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Quality Standards

Introduction

Getting a top quality pattern imprinted concrete installation requires a high degree of experience and commitment to quality by your contractor. You need to be confident when Investing in your property that the job is done right first time around..There are a number of key considerations to be aware of when choosing the correct contractor to install your long term investment. We have listed critical and proven points below which are essential for a top class pattern imprinted concrete installation. We cannot list all points required but these will steer you in the right direction when choosing an installer. Deviation from these critical points (which do occur) will greatly effect the long term durability, aesthetics and frequency of maintenance of your installation.

These are some of the most critical points to be aware of when choosing a sutiable contractor to install your pattern imprinted concrete project. With 20 years of experience, we believe that these points listed below are the essentials for a top qulaity job and this divides us and many other genuine installers of pattern imprinted concrete from the rest in Ireland.

If you have any queries regarding the critical points listed below. feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.Click here »


Concrete Cracking Prevention
Inadequate Concrete Thickness

100mm (4˝) concrete thickness is standard for normal domestic driveways. Where heavy vehicles are present such as oil truck deliveries, we will increase this thickness to 150mm. So in general 1 cubic meter of concrete should complete 10m2 in area of imprinted concrete. These measures greatly reduce the risk of cracking from heavy loads.

Use of Freeze-Thaw Chemicals

During winter months in Ireland, harsh freezing conditions can cause concrete surfaces to crack and spoil. Air Entrainers are added to the concrete to help prevent possible spoiling and cracking. This allows the concrete to expand at its surface when cyclic freezing conditions are present.

Use of Fibre Reinforcement

Fibre Reinforcment increases the structural integrity of the concrete in general and also increases the impact resistance and freeze-thaw properties of the concrete.

Location of Control Joints

The correct placement and cutting of these control joints are essential in reducing the risks of cracks in your new installment. Generally these are located into high stress areas and corners when possible. These cuts are 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the full slab thickness, never the full thickness. All measures are taken to reduce the risk of cracking where possible.

Where long narrow paths are present we generally use a 2:1 rule for locating control joints. You should always have more reqular control joints along a path when compared to for example, a rectangular driveway area.

Control Joints Cut Within 24 Hour Period

During summer months it is essential that these are cut in within 24 hours of the concrete being laid. The concrete must be cut when still "Green". Failure to comply with this can result in cracks forming within your pattern imprinted concrete installment after this short 24 hour period.

In cold wet winter months, the surface of the concrete may be too fresh to be cut within 24 hours. Contractors may leave it for an extra 24 hours before cutting. They must still be cut within a short period of time after the concrete has been laid. It is the expansion due to heat in the summer that promotes quicker cracking and is the critical factor to be aware of. Again all measures are taken to limit the risk of cracking.


Surface Wear Resistance
Insufficient Colour Hardener Used

A good quality contractor will always use Colour Surface Hardeners (CSH). It has a lot more advantages than integral colours (See Below). These CSH give the main colour of choice to your pattern imprinted concrete installment. Also contained within these CSH are quartz particles which almost double the surface strength of your installment when compared to the subsurface strength. This combined with the freeze-thaw chemicals & fibre reinforcement will produce a very strong, durable wear resistant surface.

One 25kg bag of Colour Surface Hardener should cover no more than 10m2. A quality contractor will not exceed this coverage. If less CSH is used per 10m2 your surface quality will deteriate rapidly, within months after the completion of your installment. Always ensure your contractor is generous with CSH. This is a vital stage for your installment and long term quality of the surface finish.

Use of Integral Colour

Integral colour sounds great to the layman. Concrete coloured throughout...great idea. The fact is that this is not the case at all. Some campanies boast about the use of integral colour. Firstly it is a lot easier for the contractor to colour the concrete throughout, it is cheaper for them and speeds up the installation process. This will result in a poor quality job for you long term.

The surface hardness of Integral coloured concrete is almost half that compared to concrete coloured with CSH. If more than one pour is required to complete your pattern jmprinted concrete installment, the colour differences may be more apparent with each pour if integral colour is used. Use of CSH allow for control in variations of concrete mixes from concrete plants. Keep in mind a good quality contractor will always use Colour Surface Hardeners (CSH).


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Colour Consistency
Insufficient Colour Hardener Used

When more than one pour is required for an installment, you can be assured that variations in the concrete from the plant will occur. If the concrete is wetter for example, more CSH is required to compensate. Some inexperienced installers will not allow for this resulting in variations in the true colour of the finished job.

Use of Integral Colour

Integral colour is added at the plant prior to delivery or into the truck on site. and it's measurements are based on the cubic meter quantity within the truck. Variations always exist from day to day from the same concrete plant.. It is extremely difficult to control the final set colour of this integral coloured concrete hence resulting in slab colour differences after the job is complete. Again we urge individuals to seek CSH from their contractor.


Print Quality
Use of Man-Power & Weather Conditions

A good quality contractor will always print a predetermined area that they feel will produce a consistant print depending on available man power and weather conditions. Hot weather will cause concrete to set faster. An inexperienced contractor may decide to print too much resulting in variations in the quality and depth of print you recieve.


Release Agent
Use of Coloured Powder Release Agents

Release agent allows the imprinting mats to be easily removed without pulling or suctioning of the concrete after it has been imprinted. These Release agents are pigmented and produce a two-tone antique look and to highlight textured areas on the print. The release agent is also hydrophobic, so it protects the surface from water while the concrete is still fresh.

Some contractors will use liquid release agents which greatly reduces the natural effect of the final finish. These liquid release agents are clear and hence no antique look will be achieved with their use.

Removal of Release Agent

Sufficient release agent powder removal from your newly created imprinted concrete installation needs to be carried out. Most genuine contractors will use a mild acid wash to thoroughly remove non-engrained powder release agent from the surface. It is then power washed to remove any remaining loose particles.

Failure by some contractors to carry this out step correctly will result in excessive release agent powder being left on the surface prior to sealing. Once sealed it is extremely difficult to repair this problem. The release agent will act as a de-bond between the sealer and surface of the concrete. After a few months the sealer will begin to flake and peel from areas that have not been properly cleaned with acid wash and power washer.

This issue will continue to occur and will peal and flake over time in new areas of your installation. Ensure that your contractor carrys out all recommended steps to avoid this issue.

Sealers
Water Based Sealers

Concrete is vulnerable to chemical attacks and staining because the surface of concrete is porous. Liquids and acidic materials can seep into the surface of concrete and compromise the integrity of the concrete. Sealants are applied to concrete surfaces to keep them from prematurely deteriorating. A properly applied sealant will make the surface of concrete non-porous and generally make it last for much longer than it would without the protection.

Many believe that water based sealers can be applied in damp conditions. If applied in damp conditions this could actually result in failure. Water based sealers are difficult to correct if an issue arises due to improper application. to the surface. For example, over application. So be aware if water based sealers are used by your contractor.

Acrylic Sealers

Surface sealers for exterior applications should be acrylic to allow moisture in the slab to escape. Solvent-based acrylics generally perform better than water-based products for outdoor use.

Acrylic sealers can easily be repaired if defects are present after sealing. Reapplication of acrylic sealers will essentially melt the existing sealer and marry the new addition with the old, rather than that of a build up on the surface with water based sealers.

Slip Resistance

Genrally Imprinted concrete installations do not require extra slip resistance. If however your installation is on a significant incline, step, pool area or area where extra grip is required, slip resistance can be increased. This is achieved by the addition of graded transparent micronised white powder particles to the sealer prior to application.

Our Philosophy

Pattern Imprinted Concrete is a job for life, and a beautiful technology, and we believe in this passionately. Why install something that is going to give our customers and us problems in the future? It is not good practice for our growing business and will cost us a lot more long term if it's not done right first time.

 

 

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"With Over 20 Years of

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Pattern Imprinted Concrete Specialists

Creating Genuine Impressions Since 1990