Concrete is an enduringly popular building material. It's strong, versatile, cost-effective and durable. Even though there are many other options available, concrete is still one of the most commonly used materials for driveways because of its numerous benefits. If the thought of using concrete for your new driveway leaves you feeling a little bit uninspired, then rest assured. There are a number of stylish, attractive and creative concrete finishes available these days. Here are three ideas you might like to consider for a concrete driveway.
1. Exposed aggregate
Aggregate is the name for the small pieces of stone or gravel that form part of the concrete mix. These serve a functional purpose by helping the concrete to bind together effectively as it sets. Aggregate can also serve a more decorative purpose if you choose an attractive stone variety and then expose it by lightly grinding the surface of the set concrete.
Virtually any stone or pebble varieties are suitable for use as exposed aggregate. Multicoloured river stones, sparkling quartz and coloured granite all make attractive choices. For aggregate with a bit more sparkle, you can even use crushed coloured glass on its own or mixed in with the stone of your choice.
2. Natural stone finish
You may love the idea of an elegant and timeless natural stone driveway. Unfortunately, you may have discovered that the cost far exceeds your budget limitations. Opting for a natural stone finish on your concrete driveway is a great compromise and is available for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Modern concrete finishes can replicate the look and texture of virtually any natural stone variety. From buttery sandstone and luxurious marble through to the darker tones of granite, you can create a beautiful stone look driveway that is difficult to distinguish from the real thing. As an added bonus, a concrete driveway with a natural stone finish will last longer than real stone.
3. Stamped concrete
Another way to get a unique and highly decorative finish on your concrete driveway is to opt for stamped concrete. Your concrete contractor will use custom made timber stamps to imprint a pattern on the surface of the concrete before it has completely set.
This option gives you great versatility in your choice of design and style. You can recreate the look of pavers, cobblestones or vintage brickwork or come up with your own more elaborate pattern if you so desire. Stamped concrete is great to use in conjunction with a concrete colourant so you can achieve the effect that you desire.