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Concrete - design ideas needed

bbodb1

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Yes, the exciting subject of concrete.

There is a bit of background here, so please allow me a moment of explanation. We have two areas with a considerable amount of concrete in our yard - around the pool and our driveway. In the boredom created over the past couple of months, the wife decided to get out our old power washer as part of an attempt to clean the concrete up a bit (improving the general look of the concrete, etc). Well, the power washer we had was over 25 years old. Needless to say, it did not last long before it powered its last wash but that was no surprise. The problem emerging from that was the purchase of a new power washer and with that purchase came the realization that everything needed to be power washed! Suffice to say our concrete surfaces are now much cleaner and while there is certainly nothing wrong with that, the question of what to do with the (now) clean surface(s) emerged. For the pool area it was an easy consideration since that area was formerly stained concrete. While there was little evidence of the stain left (after 22+ years), the easy decision with respect to the pool area was to restain it. And that was done.

But that leaves the question of the driveway (and sidewalk from the driveway to the front door) - what to do now with that clean concrete?

Obviously one option is to do nothing, but if our goal is to maximize the life span of the concrete, does it help achieve that goal by sealing the concrete? Or, is there another option?
We gave a passing thought to staining the driveway concrete too, but I am not sure if that really protects the concrete given the amount of grime and wear a driveway receives.

So here is my question: given a recently clean (by power washing) concrete driveway, what product would you apply to the driveway in order to help keep the driveway looking good for another 10 (or more) years?

Thanks in advance for any ideas!
 
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bbodb1

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Darn! I thought this was going to be about Culver's Concretes.
Sorry to disappoint, @Cornell...but I did search for Culver's Concretes and I understand the disappointment now .... looks extremely delicious!
 

DrQ

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Staining will not protect the concrete. If you seal it, I would consult with a professional to make sure you don't inadvertently create an "ice" rink every time it gets wet.
 

DrQ

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Darn! I thought this was going to be about Culver's Concretes.
We got three Culver's in the the Dallas area and we both grew up the the Chicago area. It was a welcome addition, but my cholesterol levels limit our visits. :cry:
 

Talent312

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What I'd do: A stamped concete overlay.
From concretenetwork.com
A stamped overlay offers all the aesthetic benefits of conventional stamped concrete but is applied over existing concrete. Stamped concrete overlays allow you to duplicate the beauty and texture of natural stone, brick, slate, wood, and other materials without having to replace your concrete.
 

bbodb1

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Just to provide some idea of what we were doing, here is the area around the pool. Photo 1 is an in progress shot while photo 2 is completed.
Clearly these are not shades I would want to use on a driveway, but that is what a stain can look like.
It will be interesting to see how it wears over time.
I'm not a huge fan of the gray color we chose, but it does help bring the blue out in the pool and the liner.
It definitely looks better than the condition of the pre-stained concrete.
20200602_121710.jpg
20200604_114743.jpg
 

bbodb1

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Thanks for those ideas @Talent312 - the pool concrete was originally stamped concrete.
I am going to visit that website for more ideas!
 

GetawaysRus

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Well, to be honest my opinion is: do nothing. Leave the nice, clean, plain concrete as plain. That will make it easy to clean with your power washer when necessary.

Why do I say this? My opinion has a lot to do with where I live.

The first owner of the house we are in happened to be a concrete contractor (a really good one - he has done work for Disneyland). So we have large areas of beautifully done stamped concrete. This creates several problems:

1. The sun in Southern California is very strong and gradually eats the stuff alive.
2. This means that our concrete needs to be restained and resealed every few years. I would be ecstatic if the stain and sealer would last 10 years, as you are hoping for, but that's not been the reality.
3. California air quality laws are tight. In the 15 years we have been here, the standards on the sealers have been gradually tightened. When we moved in, sealers could have a VOC (volatile organic compound) rating of 400. That's been reduced and reduced, and it's now down to 70. As the sealers get weaker, the length of time between restain/reseal jobs has declined. Now it's 2 or maybe 3 years at best.
4. I could pay someone to do it, but it would be a very costly job.

So when I reseal and restain everything, it's gorgeous. But then it drives me crazy to watch the color and stain slowly deteriorate knowing that I am going to have to redo it in a few years. Plain concrete would be so much easier.

Of course, this decision will have a lot to do with where you live. Can you get a high quality sealer? How badly will the weather affect the decorative concrete? How big an area is it, and what would it cost to pay someone to do it for you? How long will your stain and seal realistically last? How much of a job will it be to redo it yourself, especially as we all slowly get older.
 

GetawaysRus

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One more comment for you. You're concerned about grime and wear on a driveway.

My experience is that this has not been an issue. My enemy is the weather and the strong sun. We have 2 cars, a sedan and an F-150. I only occasionally see visible tire tracks or spots of oil, and I am able to clean those satisfactorily with a good degreaser. I don't allow servicemen to park on my driveway- so many of their trucks leak oil.
 
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