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

When Aesthetics Meet Safety (How Your Driveway Can Have Both)

More than any other area in your house, your driveway is likely the most used entry point to your home and the first thing an individual notices when approaching your property. While driveways in Melbourne are a common sight, balancing both aesthetics and safety is surprisingly something that property owners rarely think about!

Melbourne property owners usually pick their driveways based on design and price only. While it’s important to have an elegant driveway to set the standards of your home without burning through your wallet, another crucial factor you should consider is the safety of your driveway for yourself and those around you.

Slip resistance

Depending on the slope of your driveway, whether you have children who love to run and play or elderly parents who drop by often, an important factor to consider for your driveway is its slip resistance. 

Unlike gravel and asphalt which are known for slips and trips, a common pick for driveways in Melbourne is concrete with an exposed aggregate finish. Often called the ‘king of driveway materials’, exposed aggregate is a popular surfacing solution as it creates a good balance between aesthetics, traction and durability. The ability to add texture by exposing the internal structures of the concrete (while maintaining a glossy natural finish) allows Melbourne property owners to create an elegant driveway with enhanced slip resistance.

Structural strength and integrity

Even if you don’t own a large vehicle, such as an R.V or a boat, when you move, buy a new piece of furniture, or plan a big renovation in your backyard, a big truck will need to access your home sooner or later. One thing you do not want to worry about is whether your driveway can cope with the weight or if it would crack and break under the pressure — resulting in sharp edges and unsightly holes. 

The reason why many driveways in Melbourne are made of concrete — whether coloured concrete or an exposed aggregate — is because concrete has a reputation of being a rigid, non-flexible material with higher load-bearing capacity than materials such as blocks, gravel, or asphalt. With four substances — cement, sand, coarse aggregates, and water mixed together — the structural strength and integrity of concrete are unmatched and can last for years.

Temperature control 

When it comes to building a new driveway, Melburnians are often overwhelmed with the various materials available to pick from. With summers being able to reach a scorching 45° C, considering how your driveway can affect your home temperature becomes a very important factor. 

Rather than absorbing heat and burning your feet, concrete is known to naturally absorb less UV radiation than other types of driveway materials, proving a marked advantage for heat reflectance (a godsend in the blazing Aussie sun!). Its resistance towards temperature damages (be it hot or cold) also makes it one of the best materials for a driveway in Melbourne.

Cleaning and maintenance

While it may not seem intuitive to link cleaning or driveway maintenance to the safety of a driveway, these factors are more interconnected than you might think. If you have a toddler who loves putting everything into their mouth or a pet who constantly licks surfaces, the ability to dust, sweep and power wash away any dirt, oil leak or chemical spill quickly and easily becomes crucial.

Regular cleaning and washing also prevent unwanted moss or mildew from growing on the surface which is important in preventing severe health problems and an unwanted stench on modern top of the fact that it damages your curb appeal. Compared to other driveway materials such as asphalt, gravel or timber, concrete driveways are usually the easiest to clean and maintain. Taking simple steps to clean your driveway also keeps weeds (which can affect your other plants and may even be poisonous to children or pets) at bay.

The Melbourne driveway specialists

Having a driveway that ticks all your boxes from appeal to price to safety can sometimes be a daunting task. If you are still unsure about which colour scheme and finish would best suit your home while balancing out all your other considerations and needs, do not worry! A Better Driveway is home to your dedicated driveway specialists with a friendly team that will work with you to find your perfect surfacing solution.

Get in touch by calling (03) 9308 6112 or filling out the contact form and you’ll be on your way to the most beautiful and cost-effective driveway with the greatest peace of mind!

Repairing Cracks in your Coloured Concrete Driveway

Although coloured concrete driveways are beautiful and enduring, providing gorgeous hardscaping views for a lifetime, they do still require occasional maintenance. Regular maintenance will allow you to inspect your driveway and notice if small cracks begin to appear. While most smaller cracks do not affect the integrity or durability of the concrete, they are an unwelcome blemish that can impact the concrete’s strength over time. The team at A Better Driveway are experts in concrete installation and repair and know the importance of identifying and repairing cracks early.

Act fast to repair cracks

Concrete is durable and everlasting, but tree roots, soil movement and the weather can cause cracks to form. These small cracks are unsightly and, if left untreated, can become larger with time. Ignoring cracks is a sure-fire way to ruin your driveway as it allows water to penetrate the surface and deteriorate the concrete. By responding to cracks in a timely manner, you can avoid irreparable damage and the resulting costs of removing the slab and pouring new concrete. Smaller cracks can be repaired using DIY methods, but larger or structural cracks will need professional expertise.

Identifying concrete cracks

Cracks can appear in a coloured concrete driveway due to poor weather conditions, insufficient concrete mix or insufficiently compacted subgrade. Identifying the kind of cracks that are appearing in your coloured concrete driveway will help to determine the source of the issue and ensure the integrity of the concrete is not compromised. There are many different types of cracks, some common driveway issues include:

  • Crazing — A common type of concrete crack, crazing appears as fine cracks in irregular hexagon patterns, similar to shattered glass, and occurs when the concrete dries too quickly. This is often due to temperature or humidity and it is an indicator of a poorly timed job and a costly mistake by bad concrete contractors
  • Plastic shrinkage concrete cracks — Due to moisture loss, plastic shrinkage cracks can occur. These long, shallow cracks are often a result of an excessively wet concrete mix. 
  • Expansion cracks — Concrete tends to expand with heat which can cause expansion cracks. Expansion joints are often inserted between concrete slabs and pavement to absorb pressure from heat expansion. 
  • Heaving cracks — This type of concrete crack also occurs due to extreme weather. Heaving cracks occur when concrete condenses due to colder temperatures and then attempts to return to its regular shape in warmer weather.  
  • Settling concrete cracks — These hairline cracks occur when the ground beneath the concrete settles or moves. This could be due to tree removal or pipeline replacement. 
  • Overloading cracks — These cracks occur when the concrete’s maximum pressure is exceeded by heavy vehicles. In residential areas, overloading cracks can also appear when the ground underneath becomes too soft and the concrete is pushed downwards with extreme pressure. 

The process of repairing crazing and hairline cracks at home

Repairing shallow, surface cracks is simple using caulk or crack filler, but the first step to repairing cracks in concrete driveways, walls or slabs is to prepare the surface. This involves cleaning the driveway of dust, grease and contaminants and removing any loose bits of concrete near the cracks. A power washer is a great method of ensuring all mould and dirt is removed to prepare for the curing and hardening process. Wait for the concrete to completely dry before adding filler to avoid pools of water within the cracks.

Once the coloured concrete driveway is dry, it is time to use the concrete filler or caulk. There are many types of fillers available, including textured or coloured products, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and patch test the product in a small discrete corner of the driveway. Use a flat-edged trowel to work the mixture into the cracks and smooth the surface. Afterwards, leave the filler time to dry and bond with the concrete and be cautious not to walk upon or use the driveway during this time. Once the filler has had time to dry, it is time to resurface or seal the concrete driveway.

Larger or uneven concrete cracks

If the cracks are larger than crazing or hairline cracks, there may be structural issues that necessitate the services of a concrete contractor. If your cracks are larger than ¼ of an inch, filling them with caulk would only be a temporary fix. For uneven or deep cracks, the concrete surface may need to be completely removed and reinstalled. If you believe that the issue is more than superficial, minor cracks, turn to a trusted professional like the team at A Better Driveway.

Does your coloured concrete driveway need repair?

A Better Driveway is the trusted name in coloured concrete driveways, whether it be topical or integral. Our team is available for all premium concrete services including maintenance and repair. A Better Driveway has all the expert knowledge to help you realise your backyard renovation or concrete vision. Plus, all our high-quality installations come with a 5-year guarantee!  

To add value and street appeal by updating the finish of your coloured concrete driveway, contact us today by filling out our online enquiry form or calling on (03) 9308 6112.

Everything you Need to Know About Sealing your Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways, pathways and alfresco areas are beautiful outdoor elements with all the enduring benefits of hardscaping. Although concrete driveways in Melbourne offer longevity and reduced maintenance, concrete elements will eventually require resealing. Even if you maintain your concrete driveway correctly, your driveway’s seal should be replaced every few years. If you’re considering resealing your concrete driveway, A Better Driveway is here to help with everything you need to know to rejuvenate your concrete space.

The purpose of concrete sealant

Sealant is a protective top layer applied to the concrete that extends the life of your concrete driveway, patio or path. Concrete sealers have many benefits including: 

  • Protection from UV rays which can cause the colour to fade
  • Protection from water exposure 
  • Protection from weather and damaging environmental elements (Eg: salty wind is commonplace in a beachside property)
  • Prevents any cracks in the concrete from expanding
  • Protection from chemicals and oils
  • Protection from abrasion 
  • Making the surface easier to clean and maintain
  • Elevating the concrete’s colour and adding shine

There are many types of sealants that protect the driveway from contaminants, so it’s important to choose the right sealant for your project. Consider what damaging elements your concrete is most exposed to when selecting your sealant. For instance, the pool’s edging would benefit from a sealant that specialises in water protection while the concrete footpath of a high traffic area should be protected from abrasion and have good slip resistance. Choosing the right sealant can make your concrete installation more cost-effective but the wrong sealant can ruin the finish and overall appearance, so always trust the professional advice of a Melbourne concrete driveway contractor like those at A Better Driveway.

The process of sealing concrete

No matter what style, if it has been many years since you last sealed your driveway, it will need to be resealed by a trusted concrete service. Sealants typically last for around two years, depending on the traffic of your driveway, and should be resealed outside of the cold, winter months. Sealing typically takes several days and the cold and wet weather makes it difficult for the resealing process to be performed. Once you’ve set aside some time for your concrete area to remain unused and selected the appropriate sealant for your project, the resealing process can begin.

1. Clean and prepare the driveway

Before the sealant is applied, it is important to clean your driveway of any dirt or grime from the wear and tear of usage to avoid sealing in dust and debris. This includes treating stains with a scrubber and concrete cleaner and repairing any cracks or damage. Oils and dirt will not allow the concrete to seal properly which is why it’s important to thoroughly clean by pressure washing the concrete surface. After pressure cleaning, the concrete driveway will need time to dry, typically 48 hours, which is why it is important to check the weather in advance for sunny, warm days.


2. Test patch

If you’ve enlisted the help of a professional like the team at A Better Driveway, then you’ll avoid the costly mistake of choosing the incorrect sealer. Otherwise, choosing an unobtrusive area of the driveway to apply a small amount of sealant as a patch test can determine if you like the finish before committing a financial mistake. Wait for the area to dry and if you don’t like the finish, purchase some more sealer or call a trusted Melbourne concrete driveway contractor.


3. Sealant application

There are a couple of methods of sealant application including painting, rolling or spraying. The best method for sealant application will depend on your concrete project and the selected sealant, but typically it is best to start by sealing the edge of the concrete installation by hand for precision. Try to ensure even coverage and take care where the concrete driveway meets structures or landscaping to avoid splashes. Always follow the directions of the manufacturer and apply a second coat of sealant if necessary.


4. Allow time to dry

The sealant can take 24 hours to dry and be ready for use. This means that during this crucial drying and curing time, your driveway or concrete area cannot be walked upon and you will have to make other arrangements for parking.

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 in concrete sealing or resealing. Our professional team has all the expert knowledge to help you realise your backyard renovation or concrete vision — whether it’s the ever-popular exposed aggregate concrete or the stylish coloured concrete. Plus, all of our high-quality 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.

How to Make your Outdoor Area More Sun-Safe for your Family

With Melbourne summer fast approaching, it’s time to consider the sun safety of your home. Sun safety is particularly important to Melburnians as Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Creating sun conscious outdoor spaces can go a small way to protecting your family from the sun’s UV radiation alongside improving the durability and longevity of your home. Before summer, consider these techniques to passively improving your home’s sun protection from Melbourne’s driveway experts. A little work now can go a long way to protect your family’s home and health. 

Make sunscreen readily available to guests 

Making your sunscreen bottle accessible is a simple and easily applicable step to reduce the risk of sunburn in any household. Rather than having the lotion tucked away in the back of a bathroom cupboard, consider creating a designated sunscreen bottle location outdoors to remind your family and guests to stay sun conscious. This could be as easy as placing a bottle on the shelf near your alfresco dining spot, one side of your outdoor bar or with your collection of gardening tools. Wherever you choose to place communal sunscreen, always encourage sun safety precautions like hats, sunglasses and sunscreen usage in your guests during those outdoor barbeques to do your part to reducing sun damage.

Invest in permanent structures to provide shade 

If your home is unobstructed by the afternoon sun, you might find the area particularly uncomfortable during the hot summer season. Whether it’s too much glare from the setting sun or a hot concrete driveway, an outdoor alfresco that is not optimised to combat the climate will not be used effectively due to the unwelcome atmosphere. Fortunately, fixing this issue could be as simple as investing in some shade structures, protecting your plants and skin from the sun’s harsh rays. 

To reduce the risk of the harsh Melbourne sun damaging your health or the longevity of your home, consider creating partial shade by constructing a covered patio area or installing a pergola. Simply building a taller fence or permanent roof in the correct location will obstruct the afternoon sun from heating your outdoor living area. In summer, this home renovation will protect your family from sunburn risks and strained eyesight. It will also keep the interiors of your home cooler and may benefit plants that do not thrive under direct sunlight. If your outdoor space has concrete features, permanent shade is a great method to summer proof your concrete driveway. It will keep your concrete surface cool to the touch, prevent reflective glare and reduce the likelihood of your topical coloured concrete fading from sun damage. 

It is also possible to create permanent outdoor shade without a costly renovation. Planting trees is a great opportunity to add more sun protection to your backyard, although it may be years before your trees have fully grown. Whether it’s through a renovation or some creative gardening, creating a sheltered space will allow full outdoor enjoyment with little need for protective hats and sunscreen.

Furniture and temporary solutions for seasonal use

For many Melbourne homes, your outdoor space may only become uncomfortably hot during summer. This could mean that a permanent installation would prove irritating during the cooler seasons when your family enjoys sitting outdoors to take advantage of the minimal good weather that winter offers.

If space is a factor that makes permanent solutions like solid roofs difficult, consider installing removable shade cloths or awnings to match your durable outdoor summer furniture materials. Rolling shades, patio curtains or pop-up canopies can help minimise sun damage to skin and eyes during the hot summer months and be removed as needed. Shade sails can prevent sun damage to your home’s exterior, your car’s paint and, of course, your skin.  

For a greener solution, leafy, hanging plants can be picturesque while also shielding your outdoor area. Additionally, outdoor umbrellas offer sturdy solutions that suit any outdoor space and come in many sizes and fabric colours.

Choose the right concrete

If you’re looking for ways to keep your outdoor space cool in summer, opt for lighter coloured concrete. Put simply, the lighter the concrete, the less heat it absorbs from the sun. This helps to keep the space cool unlike darker shades of concrete which absorbs more of the sun’s heat.

However, if you’re placing concrete in an area that is unshaded or near windows with no protective blinds, lighter coloured concrete can be too reflective and create too much glare. By listening to our Melbourne driveway experts’ recommendations and choosing the right tiling for your patio or pool tiling, you can ensure that your concrete is sun conscious, and your family can reap the benefits during the hot summer months.

In need of expertly installed concrete?

As trusted installers of Melbourne driveways and concrete, the team at A Better Driveway is here to offer you their knowledge and experience in premium concrete services. Our professional team has all the expert knowledge to help you realise your backyard renovation or concrete vision. 

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

Taking Advantage of Your Balcony Space

It can feel limiting when your commercial building or home doesn’t have a lot of outdoor space to tailor. As experts of driveways in Melbourne, we know a myriad of ways to take full advantage of the design and gardening opportunities of smaller spaces like balconies. From small bistro sets to planter walls or grand artistic privacy screens, there are millions of ways to plan your own garden oasis to create a relaxing outdoor space despite the small footprint of your balcony — the perfect space for admiring your driveway for years to come!

Small Aesthetic Balcony with Furnishings

Furniture for small spaces

Balconies often can’t feature a grand, six-seat dining table but it’s still possible to create a cosy space and enjoy a morning coffee in the sunshine. Balconies can feature a wrought iron round table with two seats for a Parisian café feel or a cosy couch nestled into the corner for outdoor lounging. Play with the natural elements of this outdoor space by choosing teak or cedar seating. These materials are naturally rot-resistant and make durable outdoor furniture.

Trying to avoid taking up space unnecessarily? Consider multifunctional furniture like built-in day beds that double as storage or wooden seating that features a planter box on top or along the arms. It is also easy to transform the balcony rail into a narrow table by attaching a shelf on top of the balcony fencing. This cleverly allows a table or bench surface to be introduced without using the floor space for table legs. Pair with barstool seating that can slide underneath the table for an outdoor dining or rooftop bar experience with a view!

Greenery and privacy screens

Plants, privacy screens and art that uses vertical space can create visual interest without compromising space. A metal decorative privacy screen will distract from the small size of your balcony and give the illusion of space. Cutouts can also passively use the sunlight for a beautiful interaction with light that shifts throughout the day. 

Integrating plants and herbs into your balcony can be essential for a lush garden feel. Despite the small footprint of many Melbourne balconies, it’s easy to introduce a herb garden or range of leafy plants without encroaching on the space of your seating! A herb garden, for example, can easily be placed along your balcony’s railing via hooks.

Building upwards is also a great space-saving technique. Introduce a vertical aesthetic with hanging planters, shelf installation or tiered standing planters. Remember to first evaluate how much sun the outdoor area is exposed to in order to choose the plants that suit the light levels of your balcony and investigate patio and balcony gardening tips.

Match details of your home

Balconies easily connect your home to the lush outdoors, so it seems practical to treat the small area as an extension of your living and dining zones. Matching your garden to your interior style creates a timeless look so begin by determining your home’s interior style and consider what features are visible from your balcony. Your home may feature timber flooring and walls with a warm palette and blending this with your balcony through timber planter boxes and matching pillows can inspire a relaxing sense of flow.

Also consider your surroundings, if your home has a beachside view, furnish your deck with weathered pieces to enhance the coastal feel. If your coloured concrete driveway is on display, match the features of your balcony to the hue for an effortlessly cohesive appearance. All these careful details give a sense of harmony and comfort.

Luxe balcony surfaces

By spending a small amount of time a year maintaining the floor of your balcony, you can easily create a sense of timeless elegance. If your balcony features decking, take the time to power wash the surface to quickly improve the balcony’s allure, or repaint the fencing of the balcony to match the colour of the outdoor furniture for an inexpensive and eye-catching improvement. Change the balcony’s flooring entirely by introducing patterned tiles or layer outdoor rugs for bohemian appeal.

There’s also the potential to introduce a white linen canopy to improve the relaxation level of the outdoor day bed during Australia’s hot summers. By beginning with a clean and maintained area it is easy to build a stylish space. To improve your outdoor space, consider investing in durable coloured concrete for an instantly inviting appearance for years to come.

Are you looking for a concrete driveway in Melbourne?

A Better Driveway offers a range of concrete services including patios, pathways, alfresco areas and driveways in Melbourne for the perfect outdoor design.

To learn about our decorative concrete landscaping and Melbourne driveaway solutions, contact us today by calling 03 5783 4746 for a free quote!