4 Sealant Mistakes to Avoid in your Concrete Driveway

Although hardscaping offers easy maintenance, true longevity can only be attained with ongoing resealing. As experts in concrete driveways in Melbourne, our professional team are available for all your concrete needs including resealing and repairing those unsightly cracks. From stripping the previous sealer on your concrete patio to selecting the right protective product for the aggregated concrete of your garden path, A Better Driveway is here to help your concrete shine.

If you decide to maintain your concrete driveway yourself, your driveway’s coating should be replaced every few years. Before visiting Bunnings and picking up the first sealer you spot, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the essentials about sealing your concrete driveway. For more expert tips, read through our list of common mistakes when resealing concrete driveways in Melbourne.

The important role of concrete sealant

Sealant is the finishing layer applied to the concrete to protect it from sun and weather damage, risk of cracks and any harmful chemicals. This top layer also makes the concrete surface of your patio, path, coping or driveway easier to clean and heightens the concrete’s colour and shine. Typically, the protective sealant will need to be replaced every few years, so it’s important to choose the right product for your driveway and install it correctly. 

Conducting a water test is a quick way to check if your concrete has this top layer or if it’s performing correctly. Simply pour water on your concrete and observe if it is absorbed by the surface or not. If the water rolls then the concrete has been sealed, but if the liquid is immediately absorbed no sealant work has been done and you risk damaging or staining your concrete. If you’re uncertain if the sealant has never been replaced or you suspect there is no protective coating at all, contact the concrete experts at A Better Driveway for advice.

1. Not cleaning the driveway first

The first step to applying sealant is to properly prepare the concrete area. This involves treating stains with a scrubber, treating small hairline cracks, and thoroughly brushing away any dirt or debris with a broom. This could range from hiring a pressure washer to clean the surface and allowing it time to dry or performing the arduous task of removing old sealant with sealant remover and a scraper tool.

Unfortunately, if the issues are not resolved or there is dust on the surface, this will be permanently sealed into the concrete when the sealer coating is applied. A visible mistake that will lessen the look of your home’s coloured concrete.  

2. No patch test

There are many kinds of sealants on the market, so choosing the right sealant for your project is a crucial step. The incorrect sealant can completely change the finish of your concrete or not adequately protect the surface. This could be as simple as choosing a sealant that specialises in water protection for the pool’s concrete surrounds, or a glossy sealant for your coloured concrete’s dark tones. To avoid making a costly mistake, conduct a patch test of the product in a discrete corner of the concrete. Wait for it to dry and decide if it’s the finish you’d like before continuing with your resealing project.

Alternatively, by contacting professional concrete contractors like the team at A Better Driveway, you can ensure that you have chosen the most suited, high-quality sealant for your concrete driveway or path.

3. Uneven sealant application

Before undertaking this project, you should investigate the different methods of spreading sealant and make sure you have the right equipment. Sealant can be applied through painting, rolling or spraying, which will determine the tools needed. Regardless, you will be using harsh chemicals during this process so personal protective equipment like gloves, eyewear and masks are always recommended.

To avoid the look of uneven sealant, carefully follow the directions of the manufacturer and be extra attentive in areas where the concrete driveway meets structures or landscaping to avoid splashes.

4. Not considering the weather (and drying time)

Choosing when you conduct the sealant application is also crucial to the project’s success.  Sealants can take up to 24 hours to dry and be ready for use, so it’s important that you choose a sunny day when it is least likely to rain. During the drying and curing process, it’s also important your driveway or concrete patio remains unused. Wet sealant cannot be walked upon so you will have to make other parking arrangements.

In need of some concrete care?

As trusted experts in concrete driveways in Melbourne, the team at A Better Driveway is here to offer you their premium concrete services. Our professional team has all the expert knowledge and high-quality products to help you realise your backyard renovation or concrete vision. As trusted experts in concrete sealing and resealing, all of our perfect installations come with a 5-year guarantee!  

To add value and street appeal with concrete driveways, patios and paths, contact us today by filling out our online enquiry form or calling on (03) 9308 6112.

4 Signs It Is Time to Call Your Melbourne Driveway Experts

Even with a well-designed and tidy home, a scruffy, damaged, and poorly maintained driveway can instantly impact the overall impression of your property. Daily wear and tear, accidental oil leaks, and exposures to the turbulent weather conditions in Melbourne are amongst the many reasons your driveway can degrade over time. How can you tell when sufficient degradation warrants a call to your Melbourne driveway experts? Fortunately, there are plenty of signs that help indicate the need for a driveway repair or replacement. 

1.     Your driveway is cracking

Much footpaths or any other concrete ground structure, it is not unusual to find cracks in your driveway. In Melbourne, the most common reason for cracks to appear is temperature changes. The scorching heat during the day can result in expansions and chilly nights, contractions. With sufficient expansions and contractions, small cracks will form and can enlarge over time. Tree roots growing underneath driveways can also result in movements to a driveway’s foundation, making it less stable and hence, more susceptible to cracking. This is especially enhanced if you have heavy vehicles driving up and down your driveway. 

If acted on quickly enough, small cracks can be easily repaired. However, it is important to note that small fixes can appear darker than the surrounding pavement. With numerous cracks to fix, this can become obvious and an eye sore. If you begin to accumulate multiple cracks, the better fix here might be to replace your entire driveway. In addition to replacements, driveway experts also recommend sealing your driveway every few years. By applying driveway sealants, severe cracks, as well as erosions from harsh weather conditions, can be prevented. 

2.     There are visible potholes

Driveway owners tend to neglect small cracks that appear if they are either not large enough to require attention or too pricey for a minor fix. In the long run, however, these small cracks if left unattended can form a pothole. Through expansions and contractions plus erosion from external elements such as water and debris, a small crack can crumble bit by bit to form a large hole. Having potholes is one of the most apparent signs that your driveway needs a complete replacement. Why a complete replacement and not just a quick fix over each hole? Unless the underlying problem of the pothole is dealt with, the chances of potholes reappearing are very high. This is because the stability of your “quick fix” of a pothole will still be dependent on the eroded structure underneath your driveway that resulted in those cracks and potholes in the first place. Thus, it is usually recommended to replace the entire driveway instead of spending money on repairs again and again. The cost of doing the latter can add up over time and cost more than a full replacement. 

3.     You have puddles and mini floods

Imagine stepping out of your car after parking on your driveway, and your nice, dry, and clean pair of shoes lands in a puddle of murky water. If this is happening to you, it is likely time for a new driveway. Well-designed and properly installed driveways should not only serve an aesthetic purpose but also increased safety. If your driveway is pooling and puddling, this can be a safety hazard as it increases the likelihood of slips and trips by making your driveway slippery. If you start seeing rainwater pooling in multiple areas or streaming down the middle of your driveway, you’re likely to have driveway drainage issues that should be addressed as soon as possible. Calling a driveway expert near you to assess the severity of your driveway drainage hazards can help you identify the best way you can repair or replace your driveway. 

4.     Your driveway looks old and tattered 

With sufficient use, most items will look old, faded, and ready for replacement. Driveways are no different. With Melbourne’s infamous four seasons in one day, it is no surprise if your driveway is beginning to look overused and worn out. UV rays from sun exposure, harsh thunderstorms, damaging chemicals from oil leaks and overall driveway usage, can degrade your driveway over time and result in a patchy, unappealing, and weak appearance. Temporary solutions such as sealants and minor repairs can help, but the overall durability and structural integrity cannot be improved. If your driveway looks way past its prime, a whole driveway replacement would be the best solution. 

If your driveway is showing any of these important signs, it is probably a good time for a driveway replacement. At A Better Driveway, we’re confident that we can help with all your driveway needs. Our professional team of driveway experts specialise in various driveway types such as exposed aggregate, textured concrete, and coloured concrete. We also offer a 5-year structural guarantee for your driveway so you can rest assured that you are getting a top-quality installation and replacement. 

Get in touch with us by calling 03 9308 6112 or fill out the contact form on our website so a member of our team can get back to you ASAP.

Common Driveway Questions – Answered

At A Better Driveway Melbourne, we are here to service all your driveway needs. Today we’ll be looking at a few frequently asked questions about driveways and provide some answers. So, you can keep your driveway in top quality condition, whether it is made from exposed aggregate or textured concrete.  

Why do driveways crack?

There are many reasons for cracks to appear in your driveway, the same as they appear on a footpath or any other concrete ground structure. One of the biggest reasons in Melbourne is temperature shifts; while we usually don’t have to deal with freeze-thaw cycles like in the northern hemisphere, the heat of the Australian sun can cause a concrete driveway, like many other materials, to expand. This expansion can lead to small cracks appearing and enlarging over time.

Another common reason is large tree roots growing underneath the driveway, the force of an object moving underground filling up the space can cause driveway cracks. However, if a tree root is removed/ decomposes a similar issue can occur. The dirt underneath can become less compact and drop to fill in the space originally taken up by the tree root, creating a gap between the underside of the driveway and top dirt, making the surface less stable.

If you own a heavy vehicle such as a truck, and it is going to be parked in your driveway often, keep an eye on the condition of the surface. Under the weight of heavy vehicles, driveways may crack, requiring resurfacing or even replacement earlier.  

Why driveway sealing is necessary?

It is recommended to seal your driveway every couple of years to prevent deterioration. Your concrete driveway is exposed to external elements such as water, heat and cold all year round leading to erosion. Driveway sealant prevents severe cracks so that you don’t need to replace large sections of your driveway. The sealant repels water, meaning that during rain, the water will not be absorbed by the concrete and cause it to expand. However, any cracks should be filled before using a driveway sealant.

Which driveway material is best?

There are many factors to consider when deciding which driveway material is best for you – such as price, safety, and aesthetic? How will the driveway integrate with your yard and house? At A Better Driveway, we provide concrete services and installation of exposed aggregate, textured concrete, and coloured concrete surfaces. Get in contact with us and we can help provide consultation over what driveway solution your property needs.

Can you use a driveway sealer on concrete?

Yes, there are brands of driveway sealers that are suitable for concrete driveways. Consider which material your driveway is made from and get a sealant that is appropriate. Different sealants use differing liquid bases etc.

Will driveway sealer kill grass?

Although it is not recommended to use your lawn in a driveway sealer to help your plants grow, a driveway sealer should not kill your lawn if the grass is bordering your driveway. The grass blades where bits of sealer end up may have some discolouration, but this will disappear after the grass is mown a couple of times.

When to replace your driveway?

Most of the time, cracks in your driveway simply need to be filled to prevent further issues. However, if your driveway is covered in large cracks and potholes and is uncomfortable to drive on – it might be time to get it resurfaced or replaced.

At A Better Driveway, we offer a 5-year structural guarantee for your driveway. Sometimes cracks appear in poorly designed driveways far too early due to poor installation practices. Here at A Better Driveway, we guarantee the structural integrity of your driveway under normal use under warranty, so you can rest assured that you are getting a top-quality installation.

If you are considering a replacement or resurfacing of your Melbourne driveway and want guaranteed premium quality and installation, you have found the right place here at A Better Driveway. We specialise in various driveway types such as exposed aggregate, textured or coloured concrete.

Get in contact by calling us on (03) 9308 6112 or fill out our online contact form so a member of our team can get back to you ASAP.

Steep Driveways Dangers and 3 Effective Solutions

It’s not uncommon for driveways in Melbourne to be built on uneven, hilly and possibly steep land. Unfortunately, although steep driveways are commonly built, not many are aware of the numerous hazards it poses. From losing grip in wet and cold weather, water damage and vehicle scrapping, many owners face a multitude of difficulties when using their steep driveways. 

If you’ve ever driven on steep slopes, you would have likely heard some screeching noises – the sound of your car scraping against the ground. Not only will you need to spend chunks of cash to fix your car, having cars with damaged parts can affect the overall safety of your vehicle. Steep driveways are also notorious slip hazards during heavy rains and in winter. Without proper gripping from the driveway and tyres, the angle of a steep driveway can result in unwanted movement and potential accidents. 

So, what can you do to make it safe? Our team of driveway experts have summarised 3 effective solutions for steep driveway problems. 

1.     Ensure you have the correct driveway gradient

Most vehicles will be able to traverse a driveway easily if there is a maximum driveway gradient range of 5–8% for commercial vehicles and 1–15% for other vehicles. To calculate the grade of your driveway, you would need to divide its rise by its length.

In most cases, despite having driveways well within the recommended grade ranges, damages to vehicles usually occur at the top and bottom of driveways where the change in grade is substantial. To combat this, installing transition gradients at the top and bottom of your driveway can help increase the ground clearance for vehicles. A common rule of thumb is to ensure the change in gradient does not exceed 12%. Another effective way to improve your driveway gradient is to curve your driveway or use a zig-zag driveway method. Both methods add length to the driveway which allows vehicles to enter and exit at better angles. 

2.     Improve your driveway grip

Having a steep driveway means going up or down and requires more speed control as gravitational pull can affect how quickly your car moves. Relying entirely on your vehicle and tyres can be risky as brakes can malfunction and tyres eventually wear out. As such, having a driveway with decent traction and grip is essential, especially for heavy vehicles.

The most obvious way to improve your driveway grip is by picking the most suitable driveway surface. Here’s a quick comparison of different materials and their effectiveness for steep driveways:

  • Concrete – Although a popular choice for driveways in Melbourne, concrete driveways can be extremely dangerous for steep areas due to reduced grip from its smooth and clean texture.
  • Bricks or Gravel – Materials such as bricks or gravel offer more grip than concrete but can be more prone to movement and spreading. Under heavy traffic, these driveways can become uneven and lose its traction. 
  • Asphalt – Although it has far better grip than the above materials, asphalt can be difficult to lay and compact on angled slopes as you will need heavy machinery.

Now, if all the above materials don’t seem to work so well on steep driveways, what can you even use? Well, the best solution is actually to use a combination of a few things. Driveway professionals in Melbourne often recommend concrete driveways with exposed aggregate finishes. Exposed aggregate is a surfacing solution that adds texture by exposing the internal structures of the concrete. It utilizes exposed stones and pebbles to create texture that improves traction and overall driveway durability. 

Exposed aggregate concrete with texture

3.     Adding driveway accessories

To further enhance the safety of your steep driveway, additional features can be added to your driveway. Having barriers added to the sides of a driveway can prevent a vehicle from slipping off a steep incline. Installing a driveway curb ramp can also help. Instead of transition gradients by modifying your driveway slope, a quicker and easier solution is to purchase pre-made ramps. Pre-made ramps can save you time installing as they wouldn’t require reshaping or repaving your driveway. However, it’s important to note that they are not a custom fit for your needs and can be pricey. 

Reshaping and texturing a driveway can be a very expensive project. Extensive planning is recommended to ensure any changes to your driveway works effectively for your needs and is sustainable as a long-term solution. In most cases, texturing your driveway is the quickest and most effective solution. At A Better Driveway, our team of dedicated driveway specialists can assist you in finding the best solution for your driveway. 

If you would like to get in touch, please fill out our contact form or call us on 03 9308 6112

4 Tips to Improve Your Front Yard – Exposed Aggregate Driveways

You always hear about how important first impressions are when meeting someone new, whether that be at social events, job interviews or work functions. The same principle can apply to your house. Front yards and exposed aggregate driveways are the first thing you will see for most properties, making it a great opportunity to create an exciting, expressive and interesting first impression of your home. For example, a balanced front yard with an exposed aggregate driveway can make a great impression on visitors and neighbours.
So how can you improve your yard? Here are four straightforward areas you can focus on.

The Driveway

Don’t worry, A Better Driveway has got you covered for all your needs across Melbourne. For this article, we’ll be focusing on exposed aggregate driveways, a favourite of ours. This style can really bring life to a space some people would otherwise overlook. With a seemingly infinite number of colour, tone and texture combinations available from exposed aggregate, your driveway can become unique and personalised. Consider how the colour of the driveway will compliment your house. For example, a beachy property could look gorgeous from the addition of some smooth blue exposed stones and pebbles with a sand-coloured concrete base. Meanwhile, a light grey or creamy white painted house would contrast very well with a dusky driveway; composed of dark grey concrete, black pebble with the occasional speck of white. If the colour of the roof matches the driveway, it can certainly unify the home’s exterior design.

Choose a colour palette

Developing cohesion within your yard can be a visually attractive feature for a home. Think about the colour of the front of your house, the door, external blinds, the roof etc. If these are all tones; grey, black, white etc, adding some natural colour to the yard can be an easy way to create some visual balance and vibrance to the space. This can be achieved through fences, rocks, barriers, and of course, the natural plant life, grass and trees that you choose. Styling a mood board can be a great way to plan out ideas, display your vision and produce consistency within the final product. Exposed aggregate driveways are brilliant for this, due to the diversity of colours and textures available. You can choose colours that complement or contrast the house, garden rocks and fences.

Deck / Sitting Area

While dependant on the block size, structure and proximity to street noise, a front deck/ social area can add some personal value to the home and yard. Even a small front yard bench or lawn sitting area can be a nice place to read a book, watch the sunrise/ sunset, and relax to the sounds of nature and the neighbourhood. Depending on the time of day, this could be a great place to get some sunlight, or in the case of a deck, some shade if you place a roof extension. If you have a sloping block, decks can generate some vertical hierarchy and dynamism to the landscape.

Front Yard Deck

Garden beds

Garden beds are a brilliant way of dividing space within the yard; they also are incredibly effective at bridging natural and artificial elements. Raising the beds can introduce exciting materials and textures to the yard and be another way of developing vertical hierarchy.

They can be used as a fence-line replacement, with the choice of plants introducing extra height and privacy if required. Looking for a low maintenance garden? Australia has plenty of native species of plant that require little gardening due to their naturally dry habitat and as a bonus, can attract local animal species. Choosing a driveway that matches and compliments the aesthetic of your yard is essential to creating a strong and lasting impression for visitors, and a choice of exposed aggregate for your driveway can raise the bar even higher. If you live in Melbourne, A Better Driveway is experienced, dedicated and ready to provide you with the highest quality driveway services.

If you would like to get in touch, please fill out our contact form or call us on 03 9308 6112