driveway installation

Market Insight

Sealing the Deal: Ask Your Installer About Outdoor Sealer

Sealing your decorative concrete is an important part of the installation process for several reasons:

  • As concrete is a porous material it can absorb stain-causing contaminants if it is not sealed. By sealing your concrete, a protective layer can help to keep the concrete clean and looking new for longer.
  • Sealing can protect concrete from weather exposure.
  • An outdoor sealer might help to bring out the colour of your decorative concrete and enhance its aesthetic appeal.


You should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured

This short list shows why an outdoor sealer should be applied as your decorative concrete is installed. Surprisingly, not every concrete installer offers sealing as a standard part of their service. Therefore, you should never assume your decorative concrete has been properly sealed after it has been poured. Before you choose an installer, it’s important you ask them if sealing is all part of the service. While you’re at it, it might be a good idea to enquire about other key components of the installation, including:


  • Will you use plastic between the ground and the concrete?
  • What sort of steel reinforcement and steel mesh do you use?
  • Do you use the recommended membrane method when curing decorative concrete?
  • Where will the control joints be placed?
  • Will you still pour on a hot and windy day? (The answer should be NO, but steps can be taken if a pour is time-critical)
  • May I please see recent customer references, and some of the work you’ve completed?


Your decorative concrete should have a big and positive impact on the appearance of your home. For this to happen, it has to be installed correctly in every respect, including the use of an outdoor sealer. You have every right to be picky when choosing an installer who will do a complete job. Reputable suppliers of decorative concrete might be able to help you in this respect by recommending good installers in your area. It’s in the best interests of your concrete supplier to ensure their product looks its best once it is installed, so they will probably be very fussy about who they recommend to carry out the project.


Sealing your decorative concrete while it is being installed should not be a one-off. Resealing every two years is recommended, depending on traffic and resulting abrasion. Sealing every step of the way, either during installation or in the years ahead, will help to maximise the impact that decorative concrete can have on a property. When you see the end result, and the wow factor decorative concrete can provide, then sealing with a high quality outdoor sealer, and taking the time to find the right installer, is well worth it.


The Art of Colour Matching

When it comes to colour matching around your home, individual preferences probably play a large part in the hues and shades you select. Exterior and interior paint, curtains, bedding, and even the flowers you plant might be chosen with your favourite colours front of mind. So, are there any colour matching guidelines you should follow when using decorative concrete, especially coloured concrete? After all, it is probably going to be used in some of the largest and most eye catching features of your home: driveway, floors, pool surrounds, and outdoor entertainment areas. Are there some very general rules of thumb to follow when deciding on what colours to match in areas such as these?

Rules are made to be broken, but colour matching usually revolves around the following schemes:

Complementary – this refers to the use of two colours directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Complementing colours generally enhance the vibrancy of each other e.g. yellow and purple are often used together for this very reason.

Analogous – analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel and are used when a more harmonious design effect is desired. E.g. red & orange, or yellow & green

Monochromatic – the use of the different tints and shades of one colour. Another popular way to achieve harmony when colour matching.

Primary colour matching – red, yellow and blue are the primary colours, and add energy when used together. With the colour range available these days, there’s no reason why concrete cannot be dyed in one of these primary colours.

Pastel – pastel shades are used for a softer, more subtle effect, Pastel colours are generally used with other pastel colours, and this is a very popular match in exterior settings. Decorative concrete is particularly well suited to colour matching along these lines.


You can’t always consult a colour wheel, or be expected to absorb the minute details of colour matching as it applies to exterior design. It can all be a little complicated. However, you can simplify things a little by following broad guidelines based on colour matching theory. Here’s an example: when colour matching, this very general rule can be applied – Conform or Contrast.


There are so many colour options now available when choosing decorative concrete that it is very easy to select a shade that conforms to its surroundings. For example, a concrete driveway and pathway can be dyed to match the colour palette of the front garden or the home’s exterior walls. Similarly, a honed concrete patio can mirror an interior polished concrete floor, in a classic example of indoor outdoor flow.


The other side of this colour matching rule is to contrast. On the surface, aColoured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature, rather than detract or distract from that feature.nd using basic definitions, the words “contrast” and “match” might not seem like a perfect fit. However, if you consider the bigger picture, contrasting can be a very effective part of the colour matching equation. For example, subtly coloured decorative concrete can help to highlight a bold and striking feature in near proximity, rather than detract or distract from that feature. In these circumstances, in the larger scheme of things, a contrasting colour is a great match for its environment.



The art of colour matching, as it applies to decorative concrete, is made easier thanks to the versatility of the product. Contrasts can be as sharp as you desire, and conforming colours can beautifully reflect their surroundings. When coloured concrete can be customised to match your vision, or satisfy your personal preference, or follow widely accepted colour matching guidelines, anything is possible.


Can Concrete Really Be Beautiful?

The short answer is YES. Concrete really can be beautiful. The question of beauty could be a nagging one though, even if you’re sold on concrete’s other qualities, such as lower maintenance, durability and strength. Deep down however, you might see concrete as a big grey slab of functionality. Lots of functionality to be sure, but of little aesthetic value. If you’re thinking along those lines, it could be time to change your mind set and explore the world of decorative concrete.

Decorative concrete can be beautiful concrete in and of itself, but it can also enhance the rooms or outdoor areas where it is installed. The versatility of decorative concrete with its different colours, textures and finishes means it is able to be applied in many settings around the home, including:

The natural colours of Australia are captured in exposed aggregate concrete.Exposed aggregate concrete:
featuring the raw texture of Australian stone, exposed aggregate concrete can lend unique character to areas as diverse as driveways, pathways, pool surrounds and outdoor entertainment areas. The natural colours of Australia are captured in exposed aggregate concrete, with the additional benefit that its texture can help to create a skid resistant surface. These slip resistent qualities can make exposed aggregate a good-looking and safe choice for pool surrounds in particular.


Coloured concrete can enhance the area in which it is located.

Coloured concrete: there are now so many colours to choose from, that you can use this type of concrete to match many existing features around the property. By doing this, coloured concrete can enhance the area in which it is located. For example, coloured driveways and pathways can match the palette of a front garden, which should significantly add to a home’s street appeal. A qualified installer should seal coloured concrete at the pouring stage, and with regular resealing, the colours can stay vibrant for many years.


Polished concrete is becoming a popular choice as an interior flooring surface.Polished and honed concrete:  for a look of sheer luxury and indulgence, similar to marble, polished concrete is becoming a popular choice as an interior flooring surface. Meanwhile, honed concrete has had its top layer removed to reveal natural stone and a matt finish. In wet areas such as bathrooms, the laundry, and pool surrounds, honed concrete comes into its own. Its slip resistent properties help to make it a safer surface, but one that is also very eye-catching.
Decorative concrete might have changed the way we use concrete around our homes, but it should also  change the way we think about concrete. No longer should it be considered as just a functional surface. When you use decorative concrete, you can enjoy the benefits of its many practical qualities, with the added bonus of huge aesthetic appeal. Reconsider your opinion of concrete and take a new look at how decorative concrete can be used as an interior and exterior feature. You’ll probably be very pleasantly surprised by what you see.


Exposed Aggregate: The King of Driveway Materials

Low-maintenance, visually appealing and affordable – exposed aggregate concrete is an excellent way to get a spectacular-looking driveway.

The techniques involved in stripping away an upper layer of cement skin to reveal the exquisite natural qualities of stones and granite have been around since the early 1900s. It remains popular today because exposed aggregate is a stylish and versatile form of decorative concrete which will keep your property looking modern for years to come.

Exposed aggregate concrete is one of the best surfacing materials you can invest in. The concrete surface is removed to uncover a solid river bed amassed with the natural stones and quarry materials that had been added to the mix prior to the pour. These could include decorative rocks, granite, quartz or even a mosaic of sparkling recycled glass crystals.

An exposed aggregate driveway is a perfect way to make a unique statement about your home. You can choose a single colour for the entire driveway or have a collective of various natural and recycled materials added to the concrete to create an astonishing driveway that’s uniquely your own. An unlimited array of textures and colour choices allows you to customise the appearance of your driveway and paths to complement your home’s existing design elements. If you’re planning to sell your home or are just looking for a cost-effective home improvement project, exposed aggregate is a practical and versatile way to beautify your home and potentially increase its value. The smooth clean lines and magnificent visual effect of an exposed aggregate driveway can leave a lasting impression.

In a December 2016 survey, more than 400 Perth and Adelaide homeowners were shown three images to assess the impact of driveway materials on perceived house value. The three houses in the three images were identical except for the driveway. The driveways were of the same dimensions and gradient but were made of three different materials: plain concrete; pavers and exposed aggregate. More than half of the group chose the house with the exposed aggregate driveway as the property they believed to be of the highest value of the three.[1]


  • Very low maintenance compared to other outdoor renovation materials such as wooden decking or stone pavers. Once installed virtually no upkeep other than periodic resealing to protect from stains and an occasional sweep with the broom. No weeding necessary, not susceptible to moss growth and exposed aggregate concrete is an ant-free environment.
  • Easy to install and few tools and installation materials required. Favoured by architects, builders and contractors as a simple technique to make driveways look more stylish, modern and appealing. Basic procedures easily mastered by experienced finishers.
  • Cost-effective due to shorter installation time. Exposed aggregate is an ideal surfacing option for a large driveway on a tight budget.
  • Skid resistant as exposed aggregate’s granular finishes offer a lot of grip and so steeply sloped driveways are safer to walk on when wet. Exposed aggregate’s properties make it a perfect choice for pool areas.
  • Durable as exposed aggregate shares the same structural integrity as conventional concrete. Incredibly tough and long-lasting. Handles all weather conditions and resistant to heavy traffic areas. Unlike timber, no rot, warping or termites.
  • Highly decorative and customisable as wide choice of stones, colour and textured effects can create a driveway that’s an attractive front yard focal point and standout feature of the home.



[1] Internal Survey Data, Brand Storey December 2016

Driveway Installation Tips

The ideal driveway provides unhindered access from the curb to your front door; it gives you somewhere to park your car and provides a clear walkway to your home. It is made of a strong and hard-wearing surface that is safe to walk, play and drive on. A beautiful driveway is a valuable chunk of real estate at the front of your home and is usually the first thing visitors notice as they approach. And if you are looking to sell your home, first impressions are everything. A functional well-dressed driveway has the capability to generate a unique impact on your home and on the eyes of potential buyers. A new decorative concrete installation is one way to add to your home’s curb appeal and potentially help your home sell faster. If you want your home to stand out from the rest of the street, it’s important to get the driveway right.

Driveway Types

When renovating, homeowners put a lot of thought into the landscaping, garden features and paint colours but all too often don’t give the driveway the attentive planning it deserves. It’s important to discuss options with contractors familiar with the materials used for the driveway you are considering. When choosing driveway materials, you should consider:

  • Is the gradient flat or sloping?
  • Is it a flood area where the driveway may be submerged for long periods?
  • Will the driveway be straight or curved?
  • What is the distance between the street and garage/carport?
  • How much digging is required to accommodate the new surface and sub-base?
  • Is the choice of paver or tile suitable for heavy traffic loads?

Your climate and locality are deciding factors in which type of driveway will serve you best for years to come. Labour costs are generally higher for sloping surfaces, hard to access areas and complex paver patterns. Choose professionals who have a proven history with your chosen driveway material, are licensed, are listed in business directories or have an informative website with testimonials, have a verifiable business address and can provide a warranty and free quotes.

Long Driveways

One way to make a long driveway look great is to install a gate or feature that introduces a higher quality material for the driveway section leading directly to the front of your home. For instance, a home that is situated quite a distance from the curb could have a long lead-in driveway of gravel or asphalt that is given a crowning finish as you enter the front yard of the main property which is a beautifully dressed mini cul-de-sac of exposed concrete aggregate.

Plan for Comfort

A space that comfortably accommodates your household’s cars acts as a good guide for how big your driveway should be. Be sure your driveway has enough space to manoeuvre your cars without the need to drive onto surrounding garden edges. Allowing too much space is just an unnecessary expense and it may make the front of the house look unbalanced. Are you going to be working on the cars in the driveway? Are you thinking of installing a basketball hoop for the kids later on? Think of how your driveway fits in with possible future renovations.

Decorative Concrete

Concrete driveways are popular due to their longevity, easy upkeep and affordability. There’s a huge range of decorative styles to choose from. Exposed aggregate driveways, in which the aesthetic qualities of natural stone are exposed, can transform a conventional driveway into an attention-grabbing feature at the front of your home.

Check with Council

You or your contractor will need to investigate what’s required in regard to driveway and footpath permits for your work areas and if the driveway materials you’ve chosen are allowed. Check that your planned driveway doesn’t fall short or exceed specified widths.

Driveway Maintenance

All driveways can be susceptible to stains from automobile fluids and the coloured oils from fallen leaves and seeds. It’s a good idea to remove oil, petrol, grease and other spills as soon as possible. One of the best attributes of a decorative concrete driveway is how little maintenance and routine care it will need over its lifetime. There are a range of acrylic sealers and epoxies that can be applied once every few years (as per your concrete manufacturer’s instructions) to help keep your driveway in peak condition for years to come.