Types of Concrete Driveways

Concrete driveways are a popular choice when it comes to driveway materials. Not only do they provide a durable surface, but they can also add beauty and texture to a home’s exterior. 

Many types of concrete driveways are available, ranging from stamped and colored concrete to pavers and exposed aggregate. 

So before you call a concrete driveway contractor in Baltimore let’s discuss the different types of concrete driveways and their advantages and disadvantages so you can decide which one is right for you.

Stamped And Colored Concrete

Stamped concrete is a popular option for driveways because it can replicate the look of natural stone, brick, slate, or cobblestone, but at a lower cost.

Stamped and colored concrete driveways are popular for their unique design capabilities. With a range of stamp patterns, colors and textures available, these driveways add curb appeal to any home. They also provide a durable, low-maintenance surface resistant to cracking and settling.

The process begins with the preparation and grading of the land, followed by setting up wooden forms to shape the concrete. The concrete is then mixed and poured into these forms and spread evenly for a level surface. Color can be added either directly to the mix for a uniform hue or sprinkled on the surface for a focused color application.

Stamping occurs when the concrete is partially set, with mats pressed sequentially into the material to create the desired pattern. This is followed by a curing period that can take several days, during which the concrete must be kept moist to prevent cracking.

Once the concrete is fully cured, a protective sealant is applied to enhance color and protect the surface. The process concludes with the removal of the forms, cleanup, and any necessary landscaping or finishing touches. This complex task typically requires professional expertise and specialized tools for optimal results.

Stamped concrete is a better option for driveways than using a stencil to create a pattern. Stencilled concrete will not be durable enough for driveway use.

While more expensive than traditional poured concrete driveways, the installation cost can be offset by long-term savings in maintenance costs. Additionally, it creates an attractive and eye-catching addition to any landscape that will remain beautiful for years.

concrete driveway baltimore

Paver Driveways

Paver driveways are another popular option for homeowners looking to add a distinctive style to their home’s exterior. Pavers are blocks of durable material, such as brick or stone, that can be laid out in various patterns. Paver driveways offer numerous advantages over other types of concrete driveways, including superior drainage capabilities and greater resistance to the elements. 

The beauty of pavers is that they can be laid out in a variety of styles, ranging from intricate designs with curved lines and patterns to simpler geometric shapes. Furthermore, pavers come in multiple colors and textures to match any aesthetic.

Paver Driveway Installation

Installing a paver driveway is a multi-step process that involves careful planning and execution. In the first stage, the area for the driveway is marked and excavated to the required depth, usually about 7 to 9 inches deep for a standard passenger vehicle driveway. This depth allows for both the base material and the thickness of the pavers. After the excavation, a layer of geotextile fabric is typically laid down to stabilize the soil, followed by a layer of base material, usually made from crushed stone. This base layer is compacted to create a solid foundation for the pavers.

In the next stage, a layer of bedding sand is spread over the compacted base to provide a soft and level layer for the pavers to sit on. The thickness of this layer usually ranges from 1 to 1.5 inches. Once the sand is leveled, the laying of the pavers begins. Starting from one corner, the pavers are laid closely together according to the planned pattern, cutting pavers when necessary to fit the edges. It is important during this stage to frequently check that the pavers are level and adjust the sand underneath if necessary.

Using mortar in the construction of a concrete driveway typically comes into play when adding decorative elements, such as bricks, stones, or tiles, directly onto a concrete slab. In such cases, mortar acts as an adhesive or binder, securing these elements firmly onto the concrete surface. Mortar, a mixture of cement, sand, and water, helps to fill gaps and create a level surface, ensuring that the decorative elements are solidly affixed and maintain their position over time. This can be an effective way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of a concrete driveway, giving it the look of more expensive materials while retaining the durability and strength of a concrete base.

In the final stage, after all the pavers have been installed, another layer of finer sand is spread over the top of the pavers. This is the jointing sand, and it is swept into the gaps between the pavers to lock them together and prevent movement. Once the joints are filled, the sand is compacted using a plate compactor and more sand is swept in until all joints are filled and the sand is no longer settling. The driveway is then cleaned of any excess sand or debris, and optionally, a sealer can be applied to enhance color and protect the pavers. The result is a beautiful, durable paver driveway that can last for many years with proper maintenance.

Remember that an improperly installed paver driveway can lead to long-term problems, such as weeds growing between the cracks or shifting due to weather conditions. However, paver driveways can last for decades without requiring major repairs or replacement with proper maintenance and upkeep.

Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate is a type of concrete driveway made with concrete, stone and sand. As the name suggests, this style of driveway allows the stones used in the mixture to be exposed after the concrete has been poured and cured. The aggregate creates an attractive surface with a unique texture.

The exposed aggregate technique can create curved or straight driveways, pathways, and patios. It’s also very strong and durable and requires less maintenance than other types of concrete driveways. The surface won’t crack or break easily and won’t need to be resealed every few years. Additionally, it’s easy to clean with just a bit of pressure washing or sweeping if necessary.

Exposed aggregate concrete driveways showcase the natural textures of different stones, or “aggregates”, embedded in the concrete. These aggregates can significantly affect the color, texture, and overall appearance of the driveway. Here are several types of aggregates that are commonly used:

  1. Crushed Stone: This is a very common aggregate for concrete. It’s available in various sizes and colors, from white to light pink to dark gray. It’s typically very durable, making it a good choice for driveways.
  2. Gravel: This is another common aggregate that’s used in concrete. It’s available in different sizes and colors, and it’s also quite durable.
  3. Pea Gravel: This type of gravel consists of small, smooth stones that are usually multicolored. It creates a unique and attractive finish, but it’s not as stable as some other types of aggregate, so it’s usually mixed with other materials.
  4. Glass: Glass aggregate can create a distinctive and highly decorative look. The glass is often recycled and tumbled to remove sharp edges, and it’s available in a wide range of colors.
  5. Quartz: This is a very hard and durable aggregate. It comes in many colors and can add a lot of sparkle to the finished concrete because of its natural crystalline structure.
  6. Marble: This provides a very elegant and high-end look. Marble aggregate can be found in different colors, but it’s not as durable as quartz or granite, especially in harsh climates.
  7. Shell: Seashells can be used as an aggregate, especially in coastal areas. They create a unique, beachy look and are eco-friendly.

Remember, the aggregate you choose should not only fit the look you desire but also be suitable for your climate and withstand the wear and tear of vehicle traffic. The skill of your contractor in placing and finishing the aggregate concrete will also be a significant factor in the success of the project.

aggregate concrete driveway

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Stamped And Colored Concrete?

Stamped and colored concrete are two popular options for creating beautiful driveways. Stamped concrete is created when a pattern is stamped onto the wet concrete before it sets, while colored concrete involves adding pigment to the wet mix. Both methods can create unique looks and patterns, but they offer different levels of durability and require different levels of maintenance. Generally speaking, stamped concrete is more durable than colored concrete, but it requires more upkeep to maintain its appearance. Colored concrete has a longer-lasting color, but it may fade over time with exposure to the elements.

What Is The Best Type Of Concrete Driveway For A High Traffic Area?

An area with high traffic, such as a driveway, needs a strong and durable concrete. The best type of concrete for this is called exposed aggregate concrete. This type of concrete has stones or pebbles embedded in it to create texture and traction that helps protect against slipping on wet surfaces. It also offers good resistance to wear and tear, meaning it won’t easily crack or crumble under the weight of heavy vehicles.

How Long Does It Take To Install A Paver Driveway?

Installing a paver driveway usually takes anywhere from 2-4 days, depending on the size of the area and the complexity of the project. The process involves:

  • Excavating the driveway area.
  • Installing a sub base.
  • Laying and compacting sand.
  • Laying pavers in a pattern.
  • Filling in joints with sand.
  • Sealing the surface.

Professional driveway contractors should always be hired to ensure proper installation and long lasting results.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair An Exposed Aggregate Driveway?

Repairing an exposed aggregate driveway can be expensive, depending on the scope of the project. On average, it costs around $3.50 to $5 per square foot, with most homeowners spending between $2,000 and $4,000 to repair a 500-square-foot driveway. For larger projects such as a complete replacement of an existing exposed aggregate driveway, the cost can go up to about $10,000. Besides cost of materials, labor costs for the removal and installation of new concrete also need to be considered.

What Are Some Common Maintenance Considerations For A Concrete Driveway?

When it comes to owning a concrete driveway, maintenance is key. Common considerations when it comes to taking care of your concrete driveway include sealing the surface every few years to protect it from damage caused by moisture and UV rays, regularly removing debris or dirt, and avoiding using salt or other chemicals to melt snow. Additionally, keeping an eye out for cracks or other signs of wear and tear is important in order to prevent further damage and keep your driveways looking like new! With basic maintenance you can avoid having to repair or replace your concrete driveway for years to come.


In conclusion, concrete driveways come in a variety of styles and sizes. Stamped and colored concrete are two popular options for homeowners looking to upgrade their driveway. For areas with high traffic levels, a paver driveway may be the best choice due to its durability. All in all, when selecting the right type of concrete driveway for your home, there are many aspects to consider.

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