Imprinted concrete paving
Imprinted (or Pattern Imprinted or Stamped) concrete is a popular decorative technique for driveways, patios and paths. Imprinted concrete is not suitable for medium-to-high speed vehicular traffic applications, such as roadways, as the finished surface is too uneven. Many different patterns for the finished slab are available, though the most popular would appear to be ashlar stone, cobbles and herringbone brick. The process involves laying the concrete slab, applying a surface colour in powder form and then imprinting a pattern in the surface by means of special textured mats. Once the concrete has gained sufficient strength, the surface is sealed.
Colours tend to be somewhere in the black-brown-buff-red part of the spectrum, although there are greens and blues. Often a lighter shade and a darker shade are combined to give the impression of extra ´depth´ to the surfacing. For example, an ashlar stone effect surface might feature a darker brown base colour with ´highlights´ done in a buff.
This is not really a job suitable for the DIY enthusiast as it requires specialist tools. The pattern mats are relatively expensive and are intended for many re-uses. However, some suppliers/franchisees are willing to hire out their mats and supply colour hardeners etc. for one-off projects.