Things to Discuss With Your Contractor Before Choosing Your Stamped Concrete Patterns
There are loads of stamped concrete patterns available for you to choose from. You can choose from everything from brick looks to stone and wood looks. However, a lot more goes into creating stamped concrete than simply choosing stamped concrete patterns.
Choosing and Creating the Color
Most stamped concrete comes in two colors – the base color and the accent color. The base color is the main color you will be looking for, and there are two ways to create this base color – integral color and color hardener.
Integral color is when the color is mixed directly into the concrete. The color will be added either at the concrete plant itself or right before the pouring begins. This is the most common method used to create the base color.
On the other hand, a color hardener is an overlay mix that is worked onto the surface of freshly placed concrete with either a float or a trowel. This results in a colored top surface layer, but the rest of the mix is not colored, unlike when integral colors are utilized. Color hardener tends to produce a more intense color, but it is less wear-resistant and not as strong as integral colors.
Make sure you know what your concrete is using before the concrete is poured. If your driveway, patio, or flooring will be seeing a lot of hard use, the last thing you want is to have your color wear out quickly.
The Stamping Process
Once you choose the base color, a release agent is applied. This prevents the stamp from sticking during the stamping process. It also creates the accent color, which shows up once the entire process is completed.
When you choose this accent color, make sure it works well with your base color. Usually, the best option is to opt for a darker release and accent color on top of a lighter base color.
Once the release agent is applied, the stamping process begins. The stamping tools are tamped into the concrete surface, which creates the stamped concrete patterns that you have chosen for your surface.
Once the concrete is ready, the next step is washing and cutting the concrete slab. This usually happens anywhere between 12-24 hours after the pouring of the concrete. Usually, saw cuts are used. Though it can take away from a natural look, they are an integral part of the process. However, you can discuss where the cuts are to be placed with your professional before the pouring process. This allows you to limit the effect to your stamped concrete patterns as much as possible.
After this happens, the concrete must be sealed. There are several sealing options available, each of which comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure to discuss this with your contractor, so you can make the decision that is best for your needs.
When applying a sealer, some recommendations are to use a non-slip additive or a non-slip wax on floors, driveways, and other ground surfaces, so you don’t have to worry about hurting yourself.
Once the concrete is sealed and cured, the final colors will show up. This is the color that will be permanent. However, there are several ways the color can be affected and damaged over time. For example, if you do not maintain and reseal your concrete on-time, the color may dull. Make sure to talk to your contractor about how to maintain your concrete to keep the color as vivid as possible for as long as possible.
When it comes to stamped concrete, there are several things you will need to discuss with your contractor aside from simply choose your favorite stamped concrete patterns. If you have any questions regarding stamped concrete or would like to get started with creating a stamped concrete process, contact Xpedite Coatings at (713)365-0444 today. We’re happy to answer any questions that you might have!