Welcome to our guide to concrete driveway finishes, including the most popular design options and ideas for your home.
Concrete driveways are alluring for a lot of reasons. For example, they’re durable, easy to maintain, and tend to last a long time.
They can be beautiful too, though. In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about concrete driveway finishes to make sure you’re driveway stands out. See different types of driveways on this page.
Concrete Driveway Finish Options
When it comes to concrete drive finishes, you aren’t lacking in options. Homeowners have the chance to fit their concrete driveway into their personal taste and design scheme by choosing from a variety of finishes. These are some of the most common concrete driveway finishes.
Broom-finished concrete has a pretty self-explanatory name. It’s an effect that is achieved by using a broom on the concrete as it dries.
As a result, the concrete doesn’t have a smooth, even surface. Instead, the broom leaves indents in the concrete for a textured finish.
This type of finish has more than just an aesthetic value as well. By broom-finishing concrete, the concrete has a more slip-resistant finish.
To achieve this effect to its fullest, it’s best to apply the grooves perpendicular to the typical direction of traffic on the driveway. This will create the most resistance.
Smooth Concrete Finish
If you want to keep things simple, you don’t have to add a pattern to your concrete at all. A generally neutral finish for a concrete driveway is to opt for a smooth concrete finish.
This way, the concrete only has a smooth surface on the top, although it does take some skill to perfect this design technique.
The only downsides to this finish are that it doesn’t offer the same features such as slip-resistance as a textured finish like a broom finish. Still, the end result is a clean, modern concrete driveway that will last you years to come. See more modern driveway ideas here.
Stamped concrete is interesting because it isn’t just a single design. You actually have many options within the stamped concrete driveway finishes category.
After all, stamping the concrete only refers to the general practice of how the patterns are imprinted into the concrete, not the individual styles available.
When it comes to choosing a specific pattern, your options are almost limitless. However, common options include stamping concrete into shapes or imitating the look of another material like bricks. Like broom finishes, this can help weather-proof your driveway and make it slip-resistant in the rain.
Poured as it is, many people recognize concrete from its gray appearance. For homeowners, this can raise the concern that, as far as color goes, concrete can be a drab choice. This is actually the opposite of the truth! You can make your concrete driveway almost any color that you want.
This is because you have the option to stain your concrete driveway. Staining concrete is a surefire way to get a fresh and interesting color and since it isn’t just on the surface of the concrete, it’ll last quite a while as well without fading or altering.
You can even mix other materials with concrete to create a unique finish. A pebble finish on a concrete driveway is a fairly popular way to do this.
In this method, the pebbles are mixed in with the concrete, so they’re locked into place once the concrete sets. This also has the interesting effect of adding depth to the appearance by changing the texture of the driveway completely.
Plus, this is another case where adding texture can add help create a surface that isn’t as slick when it’s wet. This is especially helpful in a driveway that is exposed to the elements consistently.
Exposed Aggregate Finish
An exposed aggregate finish is related to a pebble finish. After all, exposed aggregate driveway finishes are simply the concept of adding an aggregate material to concrete and exposing it later on.
By doing this, the concrete ends up with a textured finish that stands out from the standard smooth finish concrete driveways.
The aggregate itself can vary depending on the appearance you’re going for but most concrete driveways are made with an aggregate like crushed stone, gravel, sand, and more. All in all, you can use aggregate materials that are naturally occurring, man-made, or even recycled material.
Sponge-finished concrete is another option for concrete with a textured surface. The process of creating a sponge finish requires pouring the concrete and waiting for it to harden somewhat. They wash the concrete with water and applying a sponge to create the desired effect.
The process itself is time-consuming and is usually applied to decorative areas such as inlays, accents and coping around the pool.
This means that not only does it look fantastic and visually engaging, but that it will help add a heightened level of slip resistance to the driveway, which would help make the driveway safer in rainy weather.
Salt finished concrete driveways have an irregular pattern that can create a speckled appearance. This specific finish gets its name from the process that goes into creating the end result.
To create a salt finish concrete driveway, rock salt is added using rollers on concrete after it’s placed but before it’s set. This creates the one-of-a-kind finish that we discussed a moment ago.
Another great thing about this finish is that it also textures the concrete. This makes it another great option for a concrete driveway that handles rainy weather well. Salt finishes are particularly popular around pools for slip resistance.
Modern Driveway Finishes
There are plenty of concrete finishes out there that can prove a stunning addition to your home. While we’ve looked a lot at the most popular ones, there are even more options out there to add a modern touch to your landscape.
Polished, resin-bound and stamped concrete are three of the most popular modern driveway finishes to use.
Another option that you have is a sandwashed concrete finish. This is similar to an exposed aggregate finish and will give your driveway the subtle texture that aids in making your driveway more slip-resistant. You can even play around with adding motifs or designs to the concrete.
In the end, there are a overabundance of options to suit your individual style when you decided on a finish for a new concrete driveway.
For more related content check out our article comparing pavers vs concrete driveways.