Every home needs a patio, walkway, or driveway. But as functional as these elements are, they can add a curb appeal when designed tastefully. While there is no shortage of natural materials like flagstones, bricks, and tiles, they are often expensive and require high maintenance.
But there is a low-cost, low-maintenance, and highly durable option. Yes, we are talking about stamped concrete! In fact, it is one of the best ways to beautify patios, pool decks, driveways, and more.
Let’s learn a little bit more about stamped concrete.
What Is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete is concrete with added patterns, color, or texture. It is also called imprinted concrete or textured concrete. Stamped concrete mimics natural materials such as slates, flagstones, cobblestones, bricks, or tiles. It can also look like wood. It started to appear in the construction industry in the early 1950s. Soon, stamped concrete became one of the most popular decorative elements.
Understanding the Unique Features of Stamped Concrete
Thanks to its numerous advantages, stamped concrete flooring has been a staple in outdoor landscaping. The following benefits might encourage you to consider it for your next project.
- Affordable: This is perhaps the biggest advantage of stamped concrete. It is relatively more affordable than most options, like natural stones and tiles. But as they look like these natural variants, stamped concrete designs are a more viable and affordable alternative.
- Versatile Designs: Stamped concrete offers virtually limitless patterns and color choices. Most manufacturers provide an array of vivid colors and patterns, depending on your aesthetic needs. You can use this concrete flooring inside your house. Moreover, decorative concrete blocks are not limited to flooring.
- Slip Resistant: You can also treat stamped concrete with a non-skid additive. It makes your decorative concrete blocks more slip-resistant. That’s one of the reasons stamped concrete is a popular choice for making pathways, driveways, and other outdoor landscapes.
- Durable: Durability is also an added advantage of stamped concrete. It can last just as long as non-stamped or regular concrete – around 25 years.
- Easy Maintenance: You can easily maintain stamped concrete when sealed. Sealing protects it from moisture and stains. Plus, it can guard the surface against abrasion, strong chemicals, and de-icing. But there is one drawback – you will need to seal the stamped concrete every two-three years.
How to Create Stamped Concrete
Considering these benefits, you would want to use stamped concrete for outdoor/indoor flooring. However, the stamped concrete process is slightly different. It usually involves the following steps.
1. Pour Concrete: The first step is mixing and pouring concrete. Make sure the cement is no less than four inches thick.
2. Add Base/Primary Color: This is the primary color used in making stamped concrete designs. You can add this color in the mixer or after pouring the cement.
There are two ways to add base color.
- Integral Coloring: In this method, the base color gets added to the mixer. The color is added to the whole mix of concrete. Mixing achieves uniform color distribution, making this a popular color mixing method.
- Cast on Coloring: In this procedure, the color gets added after pouring the cement. However, you will have to spread the color hardener evenly on the wet cement surface.
3. Add Accent Color: Accent color, also called color release agent, is the secondary color. The accent color gives the stamped concrete dimension. Plus, it has a non-stick effect that helps concrete stamps to come off smoothly.
It is available in liquid or powdered form. You can spray the liquid accent color, while you will need to pour the powdered stuff over the surface. And remember, spray the liquid accent color after stamping the concrete.
4. Lay Stamping Patterns/Textures: The next step is laying stamping patterns/textures. Once the concrete is poured and colored, you can imprint the patterns.
But apply the textures while the cement is still wet. Just make sure to line up the stamps perfectly when repositioning them. Brick, natural stone, and flagstone are a few popular stamping patterns.
5. Pressure Wash: After the stamping, let the cement dry for 24 hours. Once dry, you can pressure wash the release agent. Make sure the stamped concrete is clean and dry.
6. Seal the Concrete: After cleaning and drying, add clear sealing. Let the sealing agent dry for 24-48 hours. You can start using it after two days. However, the sealing will take around a month to fully cure.
Will Stamped Concrete Look Fake?
This is a question we often come across. The short answer is NO.
Stamped concrete looks quite realistic. Most concrete stamps are a replica of actual materials. Moreover, the color variations also closely resemble the natural look. So, it would be like laying down natural stones or bricks in your driveway.
But you don’t have to worry about weeds or moss growing between the joints. Decorative concrete blocks won’t crack, rot, or splinter like their wooden counterparts.
And above all, pouring stamped concrete is much faster than laying down natural stones or bricks. It is also slip resistant. In other words, there is no better alternative to stamped concrete.
Work with a Stamped Concrete Contractor
Although the concrete stamping process is convenient, it requires skills. Stamping is successful only if you pour and color the cement quickly and effectively. The whole process needs to be finished before the concrete starts to harden. Plus, you will need to seal the stamped concrete properly.
The bottom line – creating concrete stamp patterns is easier said than done, especially for a novice. That’s why you are better off hiring a professional crew. Find a few stamped concrete contractors near you and choose the one that best fits your needs.
Stamped concrete remains one of the best alternatives to create beautiful patios, walkways, and driveways. It is relatively less expensive, requires less maintenance, and offers higher durability than the real thing. And you can have it ready in just two-three days.
That’s a bargain!
But concrete stamping is a job best left to the professionals. Moreover, you need high-quality material to ensure long-lasting results. That’s where Concrete Construction Supply comes in. we are a trusted construction material supplier committed to quality, consistency, and excellent customer support.
For more information, get in touch with us today!