Answering Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About Pattern Paving

Pattern paving, or decorative concrete, can be a good option for home or any commercial facility. This can keep the concrete from looking dull and drab and also adds texture so that snow and ice melt away more quickly and you have more traction for walking and driving. If you've never had a pattern paving or decorative concrete installed on your property before, note a few commonly asked questions about the process and materials and then discuss these with a contractor as needed.

1. Will the pattern cause concrete to crack more quickly?

Concrete will eventually crack; that is simply the nature of the material. It absorbs moisture over time and expands and then shrinks as it dries, leading to cracking. This can be affected by the pattern or type of decorative concrete you choose; if you have a deep pattern installed so the concrete looks like stone, this might allow water to settle into those ridges and, in turn, be absorbed more easily. Adding pits and grooves to the surface of the concrete to create a swirl pattern might also allow for more water to collect.

However, note that your concrete installer may compensate for this by grading your property's surface before adding the concrete. Sloping the surface of the property downward in one direction, just slightly, can mean that water is more easily directed away from the concrete and will then drain into the street or another runoff area. He or she may also recommend you have the concrete sealed more often than usual. This will ensure your pattern is protected and the concrete won't crack before it should.

2. Can pattern paving be installed over existing concrete?

You may not necessarily need to have your existing concrete pulled up in order to have pattern paving installed; this will depend on the thickness of the current concrete and its overall condition. A contractor may want to buff the surface in order to roughen it up and be ready for new concrete; however, note that your current concrete may be so thick that another layer would add too much weight and cause the surface to shift and settle. This could cause premature cracking. In that case, the old concrete may need to be removed.

3. Does pattern paving need additional maintenance?

Other than the more frequent sealing mentioned above, you may only need occasional maintenance to replace lost aggregate for textured concrete. The stamping done for concrete and the stain or paint used to create the look of stone is typically very durable and should need no more work over time than any type of plain concrete.