Concrete By Design works to solve issues with concrete for both the residential and commercial market. Several years ago, we received a call from a homeowner in Peachtree City, Georgia regarding her driveway. She explained her situation as such: her driveway was previously painted by an artist and looked beautiful initially but it was aging and fading and in dire need of a facelift.
Concrete by Design scheduled an appointment with the homeowner to discuss the issues and give her some solutions. As previously stated, the home was located in Peachtree City, Georgia, home of many golf courses and golf carts. In fact there are over 60 miles of golf cart paths in Peachtree City and this area is home to the Canongate Golf Club and many movie production Studios. As I arrived at her property I noticed her beautiful Spanish influenced home, complete with Spanish red tile terracotta accents and a luscious array of garden vegetation. I also noted the painted artistic pattern that existed on her concrete driveway.
The previous application looked to be failing and peeling in several areas. The paint that the contractor used for her driveway was unfortunately not UV stable, which meant it was not protected from sunlight. Because of this, over the last four years, the painted surface had begun to chip, fade, and lose its luster. The homeowner explained to me that she had paid a premium for this gentleman to come and paint this driveway; she agreed that it did look good for the first two years, but after that everything started to fall apart.
Many areas seemed to be flaking or scaling right off of the concrete and there were also many cracks throughout the driveway that were not properly repaired and were leaking groundwater from the surrounding irrigated sod lawn surface. These cracks were pushing water straight through the concrete, which was causing fertilizers to be leeched onto the driveway resulting in stains and discoloration.
An important fact to note when it comes to repairing cracks in concrete is that there are some things to consider before starting your repair that will determine how you actually address the issue. First, you must consider if the repair will be a structural repair or a cosmetic repair? A structural crack usually consists of a deep crack that goes through the concrete completely, depending on the depth of concrete, the crack can be anywhere from 4 inches all the way up to 10 inches. A cosmetic crack tends to be a small hairline crack that does not seem to go through the slab completely but may have been caused by the curing process of the concrete when the slab was poured.
Additionally, improper concrete joint placement can cause stress on the driveway resulting in hairline cracks. After carefully reviewing the cracks in her driveway we determined that there were some structural cracks and some hairline cracks throughout the driveway. We then explained the process of repairing the concrete cracks. First, we would be removing the paint from the surface and “opening” or “cleaning out” the crack to accept our patching material. The material to be used is an epoxy injection with a sand broadcast to fill the crack and continue to inject epoxy into the crack until the surface is completely sealed.
Our concrete repair epoxy is a two part system that once mixed, creates a mechanical bond to completely mend the concrete together. This epoxy system is a product called concrete mender made by the Road Ware Company. Once the cracks are sealed, we continue by grinding the cracks flat and flush to the existing elevation of the driveway. By injecting this moisture tolerant epoxy into the cracks, it guarantees that moisture will not push its way through the concrete causing further damage to the concrete surface itself or the resurfacing products that we would offer as part of the final solution.
After discussing the crack repair to the client, the following step was to discuss decorative options for creating the perfect new decorative concrete driveway. The client voiced some of her concerns with the current surface texture, mentioning that it was very slippery when it rained and that it was almost like walking on ice. She asked if we had any options to create a non slippery surface because she was frequently out watering her plants and there was standing water almost daily.
Concrete by Design offered her a spray down texture system which would create a non-slip texture but also give a decorative appeal to her driveway to cover up any existing blemishes on the surface. The client also expressed that she wanted a certain color to go with her Spanish style home. After taking a look at several color charts, we narrowed the color down to terracotta to match her Spanish tile roof and also accent her exotic clay pots in the gardens surrounding the driveway. Once she confirmed the application and color selection, Concrete By Design was able to move forward with the surface preparation of the concrete.
The entire process was as follows:
First, any moisture in the cracks had to be removed so we used a special propane torch to remove existing surface moisture from the cracks before filling them with our epoxy injection. The crew then opened up the existing cracks in the surface and and placed sand in them, then filled them with a penetrating epoxy. Once all the cracks are repaired in the driveway and sanded smooth we began to inspect the surface just to make sure all cracks were properly filled. Next, it was time to start the pressure washing process to clean the existing painted driveway. We used a hot water pressure washer that is 3500 PSI to clean the surface to remove any bond breakers or oils that were on the painted surface . This was important for the overall performance of the concrete resurfacing products, as with all concrete applications success is all in the prep work. After the concrete surface dried we began to lay our resurfacing material. We started by placing a cementitious layer called a base coat or grout coat onto the surface to fill any imperfections and also give us a good substrate to apply our textured concrete application. Then, a coat of terracotta grout coat was applied to the surface to make it smooth and uniform, and finally, a second coat of terracotta is sprayed onto the surface using a hopper gun or a special texture sprayer. This texture sprayer allows for different granule sizes of cementitious material to be sprayed onto the surface resulting in small dimples for traction. This product application was nearly complete but before finishing, 2 protective coats of sealer were placed onto the surface to resist staining from oils, salts, and dirt.
Once we completed this concrete driveway resurfacing, the client was extremely satisfied with the work. We continued to come out to this driveway every couple of years to reapply a fresh coat of sealer for added protection and durability.