Stamped concrete is a paving service that is gaining popularity all over the world. Homeowners aim to create creative and decorative patterns on their concrete pavement, driveways, and walkways to complement the exteriors of their houses. The process of creating stamped concrete involves pouring slab concrete, and then impressing both patterns and textures onto the concrete before it is fully dry. Let us take a look at the detailed, step-by-step stamped concrete process.
- Plastic sheeting is used to protect adjacent buildings, landscaping, or other existing slabs before starting the actual process.
- The soil is compacted, and the subgrade is prepared for better strength of the concrete layer. A well-compacted subgrade helps prevent drainage and soil erosion under the concrete.
Forms, made from wood, metal or plastic, are attached to stakes to contain the concrete in the desired place.
The concrete mixture is poured in place, and a layer of about four inches thick is created. 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 desired color is added to the concrete. Generally, two most common techniques of coloring the concrete are used.
- Integral Coloring – The liquid or powder color is mixed into the cement mixture before pouring the paste in place.
- Broadcast Method – A color hardener powder is directly applied to the freshly poured concrete surface. Color hardener then penetrates the top of the concrete slab 1/8″.
- When the broadcast method is used to color the concrete mix, it is left for a few minutes to penetrate and completely settle in place.
- Once the color is settled, a medium-thick layer of a color release agent is applied to the concrete layer. This is done to prevent the texture or pattern stamping mats from sticking to freshly placed concrete. Stamping mats don’t work without the use of a release agent.
- Patterned or textured stamping mats are then applied to the wet concrete mix. The mats are held in place with some amount of pressure for about 2-3 minutes. As concrete starts to dry soon, stamping is done at a faster pace.
- Detailing of the patterns are done with the help of hand chisel if necessary.
- Concrete is then left to dry for 24 hours or more. During this period, properties of the concrete develop. Concrete becomes denser and less permeable to moisture, and the overall strength and durability increase.
- The stamped concrete is washed with water once the concrete is set. The paving is again left to dry for a day completely.
- A clear enhancer or sealant is applied on the concrete with the help of a roller, once it is completely dry. This layer helps in enhancing the color or stamped concrete, adds luster to the concrete, and blocks penetration of stains from dirt, chemicals, moisture, etc.
The stamped concrete process needs to be carried out quickly with high precision. This is because concrete dries quickly and fixing any mistakes can be tricky. So, if you make mistakes while stamping the concrete base right, you will be left with an undesired permanent slab that can be difficult and expensive to repair. Eliminate the chances of making any mistakes during your stamped concrete paving by hiring professionals. Experts excelling in various paving services make sure that they finish the process in the limited time window to give you a beautifully stamped driveways and walkways.