Choosing the Right Color for Our Concrete Driveway
by Brendon Lee
(Christchurch, New Zealand)
Our unfinished driveway
My wife and I are indecisive on what colour our driveway should be.
Currently it's plain concrete white but because of the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, the insurance company decided to use a product called Covacrete (which is a grout-like material that goes over the whole driveway and you can choose colour and texture, or brick-like stencil finish, etc).
If you look at the attached photos, you can see that we've introduced too many colours. This wasn't originally planned during the build of the house as the materials used were non-standard.
For example, the vinyl front entrance door came in only white or dark bluish / black - my wife didn't like white so we went with the latter.
If you see the landscaping, the gravel is black where the flowers are to match the door. The twin garage doors could of been cream colour to match the brick cladding colour to give it some balance.
Our thoughts on colour of the driveway could be either cream to match the bricks or a shade of red to match the red roof and garage door.
My wife thought that a colour that is not too dark or standing out may be best (she actually likes the white concrete as is) but since we can choose a colour, we thought it might be best to ask from some advice.
The concrete person suggested to go with 2 shades of grey colours and hand towelled the whole driveway to give it a stone masonry look.
Reply from Paula Pavlik-Douglas (our contributing expert):
What an interesting dilemma !
I agree with your wife (sorry!) that it doesn't look bad right now. Although a bit bright white, it doesn't look like you're trying to pretend it isn't concrete, which is what I'm afraid a "faux" paving stone look might.
Now, just to be contrary, I'd say it sounds like you have a creative contractor, and if he can show you some other driveways he's done, maybe you should consider the paving stone look.
Like you said, the color could blend a little bit more, as long as you have to do it - because the new concrete look is a little bright white, like new white shoes.
But instead of using 2 shades of gray, I'd suggest combining a little of the beige/cream house color with a little bit more medium gray (or grey!).
I'd look for that kind of coloring whether it was a paving stone look or not. The medium color gray would blend the driveway in with the landscaping stones a little more.
Look at some examples of paving stone look that your contractor has done and see if you like the effect.2)
Get your contractor to show you some samples that you can put down outside and step back and look at. It's the only way you're going to get a feel for the color.
Here's why: like any horizontal surface, indoor or outdoor, it shows like a pretty large flat piece of color. So even if you're looking at a counter top or carpeting, you always need to stand back in order to see how the color will "read" after it's installed.
And finally, don't try to get too "match-y"; go for a blend.
Hope this helps!