Your old, rusty Ford might have left its signature oil and transmission fluid spots in your driveway, and the root from that huge city owned magnolia tree most likely also wreaked some havoc. Driveway stamping, staining & coloring could hold the answer to your quest for a way of beautifying the outward appearance of your property – without breaking the bank. Whether you are selling your home, are refinancing and waiting for an appraisal to come in, or simply want to spruce up the old homestead, read on for some money saving DIY tips and tricks.
Most likely familiar to anyone with kids who love Playdough, the fine art of stamping designs into moist dough is a surefire way of creating realistic looking faux wood grain patterns on oddly pink colored Playdough. Transferring this application to your driveway is possible!
Purchase polymer enhanced concrete mix, be very careful to read the instructions on mixing and letting it set, and then invest in the devices that stamp on the patterns you desire. You may choose brick patterns, imitate the look of flagstone, tile, or even create some whimsical designs. Oftentimes these stamps are made out of large mats which are then applied over the area until the desired stamping is done.
Seal the concrete afterwards to prevent any weathering. The advantage is obvious: rather than investing in expensive flagstones, you can simply stamp your driveway to look as though you had.
Staining your driveway will cover over a multitude of discolorations and imperfections, but it won’t make that huge buckle in the middle go away. Begin with a rented power washer and thoroughly clean the driveway. Fix any major problems you notice. If you have oil or car fluid buildup the power washer was unable to remove, ask at your big box home improvement store for a solvent that may take care of the problem.
After your driveway is clean, subject it to an acid wash. This will actually damage the upper most layer of the concrete in such a manner as to enable it to accept the stain which otherwise would simply drain off into the gutter. It is important to note that you are not actually adding dye to the process but are instead starting a chemical reaction to take place which oxidizes the concrete and creates beautiful marble like patterns.
Although it pains me to say it, but unless you are very experienced, this should be left to a professional.
This is perhaps the least reliable means for altering your driveway’s appearance but because it is also the cheapest and easiest for the do-it-yourselfer, you see it quite frequently. One caveat: it does nothing to disguise serious flaws and problems on your driveway.
Begin by cleaning your driveway as though you were going to stain it, but instead of following the cleaning with an acid wash, you are actually applying a thin level of colored concrete. Go inside and pray. Come back out and hope for the best.
If you are fortunate or extraordinarily skilled, your driveway will look truly spruced up; if you are conservative in your color application, your driveway will probably show a little hue but not much else. If you went for the whole enchilada, you might end up with a driveway that is much too dark, and for the next few weekends you will spend considerable time and effort lightening your dye job.
I would personally suggest avoiding this option altogether unless you are extremely skilled, have an adventurous soul, or know a great concrete contractor who can get it done right.