Tarmac & Block Paving Services
Block Paving Company
Block Paving Company

At Compact surfacing we are committed to providing a quality service and customer care is at the heart of our business from initial survey through to completion.

Our professional surveyors will spend as much time as is needed in advising you to ensure you reach the best decision.... for you.

Once you place your order, a fixed installation date is agreed and the work is carried out in one visit.

Pattern Imprinted Concrete PAving

Installing pattern imprinted concrete consists of a number of processes, with each one equally important in ensuring an aesthetically pleasing but durable surface to your new driveway or patio. And although the main aspects of installation generally follow a rigid and some say, scientific formula, there are opportunities for artistic influences to come to the fore by adapting certain techniques in order to provide a unique finish.

Below we have summarised the main processes in the installation of pattern imprinted concrete, which we have divided into four stages – Survey, Site Preparation, Concrete Formulation and Sealing & Finishing Touches.


This starts with an initial home visit to determine your requirements and to discuss designs, patterns and colours, any special features and practical considerations which need to be taken into account. This is where the experience of our surveyors really shows, in creating an aesthetically pleasing design which meets all the practical criteria which you require and the site demands. From this, a scaled drawing and quotation is prepared detailing all the relevant aspects of the installation, which is then presented to you for approval.

On your acceptance of our quotation, a second more detailed survey is carried out to confirm the designs, patterns and colours, to double check site requirements and draw up a list of materials and tools necessary to complete the project, together with the scheduling of the installation. Do bear in mind however, that parts of the installation are dependent on weather conditions being suitable – though we promise to keep you informed of any changes to the schedule as soon as we can.

Site Preparation

This includes excavation of the ground works, installation of drainage, compacting sufficient Type 1 MOT (stone) to provide a stable sub-base and fixing shuttering to form the boundaries of the new driveway or patio. The stone area is generally larger than the proposed concrete area to prevent compacted stone falling away, causing to the concrete to crack at the edges. Also, as we have a number our own tipper trucks to take spoil straight to landfill sites, we try to avoid using skips where possible, as they can provide hazards and obstructions, especially when left overnight.
Drainage is installed during this stage, with soakaways excavated and filled, new gullies, aco drainage and underground pipework installed and manhole covers set to the correct levels. As regards manhole covers, we prefer to use recessed covers which can have concrete poured within them, this is imprinted and coloured in the same way as the rest of the surface with a continuous pattern flowing through – it takes longer but is well worth it.

Where practical, we will use excavation and compaction machinery to prepare the site, though where access is restricted we have to rely on manual labour. This will however, have been determined on the second survey and sufficient manpower arranged to complete the job, normally in one day. The surface of the stone will follow the contours of the proposed concrete finished surface, with any minor alterations being adjusted when the concrete is laid.

Once site preparation is completed, we will ensure that there is good access to your home and the area is left clean and tidy, just in case weather delays the next stage.

Concrete Formulation

With the ground prepared, the site is ready to accept the concrete. This is delivered to the site ready mixed, by an accredited QSRMC (Quality Scheme for Ready Mixed Concrete) supplier to ensure quality and consistency of the mix. Even so, the concrete docket is checked to confirm the correct mixture has been delivered, to suit the site and seasonal conditions.

The surrounding areas such as the house, garden and pavement are protected from concrete splashes and colour surface hardener (a powder stain) from being blown onto them. Before the concrete is poured, thin polythene is sometimes used to cover the compacted stone, both to help protect the concrete from frost and to act as a slip membrane to reduce the possibility of the concrete cracking. (Polythene is used at the Installation Manager's discretion, taking into account site and weather conditions and the water content of the concrete, as there can be times when other factors mean that it is not appropriate).

Concrete is spread over the area, raked to the desired levels and then trowelled to create a flat surface with falls to drainage points. Colour surface hardener is applied by hand onto the wet concrete until the surface water is soaked up, and then trowelled again. This is repeated until sufficient colour has been applied, especially with regard to high use areas and the area is finally trowelled again to 'close' the surface. Now that the concrete has had the primary colour applied, a secondary coloured powder referred to as an antique release agent is used, both to add to the aesthetic effect by creating a surface with an aged appearance but also, and crucially, to prevent the printing mats from sticking to the concrete.

The surface of the concrete is now printed to form the desired pattern of the stone, cobble, slate, brick or timber chosen, often with a soldier course border printed first, using different mats which can be either solid or flexible. If at this stage the surface may be much darker than you had expected – don't worry, this is caused by the excess antique release agent powder left on the concrete to help it to harden – it will be washed off prior to sealing. In many cases, for an average sized driveway, pouring, printing and colouring concrete would be carried out in one day.

Sealing & Finishing Touches

Although dependent on weather conditions, sealing the surface is normally carried out several days after the imprinted and coloured concrete has been poured, to allow the concrete to cure. But before the concrete can be sealed it must first be cleaned to remove all excess antique release agent powder. It is cleaned off with a proprietary wash solution to reveal the intended colour of the imprinted concrete, with an antique effect creating the desired appearance.

It is at this point that consideration is given to controlling the potential cracking of the concrete. If 'soft' crack control or construction joints were not cut into the surface on the day the concrete was poured, they would be done prior to sealing. These joints are cut into the surface of the concrete and sealed with silicone or mastic, normally along the lines of the printed pattern, to reduce the chances of the concrete cracking elsewhere. In other words, if the concrete is going to crack due to contraction, we aim to determine exactly where, and in line with the pattern.

Finally, the entire site is cleaned and, once it is dry, the concrete surface can be sealed to protect it. The new driveway or patio is washed again with a mild acid solution prior to being sealed with an acrylic solvent based sealer – not water based. Gloss or matt sealer is applied to protect the surface, often with added micro-polyethylene particles to aid grip and provide skid resistance on steps and slopes.

We did say that there are four main sections to the installation process – Survey, Site Preparation, Concrete Formulation and Sealing & Finishing Touches.

But with Compact Surfacing there's a fifth…………

Admiration of the finished driveway or patio, and pride in a job well done!

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