Spice Up Your Patio with Concrete Stamping
Decorative stamped concrete has the durability of concrete but the beauty of tiles. Stamped concrete has become more and more popular by the day. The versatility and longevity of stamped concrete means it can be found anywhere within the home from countertops, back splashes in the kitchen to beautiful textured concrete driveways. With the right experienced professional, stained concrete can look like marble, slate, wood or terra cotta. Concrete rubber stamps are now being manufactured in over a hundred different patterns that mimic the luxurious feel of natural stone and other materials.
What is Stamped Concrete Exactly?
Stamped concrete is concrete that has been patterned, textured or embossed to resemble various textures like brick, flagstone, tile, wood, stone, slate or many other patterns/textures. Stamped concrete is commonly found in patios, sidewalks, driveways, pool decks or within someone’s house as a replacement to tiles.
Stamped Concrete Versus Tiles
Both tile flooring and concrete are great for indoor and outdoor living. With the advancements of stamped concrete production concrete flooring has made its way from the industrial and commercial applications into the home often times replacing the classic house tiles. Durability plays a huge role in people’s decision between tiles or stamped concrete around the home. The durability of tile really does depend on the material. Often with marble for example the hard surface will get scratches or discoloration from water, making it not the best option for kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. Slate, which has become quite popular in it’s rustic chic look is not impact resistant and cracks quite easily. As far as cost is concerned according to Concrete Network natural stone tiles cost between $20 and $50 per square foot, whereas concrete stamping can be dramatically lower depending on the colour, stamping or scoring desired.
DIY Stamped Concrete
Installing stamped concrete can be a challenging process for someone trying to create his or her own DIY stamped concrete patio. It’s the imprinting process that makes it tricky. If you don’t get the imprinting perfect, you could be left with a pretty ugly, inconsistent slab of concrete that could cost a fortune to fix. There are also a great deal of steps involved in stamping concrete, and a very short time span to do them all in. Make sure you have the skills to do this job before starting a DIY concrete project this size. The following is an overview of the steps involved in stamping concrete.
Step One: Choose a Colour and Texture
The beauty and luxury of concrete stamping along with cost savings is the reason why so many homes especially in the Calgary area are choosing concrete stamping for their patios or driveways. With so many varieties of rubber stamps and colours choosing the right colour and textures can be tricky.
Step Two: Area Preparation
It’s incredibly important that when preparing the area where you will be laying down the concrete that everything is incredibly level. If you don’t do this primary step right from the beginning you may need our floor levelling and resurfacing services later. The key to a successful concrete job is the preparation of the concrete surface. We always begin the concrete stamping process with grinding the top surface of the concrete slab to ensure the decorative concrete stain or colour we apply will penetrate deep into the pores of the concrete surface for a permanent colouring adhesion without lifting or flaking.
Step Three: Placing the Concrete
Follow normal concrete pouring practices with a sub-grade and concrete base that meets your planned specs.
Step Four: Apply the Colour to Concrete
Once the concrete reaches the right stage of plasticity, place the colour in by throwing it onto the surface.
Step Five: Stamping the Concrete
Place the first row of stamps. Once the edges are textured it’s easier to line up the stamps and stamp the rest of the concrete slab. Placing the edges of the concrete slab is the tricky part and should be pre-planned out based on the size parameters of the concrete surface area and the size of the concrete stamp.
Step Six: Curing Stamped Concrete
Now that everything is all stamped its important to do the last bit of detailing. You will often need to go in and clean up some smudged areas and really define the lines between each stamped surface. If you applied a colour release agent of any kind you will need to wash off the residual release agent at a minimum of 1-3 days later before a curing compound can be applied to the concrete. Once the surface is clean and ready to go, you can apply a curing compound or seal to retain moisture in the concrete.
Step Seven: Installing Joints
Joints are an important component of concrete slab laying as they help provide stress relief on the newly laid concrete and help prevent random concrete cracking. As we know from our previous article on why newly poured concrete cracks often times without the right joints installed newly poured concrete can crack.
Step Eight: Sealing Newly Stamped Concrete
Once the concrete slab has cured enough, you should always apply a finish coat of sealer. Treatment of the concrete is an incredibly important step in concrete stamping.
This article is more of a brief overview of the steps involved in stamping concrete. Get the full detailed step-by-step overview of the stamping process here. As mentioned earlier in this article installing stamped concrete can be a challenging process for someone trying to create your own DIY stamped concrete patio. If you have any questions or would like to get a quote from a professional please feel free to contact us.