if you cannot get the concrete trucks in a position to discharge their payload directly into your forms, consider hiring a concrete pumping contractor to place the material for you.

Cure the concrete

This is done by creating a moisture retaining barrier on the concrete’s surface, either with a layer of plastic sheeting, or by applying a chemical curing compound to prevent the concrete from drying out too quickly. You should protect your concrete drive from extreme weather conditions for at least three, and preferably seven days, so that it achieves its maximum strength.

Test drive your driveway

After allowing the concrete to cure sufficiently to support your vehicle gives a minimum of three days, preferably more then you will be able to drive your car on it to test its usability.

If you carefully follow these steps you should have a fully working driveway which is safe to use.

Welcome to Decorative Concrete Specialists

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Decorative Concrete Specialists are driveways, patios, paving and wallcrete specialists with over 25 years experience. We have carried out work for home owners throughout the UK, as well as commercial clients such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Walt Disney in Florida.

For more information on our services please contact us or take a few moments to look through our website.

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