So, you want to use HeatTrak mats for snow removal on your decorative concrete, but you’re probably wondering if heat will affect your concrete finish. In this blog post we’ll cover exactly what to do if you’re a homeowner with decorative concrete on your property.

For starters, what is decorative concrete? 
Decorative concrete goes by a few names: stamped concrete, stamped cement, polishing concrete, stained concrete, stamped overlays, engraving concrete and others.

Decorative concrete is made of regular concrete that has been stamped with a design so you can achieve a unique finish. Stamped concrete can resemble pebbles, tiles, and other fancy stones. Homeowners sometimes use these designs to achieve a similar look and feel to cobblestone. 

Will snow melting mats damage my stamped concrete?
The heat from our snow melting mats can affect decorative concrete. However, we have a solution for homeowners with decorative concretes, so you can still use HeatTrak snow melting mats to reduce slips and falls around your home during winter.

But first, here is a more detailed insight into why the heat from snow melting mats can affect decorative concrete. The reason this situation occurs is due to the layer of polyurethane that is applied during the process to design stamped concrete. 

The polyurethane barrier keeps the coloring inside the cement. This is actually the explanation behind why it’s often called dyed cement or stained cement. The barrier is how driveway landscapers get the cement to look like textured, beautiful stones. 

The problem we’ve found is that when people lay our heated mats over this protective polyurethane barrier the heat affects the color of the stain underneath it. We’ve discovered that once you pull up the mats at the end of the winter, there’s a chance you’ll find discoloration on the concrete if the mats were laid directly on the surface. 

Can I still use HeatTrak mats?
The good news is: yes! You can still use heated snow melting mats on your stamped concrete to reduce slips and falls around your home. Here’s our quick fix to the problem. 

We suggest using something to block the heat from penetrating the sealer and becoming absorbed by the stained concrete or stamped cement. To do that we recommend the following approach: 

Place a thin layer of insulation under the heat mats to prevent heat penetration. Examples of insulation include:

  • A pressure-treated piece of plywood (Tip: Home Depot and Lowe’s will cut it for free)
  • ¼”-thick polyethylene or neoprene foam insulation 
  • Outdoor carpet strips

To sum up, HeatTrak Snow Melting Mats can be used on decorative concrete if you take the simple precaution of blocking the heat with another layer. Here’s to safer, shovel-free winters!