Tagged: slip resistant surfaces

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.


Is Decorative Concrete Slippery?

Most decorative coatings are meant to be beautiful with rich colors- patterns and textures –all in one beautiful, “eye popping” package! What makes most of these decorative concrete systems really do it all are the high gloss clear coats.  An issue with that high gloss is that it can increase the probability of slip-fall accidents.  Don’t worry though, you can have both with a little compromising.  Sundek can engineer slip resistance material into our Sundek Overlays. We will help you keep the glossy, wet look and still have an acceptable element of safety and still have the ability to clean the flooring easily can be a challenge because:




First of all let’s consider safety.  That is a bit complicated. Slip resistance – hum? What is considered safe when flat, dry and walked on by a rubber soled athletic shoe is dramatically different from a sloping wet sidewalk and a leather soled dress shoe. This is why the careful product selection process between the Sundek contractor and you, the property owner, is so critical.  Your Sundek Design Consultant will ask you:  What type of foot traffic is expected on this surface?  Leather soled shoes or bare feet?


[box type=”bio”] The two main elements involved in slip/fall scenarios are surface texture and clear finish choices- both of which directly dictate slip resistance and clean-ability. Let me explain. Trying to provide a slip resistant surface into the finished Sundek product can often be a two edged sword. If you make the walking surface extremely smooth with a high gloss clear finish, it is easier to clean and maintain. It, however, can be slippery as a hockey rink when the surface is wet! The other side of the spectrum is when you add slip resistant material creating more traction (better safety), it is more difficult to clean the surface. [/box]

The Sundek Classic Texture Effect is the most naturally slip resistant system in the Sundek product line up because of the “hi-lo” effect of the texture.  It is used primarily around swimming pools and other wet environments where slip resistance is a key issue. Rarely is there a need for added slip resistant material in the Sundek finish coat. However in today’s safety conscious world many Sundek Dealers provide slip resistant material to the Sundek finish coat as an added element of safety and peace of mind for their customers. The size and height of the texture can also affect the degree of slip resistance. Low and flat texture is less slip resistant than a taller texture.  Now that we have a grip (bad pun) on the texture aspect and the resulting slip resistance, it becomes apparent that the more aggressive the texture the more clean-ability becomes an issue.2008 Gold Lifestyle - Decorative Concrete


Without the help from added slip resistant materials, Sun Stamp overlay, Tuscan Texture effect and Sun Canvas and the other Sundek epoxy systems, all become more maintenance friendly. Because of the relatively smooth texture and the use of protective clear coats tend to lean toward the slippery side.


In summary, here are the factors to consider when deciding on texture coat, clear coat and if slip resistance properties are needed:

  1. Type of foot traffic expected on this surface
  2. Type of Finish Coat & rate of application – the more the buildup , the more traction goes away
  3. Size and type texture- very flat and shallow texture provides less traction.
  4. Degree of slope on the walking surface.

Based on your answers to the above questions, your Sundek Design Consultant will use these basic guidelines to help you, our Sundek customer, navigate the slip resistance vs. cleaning dilemma.

  • Let’s start with selecting the right slip resistant aggregate for the job. Synthetic materials such as (Option 1) polypropylene beads or “Shark Grip” type materials are light weight and can easily mixed into the clear or Finish Coat, however these materials are softer compared to hard mineral materials and wear quickly in high traffic areas where there is shoe traffic. These materials are best suited for residential and light commercial applications.  Heavy traffic areas or steep slope situations will require materials such as (Option 2) aluminum oxide or (Option 3) silica sand.
  • The next step is to choose the right size and rate of distribution of aggregate for the job.  Typically larger particle size can be spaced further apart and demonstrate acceptable traction while providing better cleaning properties between particles. On the other hand the Sundek contractor can use a smaller aggregate size and space them much closer to achieve an almost sandpaper finish. This is very effective to achieve great traction, but can become a chore to clean because of the aggressive texture.
  • The trick is to find the right balance. If you are still unsure, your Sundek Dealer can provide a sample based upon your discussion.

When you are designing your next decorative concrete project please take the time to consult with your local Sundek Dealer about the importance of slip resistance and future maintenance. You will be glad you did and will enjoy your new Sundek with peace of mind that you have made the right decision on materials for the purpose of your new beautiful space. [button link=”https://www.sundek.com/dealers/quote” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] CLICK HERE to have a Sundek expert contact you about your next decorative concrete project![/button]

Summer is Here! Have You Finished Your Spring Cleaning?

Summer is here, which means it’s time to get out and enjoy your yard! If you have debris on your beautiful SUNDEK surfaces, don’t fret. Because of the SUNDEK sealers and finish coats, spring cleaning should be a snap. Let’s take a look at how to deal with Mother Nature’s winter and spring “leftovers.”


1) Sweep or blow off all the obvious debris such as leaves and dirt.

2) Hose down the surface with a high-pressure hose nozzle to get rid of the next layer of surface grime. This can also be done with a pressure washer, but if you don’t own one, a normal garden hose and your thumb should suffice.


3) Perform basic cleaning. While the surface is still wet, you can use a number of very basic household cleaners to get your surface sparkling clean. This list includes but is not limited to: Simple Green, TSP, and Oxyclean. I try to avoid using detergents and soaps like Tide. These products leave a soapy film that can make the surface slippery and be a magnet for future contaminants.  Note: SUNDEK has a complete line of concrete cleaning products that are specifically designed for this job and can be purchased from your local SUNDEK dealer.


4) Clean the nooks & crannies. This step requires a little elbow grease. Use a stiff bristled broom and work the cleaning solution into all those nooks and crannies. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, but do not let it dry.


5) Hose down the deck again. Thoroughly rinse the area using a good spray nozzle. Then rinse again. A pressure washer will really dig in and remove a lot of embedded material.  Caution: With a pressure washer, try not to spray wood decks and other surfaces to avoid damaging them. If you want to rinse or lightly clean other fragile surfaces, turn the air pressure down low and be careful as you go. SUNDEK surfaces are able to handle much higher pressures than most other materials.


6) Perform a mildew and mold treatment. You can treat your deck with off-the-shelf products that specifically for mildew and mold removal. To make some yourself, mix 3 parts water to one part pool chlorine mix. It’s not a bad idea to let the solution soak on the mildew area for 5 or 10 minutes before removing it with a broom or water pressure. Heavy buildup may require repeated applications. Note: Always use caution when working with any chemicals and be sure to properly store it and dispose of it.


7) Address hard water and vegetation stains. These are the most difficult to deal with. There are a number of stain removal products on the market that do a decent job. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions, take safety precautions, and be mindful of surrounding vegetation.


You can do spring cleaning yourself, but if you just don’t have the time, your local SUNDEK Dealer is standing by to give you an estimate to clean your concrete surfaces that need attention. If you have an older SUNDEK installation, consider getting a free quote for an Extended Warranty so you can get your surface looking brand new for years to come!


The Secret Sauce of Sundek…


Sundek decorative concrete systems utilize Sundek’s industry leading sealers and finish coats as the final step in the installation process.  Our finish coat is our secret sauce!   This final step helps maintain the appearance of the Sundek effects for years to come.

Most every decorative concrete coating requires a type of protective surface for 3 reasons:


(1) Keeps your decorative concrete beautiful! Acts as a protective shield over the decorative color and texture against from everyday traffic.
(2) Aids in cleaning up by serving as a protective element. Go ahead and spill that margarita! It will wipe clean as it will sit on top of the protective finish coat.
(3) Protects the coating from surface stains and moisture intrusion. Sundek’s Finish Coat won’t let that tequila absorb into nor stain your concrete.


One of the most popular Sundek effects is Classic Texture which has transformed millions of square feet of plain gray concrete into award winning decorative concrete surfaces throughout the world since 1970.


I have often been asked to explain the benefits of this important feature of the Sundek Classic Texture effect to my clients. The bottom line is that the Sundek Finish Coat protects your investment and ensures many years of beauty and pride in ownership!

Signature Color Chart


Alright, for our clients who want the technical details, here are the nitty-gritty details about the Sundek Finish Coat:

  • Provides a durable acrylic color finish – with a wide selection of color choices from both standard Sundek colors to one of a kind custom colors. This one feature gives you, the customer, a powerful design tool to create a unique hardscape.
  • Provides added moisture resistance to the Sundek decorative coating – minimizing staining and water intrusion. Water can be harmful to Sundek and other concrete and masonry materials if allowed to stand for long periods of time. This is especially true when it comes to swimming pool chemistry and other chlorinated water!
  • Provides a durable cleaning and maintenance surface. Sundek provides an attractive look to all types of concrete surfaces but if the surface is not properly cleaned on a regular basis it could become unsightly. I recommend contacting your local Sundek dealer for periodic professional maintenance of your Sundek surface.
  • Provides the capability to restore and rejuvenate an older Sundek installation that may not have been properly maintained or a Sundek installation that may have been a part of a remodel construction project and concrete areas have been saw cut or concrete removed. The finish coat can tie the area in color wise as if it were all done at one time.
  • Provides the opportunity to change colors. Being in the decorative concrete industry for 40 plus years I have witnessed the beige revolution of the 70’s to the gray looks of the 80’s and 90’s and it looks like we are back to the earth tones again. The Sundek acrylic finish coat allows the home owner to shift to the color décor that fits today’s latest trend.

The Bottom Line: It is amazing how something as simple as the color finish material such as the Sundek Finish Coat can provide so many added benefits to decorative concrete!

Our brand, SUNDEK, stands for quality, durability, and style. We spend a great amount of resources making absolutely sure that the formulas and manufacturing quality as well as installation techniques are maintained to the highest quality that was set in place back from our inception in the 1970’s. There you have it – the secret sauce of Sundek – Sundek Sealers and Finish Coat Products!

[button link=”https://www.sundek.com/dealers/quote” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] CLICK HERE to have a Sundek expert contact you about your next decorative concrete project![/button]

Time Lapse Video – Liberty Plaza Commercial Project (Dallas, TX) Sundek Decorative Concrete

Sundek Decorative Concrete  
Project: Liberty Plaza Commercial Project (Dallas, TX)
Sundek Dealer:  All Texas Decks

As a follow-up to my last blog about “What to Expect During Your Sundek Decorative Concrete Installation,” here is a great time lapse video showcasing the transformation of a commercial project.  As you can see it is ugly concrete transformed into a magnificent space!  Thanks to our Sundek dealer in Dallas, Texas (All Texas Decks) for capturing this footage on this April 2014 project.  Enjoy!