Tagged: decorative concrete

Got Tire Marks?

From the most humble abode to mansions on the hill, Sundek Decorative Concrete Dealers throughout the United States have installed over a million square feet of Sundek decorative concrete coatings on driveways over the years.

These property owners primarily desire two things:
1) Increased Curb Appeal – In my forty years of Sundek history, I have always enjoyed receiving comments from happy customers of “how pleased they are with the awesome drive up appeal that Sundek provides” – after all the front of your property is a major announcement point for visitors!
2) Sundek Decorative Concrete Solutions – Each of our Sundek Decorative Concrete Solutions for driveways is durable enough to withstand vehicular traffic yet elegant in a variety of colors, patterns and designs.

From time to time, our customer care team receives phone calls inquiring if there is anything that can be done regarding the black tire marks that occur on their gorgeous Sundek driveway. The problem is not so much about the Sundek product performing but a situation that can occur on natural concrete  as well.

A recent article posted on ConcreteNetwork.com by Chris Sullivan provides a good summary of the chemical process behind tire marks.  He wrote,

“This is a phenomenon called “plastizer migration.” Plastizers are polymer compounds added to rubber, glue and plastic to make them flexible. The rubber used to make car tires contains plastizers to improve traction. But when the car is driven, the tires heat up, causing the plastizers to soften and leach out of the tire. When a hot tire is parked or driven on certain types of sealers, the plastizers migrate into and discolor the sealer. The better the tire quality, the higher the quantity of plastizer—and the greater the chance for hot tire marking. Lower-quality tires are harder and contain less plastizer, so they usually result in less hot tire marking on sealers.”

Now that we understand “why” tire marks occur, let’s chat a little about what we can we do about the problem? Here are some of the better solutions that seem to work the best and won’t harm the Sundek finish coat:

  • Concrete Degreaser – may be all that’s needed, depending on the level of discoloration. Can be purchased at any auto part or big box store. I have been told Wal-Mart has a great driveway cleaner that works better than anything else.
  • Simple Green – safe and easy to work with. Can be obtained just about anywhere.
  • Automotive brake cleaner – You can buy at any auto parts store, grocery store for a few bucks.  Spray it directly on the tire marks and they dissolve.
  • Citrus Cleaners – these work pretty well – especially when the tire mark is fresh and not embedded into the sealer. You can find it at any big box store and most grocery stores and it is safe to work with.

This is a good list of safe, easy to use and products that are readily available to help you tackle those pesky tire marks and won’t harm the Sundek surface.  Please follow the manufacturer’s directions and safety guidelines for each product. Also, I recommend these products for use on concrete that does not have a Sundek coating as well.


A word of caution: I have tried a couple of remedies such as “Goof Off,”  paint thinner and few other “miracle” products, however, they were too hard on the Sundek finish coat, too expensive, and didn’t work any better than the options described so stay away from these.

Pressure Washing Option – The recommended products listed above can also be used as a pre-soaking treatment for further mechanical action such as the use of a pressure washer.  Once you have applied the cleaning product, scrub with a stiff brush and rinse with a high power spray nozzle to rinse away the gunk.  Tire marks that are more stubborn may take more than one treatment.  Pressure washing on a timely basis is a good maintenance practice, but may not get the really stubborn tire marks off.

Not a do-it-yourselfer?  Not everyone has a pressure washer or willing to go rent one.

Some Sundek dealership locations offer pressure washing services on a seasonal basis.   

If you arePicture11 considering a Sundek decorative concrete coating for your driveway, I recommend you spend time with your local Sundek Representative and tap into their valuable bank of experience.  Get their recommendations for the best colors, textures and Sundek finishes to combat or blend with those inevitable tire marks.


System Series Part 4: Concrete Micro-Toppings SunCanvas

The Decorative Concrete industry has exploded over the past 15-20 years! The evolution of new and exciting decorative concrete products and application methods grows each year. At Sundek, we have more than kept pace over the past 20 plus years, but rather served as an industry leader in the decorative concrete industry for the past 40 years!   Adapting to new markets and improving existing products is what we do best.   One of our more recent innovations is our new product line of Sundek SunCanvas which is generically classified in the industry as a micro-topping.

Sundek SunCanvas

Sundek SunCanvas

The beauty of the amazing SunCanvas material is its ability to transform an ordinary interior concrete floor into a dazzling traffic-friendly surface that is complimented by a variety color stains, metallic, custom graphics and finished with a durable clear finish. SunCanvas is a perfect renovation tool

for older floors that are in good condition – that is crack free and structurally sound. It is also a great solution for new floors in good condition looking for a consistent and beautiful finish.

You are probably asking yourself, then why apply a coating? Why not just stain or color the existing concrete, if it is in good condition? The truth is that the majority of older concrete floors are not in a stain ready condition that will exhibit the satisfactory results you are looking for your property!


What is a Good “Use Case” for SunCanvas?


Ghosting Effect

Ghosting Effect

Glad you asked! SunCanvas is perfect for a floor where tile or carpeting was removed. SunCanvas will cover over the ghosting effect left behind from the previous flooring material. If a contractor would have tried to stain the floor in the photo shown here, the tile lines would “ghost” through on the floor if it were simply stained or dyed.


Instead, Sundek’s SunCanvas comes into play for this solution. The floor is completely surface prepared by machine grinding and then followed by multiple coats of SunCanvas applied with squeegees and trowels. Each coat of SunCanvas is lightly sanded after it dries to remove any trowel lines and then the floor is then recoated until the final surface texture is achieved. Now we have a floor finish that is smooth and consistent!   The surface is now ready for any number of color choices which are typically a stain of some type. Many Sundek Dealers will use the SunH2O which is a water-based acrylic stain or an acid-based stain like Sun Acid.  Both materials have their advantages

  • Sun Acid provides a very organic – mottled look
  • Sun H2O offers a more consistent look and a wider selection of colors

Another popular look today is the use of metallic color which provides a real WOW factor to a floor. With the use a micro-topping like SunCanvas, an old floor can be rejuvenated into an amazing show piece. I am seeing more of the metallic looks now being used in garage floors and high-end commercial real estate.

Sundek SunCanvas

Sundek SunCanvas

As with any stain floor the surface must be protected with a clear finish coat to protect it from the wear and tear of everyday foot traffic. The clear coat will also make the stain colors “pop” adding depth and richness to the final look. Clear coating your surface also makes it elegant and an easy to maintain finish.

The selection of clears can be a tricky proposition and will all depend on three factors:

  1. Intended use of the floor
  2. Overall look you are trying to achieve
  3. Long term maintenance

My preferred choice of clears has been a high-solids urethane applied in two coats. I like the urethane because it is more resilient than an epoxy clear or polyaspartic clear. By resilient I mean,

  1. It is more scratch resistant
  2. It provides some degree of slip resistance
  3. It will not amber or turn yellow in direct sunlight over time

The Bottom Line: Keep in mind when you are considering staining your decorative concrete floor that using your existing concrete floor as your starting “canvas” may not give you the expected results that you’re looking for from that magazine picture or a friend’s house. Sundek’s SunCanvas gives reliable and predictable results! If you are considering a new look on a floor area that currently has carpet or tile, check with your local Sundek Decorative Concrete Coatings Dealer and discuss SunCanvas as a great option for your floor!!!

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Understanding the Damage to Your Concrete and How to Repair It

Concrete flooring is incredibly durable and resilient, but it is not completely impervious to damage. If you have a problem with your concrete flooring and need to repair and resurface it or replace it, you’ll need to first know what kind of damage you’re dealing with.      

Classic Texture Decorative Concrete Overlay

Probably the most versatile of all the Sundek decorative concrete overlays is Classic Texture. SUNDEK’s Classic Texture is durable under a variety of conditions. It has been installed around the world in nearly every climate, ranging from sizzling heat to frigid cold. It provides customers with a surface that can be made slip resistant, and it can be customized in many ways, outlined below.

Basic Design The most basic way to customize the Classic Texture overlay is to give it mono-chromatic color with a texture only. This will give you a clean and elegant look. Many people choose this option for their swimming pool decks, walkways, and patios. It provides a cooler-than-concrete surface with a slip resistant texture. See the variety of colors you have to choose from.

Masonry Effects GOLD SSOIMasonry Effects give you the ability to emulate the classic look of brick; tile or natural stone—and you still get all the benefits of the SUNDEK Classic Texture: coolness, slip resistance, and affordability. SUNDEK’s Masonry Effects are a perfect complement to driveways, patios, walkways, and entry areas. The combination of colors, patterns, and design are limitless. Many of the patterns we’ve done are hand crafted, creating truly custom patterns that are unique to our customers.

Custom Scoreline Effects This has been a game changer in the decorative concrete industry, allowing clients to resurface old, cracked concrete without the problem of crack re-occurrence in the new coating. Custom Scoreline Concrete that was once considered unworkable can be salvaged. The idea is to think of the existing cracks as “Mother Nature’s expansion joints”—cracks that are just doing their job in controlling the natural expansion and contraction movement of the concrete. Each crack is carefully opened with a grinder wheel and then extended into a pattern that is designed and developed by further grinding. The project is completed with a SUNDEK Finish Coat in a color of the customer’s choice.

Aggregate Effects By creating a multi-colored combination of acrylic finish coat colors, SUNDEK can create a coating that mimics the look of granite. Aside from adding richness, the coating also camouflages dirt and grime that gets tracked onto the surface and adds another dimension of color and faux texture to the surface.

Now is a great time to contact your local SUNDEK Dealer and consult which SUNDEK Classic Texture Effect is the best for your project.

Systems Series Part 1: The Right Sundek System

Choosing the Right Decorative Concrete System for Your Project

The evolution of applying cement overlays onto existing concrete has been an amazing phenomenon as the technology has continued to improve. I can remember when Sundek was just getting started back in 1970 and we announced to world that we could provide a decorative, slip resistant finish to existing older concrete. The thing that always stuck in my mind was the large group of naysayers telling us that it wouldn’t work. Well I guess after installing millions of square feet of quality Sundek overlays in every climate on nearly every continent in the world, we proved them wrong – it does work!!– Sundek is such an amazing product.


Sundek overlays come in a wide variety of systems and finished looks depending on the desired look and the intended use. When working with my customers I prefer to find out how the customer plans to use the area, what their expectations are for color-texture and patterns and finally how they intend to maintain the surface in the future. This important information helps me understand which Sundek system to recommend for the intended situation. I know that my customer is going to get the best use and full satisfaction from my knowledge and experience in the decorative concrete industry.


Today, Sundek offers over twenty different decorative concrete systems and materials ranging from Classic Texture for pool decks to metallic epoxies for restaurant floors. Each system has unique characteristics and performance properties. The ultimate challenge is for the Sundek customer and the Sundek estimator to decide on the correct system choice for the project.


A few years ago I was introduced to a fabulous decision making process that helps us work our way toward making the best choices when choosing a decorative overlay or just about any other process for that matter. This concept was developed by the International Concrete Repair Institute ICRI_logo_8to help process the correct decision making for making proper repairs to large concrete structures. I have found this concept works for just about any situation when it comes to decorative concrete selection. Here’s how it works:


Concrete Before Sundek

Concrete Before Sundek

1. Concrete Condition – We need to start our decision making with the concrete condition –what is the strength and condition of the concrete substrate, and are there any unsound or bond -inhibiting materials that would affect the bonding capabilities of the new coating or other performance issues.


Concrete After Sundek

Concrete After Sundek

2. Preparation and Coating Compatibility – Understanding and identifying the concrete helps define the nature of and volume of preparation needed and the coating compatibility. The whole conversation should start here between contractor and customer.


Note: If your estimator for any decorative coating does not focus first one the two questions above, it might be a good idea to find out what their depth of knowledge and experience is. Color and pattern won’t matter if the concrete is not in good shape.


3. Owner Requirements – the owner’s needs and wants will usually dictate many of the final decisions that will need to be regarding which coating system is used and the final choice of color – texture and pattern. However, the owner’s needs for un-interrupted use of the area, concerns about the work environment or property damage potential will also limit the choices.


4. Cost and Property Value – Let’s not forget the big questions about final cost and the value added to the property.


5. Coating requirements– Both the Sundek contractor and customer need to be aware of the intended use of the area and what the expectations are from the coating both short and long term.I have seen non-skid, textured swimming pool coatings installed in kitchen areas that should have had a smooth non-porous epoxy coating and I have seen smooth epoxy coatings installed around a swimming pool deck that were hot and slippery. Both situations were disastrous and had to be removed and replaced with the correct system. With the variety of coating choices on the market today this section of the decision making process has become even more important.


6. Application conditions– this section will probably trump all other parts of the decision making process. We can have the best intentions when it comes to costs, colors and concrete conditions – these factors we some control over but when it comes to weather factors the ball game changes. Oddly enough this is the area that trips up both the customer and contractor alike. Factors such as wind and rain, moisture intrusion and other environmental considerations must be answered or considered Also, the generation of dust, slurries for water may require containment and safe disposal. Mechanical ventilation, available power sources, the size of door openings, and minimum clearance will affect coating selection decisions. This is the section in the decision making process where contractor experience comes into play because they have already dealt with most of these issues.


When you are going to consider a decorative concrete project write down these criteria points and use them as a starting point when interviewing the decorative concrete contractors that give you an estimate for your project.


In the next series of blogs I will discuss the various Sundek overlay systems and utilize the selection method process above as we go.

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