If you’re looking to boost a home’s curb appeal, stenciling a plain-Jane concrete driveway could be your golden ticket.
“Herringbone brick is the most popular pattern we do,” says Bob Murphy, owner of Distinctive Concrete Coatings in Leesburg, Florida. “Everyone loves that.” Murphy founded the company some 25 years ago and now handles sales. His son, Aaron, heads up production.
Other concrete stencil designs they offer include ashlar tile and a variety of stone, Murphy adds. Overall, he says, their company tends to be more conservative and “not real artsy. We try to keep things simple and not get bogged down with fancy patterns.”
Driveways in their neck of the woods, which is near The Villages retirement community, top the charts as the surface most people want decorative.
Process is easy
While many of the Murphys’ customers opt to have the whole driveway stenciled, some choose to only install a border. Whichever route they take, most also want some type of centerpiece, such as a Compass or Brick Rosette. Luckily, the stencil company the Murphys deal with, Decorative Concrete Impressions, offers many concrete stencils for driveways including custom designs. All stocked patterns are available from the Concrete Decor Store.
Murphy says his son typically begins a job by power washing the driveway. Next, he applies a texture base over the existing concrete and seals it. This layer establishes the grout color as the stencil will block the coats of color that follow.
Next comes the stencil, which takes two people to put down. Once they get the knack, the technique is easy, Murphy says. Basically, they lay down the template and cut, tape and staple the sections together as they go. However, he cautions, “It can get hard to do in the wind.”
For many years, they’ve been buying concrete stencils for driveways from DCI that they leave in place for a day. DCI’s durable waxed paper stencils for concrete won’t get ruined if an unexpected rainstorm pops up, Murphy says.
Stenciling a driveway usually takes four days to complete. This is because Distinctive Concrete Coatings allows time for the various coatings to dry before proceeding to the next. “We use a combination of textured concrete and different colored paint,” he says. On day four, they apply two coats of clear sealer and wrap up the job.
“You can walk on the driveway two hours after we’re done,” Murphy says. And you can drive on it in two days.
Maintenance is a plus
In addition to stenciling driveways, the Murphys also offer customers a maintenance plan. “We’ll come back every three years to clean the driveways and get rid of rough spots and reseal,” Murphy says. With normal use, he adds, driveways by Distinctive Concrete Coatings last upwards of 20 years.
The maintenance plan not only serves to protect and prolong their clients’ investment, Murphy notes. It also generates new business from impressed neighbors.
While their services may be more costly than just painting a driveway, “Our prices are way lower than pavers,” Murphy says. And while there’s no way to fix discolored pavers, their company can easily touch up the “bricks” they put down. “And you wouldn’t even know it.”