What Is Stamped Concrete?
When the concrete top surface is decorated with different patterns, shapes, colors, etc. then it is called stamped concrete.
Stamped concrete is very popular in western countries like the United States, the UK, Canada, etc. It is mostly used to decorate the floor in patios, car porches, driveways, and sidewalks.
Decorating concrete with stamps not only adds strength to the floors but also provides a pleasing appearance.
This is a very good and effective idea for low-cost landscaping where costly granites, interlocking paver blocks, and patios involve high costs.
This type of concrete is also known as textured concrete or imprinted concrete. Stamped concrete after stamping looks similar to stones such as slates or flagstones, brick, tile, or with good quality control they can also look like wood.
Stamped concrete is the best choice for decorating the pool decks, courtyards, and entries of the residential building. It is also the best choice for house outdoor paving.
Stamped Concrete Process
Following steps to be followed to make stamped concrete,
1. Base Preparation
The first step of the stamped concrete process is to prepare a base for concrete laying. This whole area is cleaned such that no impurities are left on the ground where the concrete is placed.
Then compacting the base properly with the rammer, will increase the strength of the base and reduce changes in soil settlement below the concrete.
2. Placing Formwork for Concrete
Place the formwork on the base according to slab dimension accurately. Formworks are generally made of wood or plastic.
Check that forms are properly fixed in place and assure that they will not get lost during concrete pouring.
3. Reinforcement Arrangement
Reinforcement is essential to install in any concrete member which has to take some load, wear and tear. Reinforcement is made of steel or wire mesh can be used.
The reason behind adding reinforcement in a concrete slab is to control cracking, provide structural capacity, increase impact resistance, and reduce joint maintenance.
4. Placing of Concrete and Finishing
Concrete is made by two methods either machine mixing on-site or ready mix concrete plant. If concrete is made on site it should be properly mixed in the machine to form a homogeneous mix.
Ready–mix concrete is made by the control method in the plant its quality is good compared to site-mix concrete.
Concrete must be disposed to close to formwork because if it is dumped from height there are changes of segregation in concrete which is a sign of bad concrete.
To protect adjacent buildings plastic sheets can be used to cover them or other existing slabs from concrete splatter. Types and grades of concrete also play an important role.
As the poring work is completed finishing work should start. Give a proper level and smooth finish to the top surface of the concrete.
5. Apply Color Hardener
In the stamped concrete process, first, the color hardener is applied on the surface as concrete is reached the required plasticity.
The Color hardener is thrown on the top surface of the concrete such that it spread over a large area evenly.
After the first layer of color hardener has been applied to the surface, allow it at least 10 min to absorb water from the concrete and then apply float on the surface. As floating is done properly do the second layer of color hardener and repeat the above steps.
6. Apply Release Agent
A powered release agent is used in stamped concrete to serve two main purposes: Firstly, they impart fine-textured color to the concrete surface and act as a bond breaker to prevent the stamping mats or skins from sticking to the concrete and disturbing the imprint texture.
It is suggested to use a Tampico brush about 8 inches wide to apply the release agent.
7. Check Concrete Plasticity
Before starting stamping work it is essential to check plasticity of the concrete has reached the right stage or not.
If stamping is started too early, the concrete may not have sufficient strength to carry the weight of workers or hold a well-defined imprint.
If the stamping is started too late, then stamping work will require more effort, you’ll produce little or no texture with the stamps, especially as you reach the end of the job.
8. Start Placing Stamps on Concrete Surface
Now, we have to start the stamped concrete process. Take the form or mold of the stamp and place them on the concrete surface.
After placing it apply the required pressure on it so that it imparts its inner shape on the concrete surface. Always start stamping from one side to another to avoid any mismatch between them.
9. Clean Stamped Surface and Apply Curing Compound
Now remove excessive release agents and dust from the concrete surface and stamped joints. Then after applying the curing compound on the surface. As the concrete surface is sufficiently cleaned and allowed to dry.
10. Install Joints
Cutting contraction joints is essential to install concrete at proper depth and spacing in the slab soon after placement.
This joint provides stress relief at required locations and prevents uncontrolled random cracking.
We can also start cutting the joint as concrete starts to set by a groove or you can wait to cut the joint until after the concrete has been set using a saw equipped with a diamond or abrasive blade.
In the stamped concrete process a sawed joint is less noticeable than grooving.
11. Final Finishing
Once the concrete surface is sufficiently cured then apply a finish coat of sealer. Most of the stamped concrete contractors recommend applying sealer several weeks later, after a light surface cleaning.
But take care not to apply sealer too heavily, which could trap moisture in the slab. The best practice for sealer application is to combine both spraying and rolling, especially when the stamped pattern has deep grout lines.
Stamped Concrete Cost
Basic Stamped Concrete Cost
$8-12 per square foot
A cheaper option featuring:
- One stamp pattern
- One color
Medium Quality Stamped Concrete Cost,
$12-18 per square foot
A mid-range choice with:
- Contrasting patterns
- Multiple colors
High-Quality Stamped Concrete:
$18+ per square foot
The most expensive, but most realistic, selection with:
- Multiple stamp patterns and colors
- Specialty scored designs
- Detailed hand-coloring
DIY Stamped Concrete Process Tips
- If you are trying to utilize a new pattern of stamped then it is advisable to first use it on compacted sand to see its pattern clarity.
- Always try to avoid stamped pattern repetition, especially for patterns that mimic natural materials such as stone or slate. The random stamped pattern looks more real and attractive.
- For better results you can precoat, your stamp mats with some of the release agents. This will create extra bond-breaking to help ensure a clean imprint.
- To create the random antiquing effect, apply a very little amount of powdered release to the surface of the concrete and then spray the liquid release over the top of it.
- Always be sure that the release agent gets well-compressed into the concrete by the stamp. Otherwise, it will simply wash off the concrete surface without leaving the desired color.
Stamped Concrete Process
Following the steps involved in concrete stamping,
1) Base Preparation
2) Placing Formwork for Concrete
3) Reinforcement Arrangement
4) Placing of Concrete and Finishing
5) Apply Color Hardener
6) Apply Release Agent
7) Check Concrete Plasticity
8) Start Placing Stamps on Concrete Surface
9) Clean Stamped Surface and Apply Curing Compound
10) Install Joints
11) Final Finishing
When the concrete top surface is decorated with different patterns, shapes, colors, etc. then it is called stamped concrete. Stamped concrete is very popular in western countries like the United States, the UK, Canada, etc. It is mostly used to decorate the floor in patios, car porches, driveways, and sidewalks.
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