Lower Mainland Concrete Services


The Importance of Compact Aggregate

Our company has replaced many a slumped concrete slab that was simply poured on top soil. Why is a compact sub-base important for a concrete slab on grade? There are a number of reasons

#1) Compacted and leveled gravel provide an even surface for the concrete to distribute its weight over. An uneven sub-base results in varying thickness in a slab of concrete, this creates weak points and leads to unnecessary cracking.

#2) Structurally compacted gravel distributes weight far better than organic fill. Just take a look to see how our roads are built. Dump truck after dump truck build up the road with “road-base aggregate; this is followed by a regimen of compaction from various machines. It doesn’t take a road crew to build a driveway but the principles remain the same.

#3) Compacted aggregate naturally drains very well, this is important as frost heaving in the winter is directly related to moisture content in the soil. Concrete is porous and over time water will find its way under your concrete slab.  A compacted aggregate sub-base underneath will help to prevent moisture buildup and lengthen the life of your concrete.

It doesn’t take much, even 3-4” of compacted gravel goes a long way. You can count on Defined Concrete to ensure your concrete installation will be built to last!

Written by John Benjamins.

Stamped Concrete: Good and Bad


You can do that? So often I come across this question when explaining the possibilities of stamped concrete to a new customer. Part of the problem is that there is a such a wide range in quality and craftsmanship from various companies and crews. How can you distinguish between the company that says they can do the work and one that actually can? One of the easiest ways is to always ask for a reference of work, we try to send customers to our past driveway installations so that they can easily access an in person inspection of our product. The rest sells itself.

Here are a few tips to consider for a quality job.

1) Does the company use liquid or powder release? A release agent is what keeps the rubber stamp mat from sticking to the concrete. Powder release is a much older methodology, it involves the spreading of a coloured powder over the wet concrete surface, some of which gets stamped into the concrete. After the concrete hardens,  most of the powder is washed off, leaving quite a mess behind, the powder is not environmentally friendly for this reason. Alternatively, liquid release is clear and sprayed on, it does not involve a colouring agent and is far less toxic. It allows for a better quality stamp impression and application of accent colouring after the pour. This allows for better colour control and far less mess. Other benefits are that once concrete has been covered in powder release it is no longer able to be troweled while liquid release allows for this. This means if your dog happens to run over the concrete while we are still there it can be repaired.

2) How often does the company pour stamped concrete, lots of outfits say they can do this type of specialized installation but have far more experience in sidewalks and exposed aggregate. About 60-70% of Defined Concretes installations are stamped concrete, this often means we are far more competitive value-wise.

3) What types of finishes are available? Defined Concrete specializes in stamped concrete, this means we are able to offer stained concrete finishes, Antiqued colour washes, Integral dye options and even concrete restoration to help tie existing concrete into your new installation. Thanks for reading and feel free to give me a call anytime for further information.


Written by John Benjamins.

Accent Boulders



One of the quickest and most dramatic ways to enhance your landscape is the use of quarried boulders, accent stones and decorative aggregate. Naturally, our surroundings here in the Lower Mainland offer up some of the best aggregate and quarried rock in the world. Boulders offer a stunning impact in gardens and help to bring a sense of the rugged which can contrast wonderfully against the softness of flowers and other plantings.  The natural colourations within the rock can enhance overall colour design in a given area.  Different types of boulders can also serve to enhance the look of decorative stamped concrete. They lend a further authenticity to the stamp work and texture found in the concrete.  Again, coordination in colouring between the rock and the concrete can really help to tie the patio to the overall landscape.

Rock is also relatively cost effective. This can allow for an opportunity to create something of real significance. We work with quarries and dealers to coordinate the right choice for your home and can help to set up oversize rock installations, bring the mountainside home with boulders as large as 5’x5′ and bigger!

Written by John Benjamins.

The Three Season Patio: Pergolas


I was in the Langley Home Depot this weekend picking up a few supplies for the rough cut Cedar covered Pergola were building right now. It was another warm February day and the sun was making a few unexpected appearances outside. The store clerk remarked she saw Sparrows in the rafters and an early spring was on its way. I couldn’t help but agree. This is the second pergola we’ve built this month. They make fantastic use of your patio space by aesthetically framing the area in and at the same time providing light filtering effects for the hot summer days. But why stop there? We also offer covered pergolas, clear plastic panels which have the added advantage of blocking UV rays from the sun and keeping you dry all year around. This effectively turns your patio into a three or even four season space, and when you have warmer weather like we did earlier this month, it’s only a bonus.

Pergola’s, arbours, and even trellises are a great way to make an impact addition to existing patios and outdoor spaces. If you’re considering a decorative concrete patio we can use an array of wood stains to work within the colour tones of the space. You may prefer the rustic look of the natural lumber which we source locally. Specialty timber is available on request, consider upgrading to 8″ posts for a more rugged look which only mirrors our natural landscape. 


Written by John Benjamins.

Winter Concrete and Backyard Projects

Most people have finished up their holidays by now and are back to work, settled in for the eventuality of the remaining winter months. Some of you may already be dreaming about summer vacation and barbeques in the backyard. Why not get ready today for tomorrows summer sun? There are a lot of advantages to handling outdoor renovations for your deck and landscape in the winter months, consider the following.

  1. Though every winter we’re handling more business, our slowest months are inevitably January and February and like most businesses, it is during this time we offer our best pricing on projects for the year.
  2. Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying the sun on your new stamped concrete patio, and having that bbq party the first weekend the weather is great? Sometimes customers find it inconvenient to have on-going construction on their property during the summer, we all know there are only so many days of warm weather and sun.
  3. Some landscape installations benefit from the colder wet weather. Thinking of planting a new privacy hedge? We source healthy vital emerald green cedars from local farmers and can have them planted quickly and economically, compare our prices with Nursery after factoring delivery and installation included.

The winter is a great time of year to begin a new project. Don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions or ideas about a project you have in mind.

Stay tuned for further entries.

Written by John Benjamins.