Guys, don’t think that just because I have a house blog that I’m always super gung-ho about getting started on our long list of things we want to fix up here. That is definitely not the case. I procrastinate a lot, sometimes because I’m scared of making the wrong choice, because I just can’t make up my mind, or because something is a BIG task and I just. Don’t. Want. To. Get. Started.
One house task I’ve put off doing for a long time – more than two years in fact – is painting our old concrete driveway. Wait, I guess that should be driveways. We technically have two (on the side is a bay for a boat or trailer, visitor car etc) plus the paving in the garage and the backyard, as well. So that makes for a BIG area to be painted. But we have finally started – and bitten off a nice chunk.
Let’s take a quick walk through memory lane and have a look at what our driveway and carport area looked like before we started our exterior reno.
Here’s the house when we bought it! Let’s take a minute to remember our beautiful old wisteria. Sob. I used to trim it so devotedly. Then one day it died and I was devastated. As you can see below, it really ties the (outdoor) room together. I mean that literally, I think the wisteria was actually holding the old carport together. RIP.
Also RIP to my beloved old Pulsar which I ran into the ground like the Italian racecar driver I was in a past life.
I’d already painted the concrete driveway you can see below with a paving paint, years ago. Looks good, no?
When we did our exterior renovation to clad our house, part of it entailed demolished the old single carport in favour of a new double carport and we extended the existing driveway to create more parking space – my hubby’s dream fulfilled. Two cars parked side by side, not tandem! Mr Nerd says in hindsight, he wishes we had knocked the old driveway out completely and redone the whole thing because the cracks in the old driveway annoy his tender OCD self. But I shuddered at the thought of getting rid of all that concrete and somehow managed to convince him it would all look good when it was all painted the same colour…..
Cut to more than two years later and we still hadn’t gotten around to painting or sealing the driveway. I think my lack of enthusiasm was partly because a) it’s a big job and b) I have tried two different kinds of pavement/driveway paint in the past, and I was not impressed with either of them. See that reddish section in the picture below? That’s what I painted years ago, using one of those kinds of paving paints. I’ve also used another brand to do the driveway and paths of my parents’ house, and it turned out to look equally average after a while. I know, I know. We live in Australia, the sun is a monster, concrete gets hot, no wonder that paint fades blah blah blah. However, I just could not get excited about going to all the effort of putting money and energy into painting something substantially large, only to have it looking like crud a few years later. Who would?!
Anyway, it being left unfinished has always bugged me until recently when I consulted Google to help me find the best product for painting a driveway, and who did my searches lead me to, but someone I actually know – Michelle of Jarrah Jungle blog, who is right here in Perth too! Michelle actually doesn’t blog at Jarrah Jungle any more, but her blog is a crazy good resource – they wrote all about renovating their older home and doing up the gardens and she has really good tips and nice honest, open information.
I was really impressed by how their driveway looked in her photos and decided to try the same Crommelin product she used.
I bought the solvent-based Crommelin DiamondCoat Tintable Sealer in an 8L tin, and then you add in the colour additive – I got a 1L tin of the Crommelin DiamondCoat Tint in Basalt. You can get it at Bunnings. The girl at the paint desk mixed it up for me. We ended up needing another big tin for the second coat (and we’ve still got more to paint on the other driveway and out the back so I’m guessing we’re going to need much more! Eating an elephant over here). The big tins cost $151 each and the 1L tint pots were $40. So let’s say this driveway cost a bit over $400 to do, covering the cost of your roller and brush.
See the new concrete in that pic above? As much as Mr Nerd and I liked the light colour of the new concrete and I like how lighter colours make hardscaping look so much more open and airy, I know there is something forgiving about dark colours especially for something that will get a lot of traffic, oil marks, dirt, bore water etc. So like Michelle, we also opted for the Basalt finish, which is a nice deep grey. The Crommelin sealer is meant to be perfect for use on both new and old, stained concrete that has seen better days, and hey! We had both.
So I bought the concrete sealer and stuck it in the shed for like, I don’t know, three, four, five months? And then, after ten months of no community transmission of coronavirus in Western Australia (we are INCREDIBLY lucky to be living in this part of the world. I think about people living in places like London all the time) a hotel quarantine security officer tested positive for COVID, and last Sunday afternoon, it was announced that a Perth-wide lockdown would be enforced from 6pm that night for five days (the night before Little Nerd was due to start school).
If there’s ever a time to get cracking on some home DIY you’ve put off for years, lockdown in summer might be it.
First Mr Nerd used our Bosch pressure washer (we have this one, which I was gifted for a sponsored post years ago) to give the driveway a really good clean and a degreaser spray to help scrub off the oil marks. We tried to pull as many weeds out of the cracks as possible and swept it heaps.
When it was dry I did the edges of the driveway with a big brush and all over the indents as I knew the roller wouldn’t get into those.
Make sure you keep mixing your sealer throughout so it stays nice and consistent. Here’s me looking like a dweeb.
After the edges it was time to roller – I ended up using a large Monarch roller on a pole and tray.
We left the first coat to dry for a couple of hours but it dries so quickly (probably because it was really hot – just make sure it’s not above 35 degrees when you decide to paint because it will be too hot). Then we did the second coat.
Then it was done! It can take light foot traffic in 24 hours and is fully cured in seven days.
I was impressed with the quality of the Crommelin sealer from the minute I started to apply it. It went on so nicely and although it seems really runny when you look at it in the tin (nowhere near as thick and goopy as pavement paint) the concrete seemed to drink it up without losing the opacity and colour too much. I’m wondering if it’s because this product is a sealer, as opposed to a pavement paint, and if that’s the big difference? We got the Satin finish, which is a little bit glossy but not too much, which wouldn’t have suited our house. Even the cracks in the old parts don’t bother us as much now.
Anyway, we will see how it holds up with time – but for the time being I’m really happy with it. Of course, it’s not going to look as good as a whole brand new driveway professionally painted. The kids have already dusted it up with their bikes (Little Nerd learned how to ride without training wheels the second day of lockdown!) But we went out this morning and when we got home seeing the driveway all nicely painted and homogenous after it looked tired and piecemeal for so long just made me so happy. I know…. I’m definitely a house nerd.
Now we just need to get the enthusiasm up to do the other bits I haven’t shown here yet! Maya x