A Patterned Concrete Guide

Patterned concrete also known as pattern imprinted concrete and concrete imprint is one of the newer types (as in 20 years or so) of driveway surface.

patterned concrete

An Pattern Imprinted Concrete Installation (Credit: Cornerstone Paving, Hampshire)

There’s a wide range of colours and patterns to choose from and as a decorative paving solution it is competitively priced. As a combination of colours and patterns can be put to good use the finished look is very attractive.

What is Patterned Concrete?

Lets be honest, plain concrete…is dull and grey and pretty boring. 

But patterned concrete is alive with colour!

TOP TIPS for a consistent colouring (Installers and Customers Alike)

  1. As the colour only penetrates 5-8mm of the top layer of freshly laid concrete, an even distribution is necessary before trowelling in. 
  2. Avoid adding too much or too little colour – both will result in patchiness. Consistency is vital with colour distribution!

Colour surface hardener is used to provide colour to freshly laid concrete and importantly this also provides extra support to the finished surface.

Keep in mind that for the best type of finish laying in ambient temperature and moisture levels is a must. This means not laying in very cold or very hot conditions. Different problems arise from each.

Too Cold – Very Bad

There’s a chance the water will freeze in the concrete mix and the impact on moisture levels and strength of concrete mix can be devastating.

Too Hot – Very Bad

There’s a danger that the concrete will set too quickly before the full application of colour surface hardener. As a result, concrete may show through and the overall colour will be inconsistent.

Too Wet – Very Bad

A light shower is okay during the laying process but not during the colouring or finishing part of an installation. A heavy downpour will ‘pot mark’ the finished surface and wash away colour.

Consequently, it’s highly recommended to use a professional and experienced imprinted concrete installer. We can help with this as we’ve established professional relationships with the best out there. Simply fill in your details below.

Patterned Concrete – The Printing Part:

In the early days of decorative concrete heavy metal molds were used which left a good deep print. However, the colour range was limited and colour blending just wasn’t possible. As a result, installations from this period simply don’t look as good as recent installations.

Concrete Metal Mold Print

An Older type Metal Mold Print

Modern printing methods use rubber mats:

  • These are applied to the concrete surface and geometrically fit together and interlock.
  • Mistakes in the printing part of patterned concrete installation are difficult to put right. So experience, really does count!
  • It’s imperative that mats must lock together to ensure there are no gaps.
  • Mats must be carefully lifted to ensure they do not ‘snag‘.
  • Features such as brick soldier borders and circles need to be printed first.

Patterned Concrete – Patterns and Colours

The range of colours and colour blends available for imprinted concrete is extensive. Most pattern imprinted driveways and patios are either in charcoal black which looks very good with patterns that have a cobble or block effect. Other patterns such as Ashlar slate provide a realistic natural look.

Comparing an Authentic Cobbles Surface Against a Printed Cobble

Generally with pattern imprinted concrete installations – lighter colours look better on larger areas, whereas, darker colours work really well on smaller areas.

 Impressed with Concrete? 

If you’re looking to pay as less as possible and looking for a ‘cheap’ paving option imprinted concrete will not be for you. But if you’re committed to enhancing both the look and value of your home, decorative concrete could be the solution.