March 2015Real Estate

Robert Harding | Driveway Refurbishments Concrete Overlays

Driveway Refurbishments Concrete Overlays
Whether selling a home in today’s tough real estate market or simply trying to beautify and protect the value of your home, the driveway should be very important to you.
Home selling experts predict that as many as 40 percent of potential buyers reject a home based on their first impression of the front of the home. You can create a great first impression and prevent expensive repairs by resurfacing your driveway with a concrete overlay. But there are a few things that you’ll need to do:
Firstly, dirt, mold and algae settle on driveways due to their location, and that can create a really dismal first impression. Moreover there may be grease and engine oil stains on the surface that need neutralizing. It therefore becomes necessary to remove surface stains prior to any attempt to resurface. If you’re up to it, you can purchase the necessary detergents and broom scrubber for a DIY project. Alternatively organize a professional cleaner.
If the surface cannot be effectively cleaned with detergents, then you will need to engage a contractor to employ a process known as ‘shot blasting’. Shot Blasting is a dust-free method of surface abrasion in which thousands of steel shot particles are propelled at the surface removing the top layer and contaminants. Shot Basting is a one-step surface preparation technique that can effectively remove paint, old coatings and dirt that are in or on concrete. This process will prepare new concrete for coating applications. Make sure you get quotes beforehand in order that you do not experience any ‘blowout’ in your budget.
Next, you need to arrange to have the driveway cracks repaired. This may be a job that you are able to do yourself with some concrete and a trowel. Alternatively, you can engage the resurfacing contractor to perform the task as they will know more about the required finish needed for any resurfacing application.
Once the surface has been made ready, a ‘decorative concrete overlay’ with a color stain of your choice can be applied. You can get them in a variety of patterns. Although cement-based overlays have been around for decades, today’s systems have better products with high tech finishes to improve performance, wear resistance, and aesthetic qualities.
Depending on the effect that you want to create, you can have a finish that is stamped and textured to look identical to brick with patterns of your choice, they look fantastic. There’s also the choice of a natural stone or ‘slate’ look – which again is stamped and textured to look just like the real thing. Alternatively, you can get a marbleized appearance. All these alternatives come with a choice of stains and pigmented shades that can vary through the application which gives the new surface a realistic and natural appeal.
The overlay needs to be applied thick enough to accept texture and cover minor imperfections in the concrete substrate. The process also restores structurally sound yet worn concrete surfaces and can be used to level uneven driveway surfaces if there are dips or indentations.
Depending on the finish and effect you want – the price can vary. But as a general rule a good quality resurfacing project will cost you about 30 to 40% of the price of a newly layed concrete driveway – so it’s still a good cost effective option for anyone wanting to give their driveway a facelift.
Resurfacing a driveway is not a job for an amateur. As mentioned there’s some opportunity for personal involvement with the preparation process., but the tools, stamps, stencils and skills needed for stamped finishes and colour application are advanced to say the least. It’s one thing to tell your guests and friends that you did it yourself – but if they look at it and think “well it looks like it” – you’ve obviously created the wrong effect.


Robert Harding
Northern Territory
HIA Executive Director
Housing Industry Association