Advice for Stamped Concrete Installation

Posted on: 15 February 2017

Homeowners who want to achieve the look of natural stone paving tiles without their exorbitant expense often turn to stamped concrete instead. Still others opt to go the full distance and install a this form of decorative concrete sidewalk or patio themselves. Before undertaking such a task, however, it is vital that you possess the relevant material. If you have a stamped concrete installation project in your future, read on. This article will offer two tips to help ensure your success.

Apply release agent to both concrete and stamp mats.

The basic idea behind stamped concrete is simple: concrete (often tinted) is poured into pre-made forms and then, once it has partially cured, plastic stamp mats are pressed into the surface. This yields the distinctive lines that allow stamped concrete to so effectively mimic natural tiles. Yet in order for your results to be convincing, it is important that the stamp mats come off of the concrete as cleanly as possible.

In order to make this happen you will be using a chemical substance known, appropriately enough, as release agent. Common practice holds that the release agent be applied to the surface of the concrete, thus preventing the stamp mat from sticking. Yet people often encounter problems nonetheless. To keep this from happening, be sure apply some of the release agent to the bottom of the mats as well. This will ensure that the resulting pattern is crisp and free from smudges or other errors.

Vary the order of your stamp mats.

As you can imagine, there is a fairly tight window of opportunity for the stamping phase of stamped concrete installation. This leaves many people scrambling to stamp the surface before the concrete has hardened too much. Unfortunately, this mad dash often gives rise to a common mistake: repeating the order in which the stamps are applied. This can destroy the illusion that your patio is made from natural tile—whose patterns are unique and non-recurring—rather than from concrete.

Therefore, while speed is of the essence, you must be sure that you apply your stamps in a unique order. Avoid the temptation to simply pick up a row of stamps and then apply then all again in the exact same order on the next row. Of course, you also need to be sure that each of your stamp mats displays a unique pattern. Otherwise the odds of repeating yourself will greatly increase.