March 30, 2022
Pattern imprinted concrete ("PIC") – also known as stamped, textured or impregnated concrete – is a relative newcomer to the driveway, path and patio surfacing market. And it's beginning to rival conventional materials such as block paving, slate, stone and plain concrete.
Pattern imprinted concrete is created by using pattern moulds tamped down, or rolled, into the surface of freshly laid concrete just before it sets hard. The moulds create a pattern in the concrete to create the desired finish.
Combined with adding dyes to the concrete this creates the illusion of block, slate, stone or cobblelock patios, driveways and paths.
Pattern imprinted concrete often has a sealer or glaze applied after its been laid. So it's important to check with the manufacturer if there are any special criteria involved when cleaning it.
The sealer will weather over time from the effects of sun, rain, wind – and of course having vehicles drive on it and people walk on it. Like most surfaces it can also be damaged by high pressure washing.
The sealant should be re-applied every 3 years or so to help slow down the inevitable degradation. Even so, reports suggest that the average lifespan may not be greater than 10 years.
The reason for the short lifespan is also the reason it is popular; because the process of laying a pattern imprinted driveway is quick, easy and cheap.
It's important to check for existing damage before cleaning a pattern imprinted driveway. And be sure to make your customers aware – before cleaning it – of any underlying damage that may not be immediately visible.
Otherwise, if not forewarned, when they see the damage revealed by cleaning, customers can jump to the mistaken conclusion that it was the contractor who caused the damage.
To be safe we suggest sending the manufacturer of the pattern imprinted concrete sealant our SDS sheets. Ask them to confirm that our products would be safe and appropriate to use on their materials.
Before cleaning the entire surface treat a small test area to ensure chemical compatibility. Show your customer the result of the test and get their approval and permission to continue.
For cleaning pattern imprinted concrete we usually recommend Benz Lightning Cleanze at 5:1 dilution. But if you are in any doubt, use 10:1 on your test area and increase only if the results indicate that a stronger dilution would be safe.
Quick tip: If the surface has been sealed the concrete will have become non-porous, so there's no point in post-treating with Benz Bio Cleanze. This is because its ability to extend the time a surface stays clean comes into play when treating porous surfaces.
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We sincerely wish you great success in your soft washing business,
Ben, Leo, Fiona, Stevie & Anthony
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