Stamped / Colored Concrete

Stamped Concrete

Steps of Stamped Concrete

  1. Preparation and Steel:
    Subgrade preparation makes a big difference in the overall performance and structural integrity of the slab. It must be well-compacted which will help prevent drainage and can prevent soil erosion under the concrete.
    Placing forms, made from wood, metal or plastic, are attached to stakes to contain the concrete in the area desired. It is important that forms are in good condition, be set to provide the proper slope or grade for drainage, and are erected to create clean corners where they abut each other or structures.
    Installing steel reinforcement bars or welded wire mesh are critical to providing structural function and support in the slab. The main reasons to include reinforcement in the slab is to help control cracking, provide structural capacity, increase impact resistance, and reduce joint maintenance.
  2. Placing the Concrete :
    The most common method for placing concrete is to have the ready-mix truck pull up to the placement area and deposit the concrete from the chute. The concrete should be placed as close to its final destination as possible because moving it around too much (with shovels or other tools) can lead to segregation. Also be sure plastic sheeting is used to protect adjacent buildings, landscaping, or other existing slabs from concrete splatter. The type of concrete used is also crucial to successful placement.The work done immediately following concrete placement is critical, since this is when you must create the perfect canvas for decorative stamping. The two most important factors are that the surface is leveled to prevent any low or high spots, and that cement paste is brought to the surface to permit a well-defined imprint.
  3. Coloring and Antique Release:
    Advantages: Both of these products help prevent the stamping mats or skins from sticking to the concrete and spoiling the texture. They also impart subtle color that enhances integral or dry-shake color, resulting in an antiquing effect. A popular technique is to start with a light base color with an integral color or hardener, and then apply a much darker release agent for contrast.
  4. Stamping:
    The window of time in which to stamp is generally short, especially in warm weather. The stamp layout should be diagrammed ahead of time, and there should be enough labor on hand for the volume of work to be done. Typically, the edges are pre-textured first because later when the larger stamps are used, they may overlap the forms and won’t be able to be fully depressed into the concrete. The concrete should then be stamped in the same sequence it was placed. Stamping alignment should be checked regularly, along with verifying that the correct random patterning is being followed to ensure a realistic-looking outcome.
    Curing stamped concrete’s goal (or allowing your concrete to dry) is to retain sufficient moisture content for a long enough time to allow the necessary properties of the concrete to develop. With proper curing, concrete becomes denser and less permeable, resulting in an overall increase in strength and durability.
    Cutting contraction joints (also called control joints) can help to prevent conspicuous cracks. Although not all cracking can be prevented due to the stress caused by temperature changes and drying shrinkage. Providing stress relief at planned locations can help control random cracking.
  5. Water Treatment and Sealing:
    No decorative stamped concrete installation is complete without the application of a sealer. This is the final step and one of the most important. A sealer will help enrich the color of concrete, will add a sheen to the surface (ranging from satin to high gloss), reduces the chance that efflorescence will discolor the surface, and blocks penetration of stains from dirt, chemicals, leaves, etc.
    Use a high-powered pressure washer (3000 PSI is recommended, but be careful, concrete can be damaged) approximately 24 hours after the concrete has achieved initial set.