Pic Installation Process


Step 1 – Discussing your requirements


After you have made your initial enquiry, Approachways will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for a free site survey. On this appointment, we will fully explain the installation process, accurately survey the site and discuss all of the details relevant to your installation with you. Once everybody has a thorough understanding of the work, a drawing will be prepared to scale, noting all the relevant points regarding the construction and a no obligation quotation produced.


Step 2 – Scheduling a start date


Once we have received a positive go ahead from you, we will fill out detailed paperwork with you that itemises all required works to include all important pattern and colour choices.


Step 3 – Site Preparation


The site needs to be prepared to install the paving. The average job will require alot of material to be removed so wherever possible we will use plant and machinery. However, for most patios, when access is restricted, all excavation will be done by hand. Depending on the size, we will plan to undertake the preparation in a day but we will let you know if we envisage it taking more time.


The base will typically excavated to a depth of 200-250mm and all spoil will be removed using grab lorries. MOT Type 1 crushed stone is then reinstated to a depth of 100-125mm to achieve a well compacted and flat base, prepared with the correct falls.


Any drainage requirements are dealt with and all manhole covers, drains or drainage channels are set to the correct level and fall. The levels are checked around the job so that when the concrete is laid, the falls of the paving will direct water to the desired locations.


Once the preparation has been completed and all shuttering has been erected, we will then ensure that you are happy with all final shaping.


We will then aim to pour the new concrete slab as soon as possible after we have completed the groundworks, subject to weather conditions. Should there be a delay, the site is left neat and tidy so the area can be used, keeping inconvenience to a minimum.


Step 4 – Concrete installation and imprinting


Having checked that the weather forecast is favourable, Approachways will then lay your new concrete.


We arrive on site about an hour before the concrete is due. In this time we get all tools and equipment ready, protect walls and adjacent structures from splashes and contamination, get all materials ready for use and organise the site in anticipation of concrete arrival.


Concrete is NEVER mixed by hand and the correct mix, as specified by the Concrete Society, is delivered to site in a ready-mixed lorry and laid to a depth of 100-125mm.The concrete is unloaded as quickly as possible, generally using wheelbarrows, and placed evenly around the area to be paved. It is then raked to the correct levels and screeded, ensuring the levels are correct and to the required falls.


Large magnesium floats are then used to trowel the surface of the concrete. We now have a flat, floated, soft, wet, grey concrete slab.


After floating, the concrete is coloured with the chosen pigment. This is a powdered dry shake material called Colour Surface Hardener (CSH). It is cast by hand over the surface of the concrete at a rate of about 2 kgs per m² and allowed to hydrate before being floated into the concrete. The coloured concrete is dyed again using the same material, allowed to hydrate and floated again to ensure that the area is not patchy and a uniform colour is achieved. Dependent on site conditions a third application of CSH may be applied to ensure a uniform and durable coloured surface.


Once the correct consistency of colour is achieved, the coloured concrete is ‘closed’ using large steel trowels. This achieves a smooth surface, free of any imperfections.


A coloured release agent is then applied to the soft, wet, coloured concrete once it begins to ‘firm up’ in powder form. This materials primary function is to enable large, interlocking rubber moulds to be used to imprint what is still relatively soft, wet concrete. It also enables us to achieve a two tone colour effect. 


The concrete is then imprinted with the chosen pattern while the site is cleaned.


NB- At this point you cannot walk over this concrete until the following day. We will demark this new area with warning barrier tape so that other people are aware that they are to keep off of it too.


Step 5 – Cutting of crack control joints


After the paving has been laid we will return to site within 24-48 hours to cut the crack control  joints using a petrol disc cutter and a diamond blade. 


Step 6 – Power washing of installation


All shuttering and formwork is now removed. Manhole and drainage channel grills are released. The complete site is then thoroughly power washed to remove all residual powders.  Any remedial works to tarmac pavements will also be carried out. 


Step 7 – Sealing with high solids Acrylic sealer


When the area has been washed, the paving is left to thoroughly dry before sealing.


Before sealing, a bead of coloured silicone joint filler is applied into the cut contraction joints. This inhibits dirt build up which in turn inhibits weed growth.


A nonslip additive can be added to the sealer before 2-3 coats are applied.


Once this is done, your new Approachways pattern imprinted concrete will be ready for use and will give you many years of trouble free service!


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Click to call Approachways