Cleaning and Sealing Imprinted Concrete

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Imprinted concrete is sealed when first laid, which makes it a durable surface, but left exposed to the elements, the original seal gradually wears off. If the concrete is not renewed every few years, the colour can fade and the surface can quickly deteriorate, leading to some other problems that can be quite expensive to repair. There is specialist equipment for cleaning the imprinted concrete driveway, and they only use the best quality concrete sealer and colour tints. Repair materials can also be added to make the surface look as good as brand new and keep it protected for a very long time.

Advantages Of Having An Imprinted Concrete Driveway

  • Efficiency: the setup of an imprinted concrete surface can be far more as the procedure allows you to cover bigger areas quicker.
  • Weed and moss: imprinted concrete driveway have less chances for weeds and moss to hold on to. While this unwanted greenery can start to appear in the joints over time, it will not require almost as much weed killing as other driveways.
  • Strength and integrity: The strong fiber mesh reinforced concrete base laid on top of an appropriate sub-base implies that an imprinted concrete driveway is not likely to struggle with any movement or sinking.

Disadvantages Of Having An Imprinted Concrete Driveway

  • Less attractive: it is naturally in the eyes of the beholder, but the visual imprinted driveway can suffer where patterned matts are used. More so, the alignment for an imprinted concrete driveway is not quite right.
  • Breaking out: it is not common for cracks to start showing on the imprinted driveway. If those fracture becomes big and unwanted, it can be a thing of concern. While spot repair work is possible, it can regularly require the whole location to be resurfaced.
  • Drainage: imprinted surface is not permeable. This means that it will not let surface area water move out. Without a proper drainage solution in place an imprinted driveway does not dwell by having water or liquids settle on them.

Imprinted concrete cleaning

Prior to the application of any restoration materials, the surface should be pressure cleaned and left to dry properly. Use a specialist power washer at a low pressure on the surface of the imprinted concrete to clean the driveway of any dirt, detritus and algae with soap and clean water. A combination of high quality products are used for oil stain removal, algae and any green building up on the surface, and the removal of any pollutants and residues from car tires and exhausts. Then use clean water to wash them off and let it dry.

Imprinted concrete sealing

It is best to apply double coats with roughly two hours drying time between coats.

One of the advantages of cleaning and sealing the concrete imprinted driveway is that the concrete itself will never get exposed to the elements of weather and the vehicle used due to the sealant. Cleaning these surfaces will remove harmful particles that could find their way to the sealer and damage the concrete. Ensure that your driveway surface gets a sealant top up every 3 to 5 years.

Clear Signs To Know Your Driveway Needs Cleaning.

  • Fading colour
  • Algae starts to develop roots as the imprinted concrete starts to lose its water resistance coating.
  • Oil stains starts to penetrate into the imprinted concrete
  • Corrosion of imprinted concrete.

Procedure For Cleaning

  • Using a pressure washer at low pressure at the surface of the imprinted concrete will clear any dust, dirt and algae from the driveway using soap and water. A fungicide can also be added , and a power wash for a more aggressive washing then use clean water to wash away any dirt and let it dry.
  • Apply a degreasing agent to remove oil spills or stains and use the broom to apply the sealer onto the dry surface. Ensure that the sealer does not pool in the imprinted joints and apply a couple of thin coats one after the other with each coat building on the older one. 
  • Leave the sealer to soak and be absorbed into the concrete surface and let it dry before applying another coat. When applying the last coat of sealer remember to add anti-slip addictive because the sealer can become slippery at this point. 
  • It is advisable not to use the driveway for a couple of days, allow it to dry after cleaning and sealing the surface.

Does And Don’ts For Cleaning An Imprinted Concrete Driveway

  • Never use a pressure washer to clean your concrete surface. Over time the high pressure will break down the sealer and reduce the protection, the shine  and expected life span of the sealer.
  • Always use a gentle cleaner when washing the imprinted concrete. The cleaner will release the dirt that gets trapped in the valley and cracked concrete. 
  • Always use a garden hose to rinse your concrete, this will extend the life span of the sealer.
  • Avoid over-spray from lawn sprinklers, constant exposure to water on the surface will break the sealer off and eventually expose the colour of the concrete to the environment.
  • Avoid salt and defrosters, salt and defrosters are very acidic and can break down the sealer rapidly. It is recommended to use concrete and eco-friendly safe defrosters such as    Seal green snow and ice-melters.
  • Never shovel ice or snow off the concrete with a metal shovel or blade   as this can scratch or chip the sealer and the concrete.
  • Pots and planters on top of the concrete should be at least ½ off the surface to allow the concrete surface to always dry and reduce whit, humidity and stains under the planter. You can as well use the drip tray that gets a hold of the water. 
  • Avoid watering the plant with plant food or fertilisers that have high acidity on the concrete surface, because this can stain the concrete with white and destroy the sealer.
  • Avoid fire pits or chimaeras over the concrete surface because the heat can destroy the sealer  thereby creating white stains. And if it is too hot, it may weaken and destroy the concrete under it.
  • Never drag chairs and tables over the imprinted concrete surface. Lift them up and move them as they can scratch the sealer and allow for water penetration into the concrete.
  • Do not drain gutters on top of your concrete surface. The constant passing of water and minerals from the water too can break down the sealer and permanently stain the surface of the concrete.

Reasons why cleaning the imprinted concrete driveway is important

All imprinted concrete will need to pass through some preventive maintenance to keep them in their best condition and looking neat. Apart from aesthetics, a poorly maintained  imprinted concrete driveway is capable of building up moss and mildew, which poses a risk of slips and trips  to your family and visitors in your home. The owner’s driveway is protected with a special treatment of powerful, environmentally friendly weed killers. This solution is aimed at curbing the return of weeds, moss and algae, especially in any expansion joints- which would otherwise be a weak point allowing weed and moss to resurface. For a more secured finish, it is recommended to use an application of sealants which includes anti-slip additive to make your imprinted concrete driveway a safer surface to step across. 

Protect against water ingression

An imprinted concrete driveway that has been neglected can become porous over time, allowing rain to soak into the material and cause damage. In the winter season, the lower temperature can cause the water to freeze and expand, which can lead to cracking. Annually resealing the driveway will help it to remain watertight and  keep it looking nice throughout the winter period.

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