Stamped concrete makes paved surfaces like walkways, patios, and driveways. Stamped concrete is highly durable. It looks like either wood, flagstone, brick, or tile. Stamped concrete is concrete that has its texture, pattern, or colour modified to look like some other material. Stamped concrete is often cheaper than other materials.
Concrete sets quickly. So the professionals producing stamped concrete have to work quickly. The idea is to finish the process before it starts to set. To do this successfully, the stamping layout needs to be ready in advance. The stamping tools and all the equipment should be within reach. The crew should be right there, to save time.
The process of producing stamped concrete involves texturizing mats or rubber mats. These rubber stamps function as molds. They imprint unique patterns onto the cement while it is still soft. The rubber mats that make stamped concrete take their shape from the materials they are supposed to mimic. They are patterned after stone, tiles, slate, bricks, wooden planks, or pavement. This is what gives them the right texture. Besides these materials, they can also take the shape of custom items like medallions.
Stamped concrete doesn’t just work for floors and pavement. It can work for vertical projects like fireplaces and concrete walls. To make them look like they are built from brick or stone. Stamped concrete also works for indoor projects. It can mimic the appearance of wooden floors or tiled floors. But concrete floors are cold and hard. You will need rugs for warmth.
Here is how to produce stamped concrete, and why producing stamped concrete should not be a DIY project.
Step One – Concrete
Pour the cement mixture to a minimum thickness of four inches. It works best after good site preparation. The soil should be well compacted for better drainage and to prevent soil erosion. You also need wooden or metallic forms to keep the concrete from going beyond the desired area. All the forms should be robust enough to contain the concrete. Place them correctly to accommodate the slope of the land. Steel bars or wire mesh may be used for reinforcement. This reinforcement can give the stamped concrete better resistance to impact and structural capacity.
The concrete should be very close to the site to keep the solids in it from segregating because of too much movement. Use plastic sheeting to keep the concrete from splattering on nearby structures. Do your very best to make the concrete as level as possible to provide a good surface for the stamping process. There shouldn’t be higher and lower points. It should be level.
Step Two – Color
Stain the cement. There are two ways of adding colour to your mix. You could add it into the concrete mixture. You could also apply it on the cement just after it is stamped. The process of adding colour in the mixture before molding is called integral molding. Applying the colour after molding is called surface/broadcast colouring. Apply the colour as evenly as possible.
Step Three – the Release Agent
To add dimension to the stamped concrete, add a layer of colour release agent to the concrete.The colour release agent also makes it possible to separate the texturizing mat from the concrete without any damage.
Step Four – Stamping
Apply texturizing mats or rubber molds on the concrete to stamp it. If the mats are too few to cover the cement, apply it to one area and then another until all the cement is done. Do this quickly before it hardens. Be careful to position the molds in a way that keeps the patterns consistent throughout the entire area being stamped.
Depending on the weather, you may have a short window of time for the stamping. Concrete sets fast, so start with the side that was poured in first. Also be sure that the stamping is aligned and that the pattern looks cohesive.
Step Five – Drying
You now have stamped concrete. But you are not done yet. Give the concrete 24 hours to dry properly. This curing time allows the concrete to dry slowly enough to grow denser and more impermeable. This adds durability and strength to the project. The longer you give the concrete to firm up, the better.
Some contractors will cut control joints to prevent the concrete from cracking. The concrete will end up enduring shrinkage when it dries and changes in temperature thanks to changing weather. These cracks in the concrete provide stress relief and prevent any future cracking.
Step Six – Pressure Washing
The stamped concrete is now set. It is time to pressure wash in order to remove the colour release agent.
Step Seven – Sealing
Apply clear sealant and give it time to dry again. Within two days, the stamped concrete will be hard enough for people to walk on. After two full days, people can drive on the stamped concrete and not damage it.
This sealant really helps make the colour pop. It gives the concrete a good finish, and protects it from discolouring, also keeping stains away. You will have to reseal it after a few years – this will help to maintain the finish.
So we have gone through the whole process – we hope it’s clear that stamped concrete is not ideal for a DIY project, and that repairs or complete “re-do’s” would be much more costly than having a qualified professional do the job.
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