Stamped concrete is a very intelligent and innovative innovation in concrete widely applied for floor in patios, car porch, driveways and sidewalks.
Idea of concrete decoration with stamped concrete not only adds their strength for the floors but also provide pleasing appearance. This is now a good idea for low-cost landscaping where costly granites, interlocks in landscaping and patios are used, the stamped concrete stay upright.
Fig.1. Stamped Concrete with Hexagonal Patterns
The stamped concrete is called as imprinted concrete or textured concrete. These types of concrete after completion of their construction will look similar to stones such as slates or flagstones, brick, tile or with proper skill they can look similar to wood.
These are best choice for beautifying the pool decks, courtyards, entries of the residential building. The stamped concrete is proved best for outdoor paving.
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History of Stamped Concrete
This innovative method of flooring – stamped concrete has gained its popularity from the time it was introduced into the world of concrete. This was a new way of satisfying the customer and keep the budget within the limits.
Stamped concrete gained its applications from the period of 1950s. During its initial entry, the only problem faced was the variety of colors and shapes that they provide. As the technology improved new stains were introduced along with different patterns for stamping.
Features of Stamped Concrete
The stamped concrete is a flooring system that can be attained by a small reference without the need of an outside labor. This is a part of small home change over tip. It can be done by the occupants themselves if willing.
They have wide array of options in terms of color they can be laid and based on different patterns that are available. Another important factor that increases the application of stamped concrete is the price. This is very cheap when compared with any other alternative you choose for the purpose.
In terms of strength and working, concrete is the perfect material that can be chosen to create cost effective replica of more expensive materials. This is attained without compromising the authentic, natural look of the floor.
While choosing stain and patterns for the stamped concrete, it is recommended to choose a combination that easily match with other floorings, stones laid on your residence nearby.
Those that have complex designs, like an area with steps and fountains, can also be easily pressed into the concrete very easily. These ideas can be combined with other decorative concrete elements like exposed aggregates or acid staining.
The different patterns that can be used for stamped concrete construction are running bond brick, worn rock, stone or hexagonal tiles.
Procedure for Stamped Concrete
The steps involved in the installation of stamped concrete is slightly different from other concrete procedures. Each of the method is explained in detailed:
- Step 1: Addition of Base Color
- Step 2: Addition of Accent Colors
- Step 3: Stamping Patterns over the Concrete Surface
The completion of these procedures will provide the stamped concrete with proper color and shape. The final shape that is obtained will be similar to that of a natural building material. This material is long lasting when compared with the paved stone and will resemble to the natural rock.
Addition of Base Color
The primary color that is used in the construction of stamped concrete flooring forms the base color. The base color is selected in such a way that it suits the natural building color. It must have a correlation with any other stones that is laid in the nearby area of the respective building.
The addition of a color hardener to the concrete gives the base color to the concrete. The color hardener used for the base color is powdered like material.
The addition of color hardener to the concrete can be done in two main procedures. They are the:
- Integral color
- Cast on the color procedure
Integral Color Procedure:
In this method, the whole volume of the concrete used for stamped concrete construction is dyed with the base color. The color hardened required is completely added to the concrete mixer.
This lets the whole concrete in the mixer to be dyed with the base color selected. A uniform color distribution is achieved due to the thorough mixing of the concrete.
Cast on the Color Procedure:
In this procedure, the surface of the concrete prepared is dyed with the base color. The color hardener is spread over the surface of the concrete. This application is carried out when the concrete is in the wet conditions. Then the power is allowed to float over it.
The coloring of the concrete can be done in many ways. Some of the means of coloring are by using color hardener, acid stains or integral liquid or powder.
The integral process of coloring the concrete as mentioned above have the advantage letting the whole concrete mix to get the colored (complete volume). The use of color hardened cannot change the surface strength of the concrete layer.
Addition of Accent Color
Accent color is the secondary color used in stamped concrete to produce texture and other additional building materials. Application of color release to the concrete produce the accent color.
The color release used in the stamped concrete have two main purposes:
- Color release to color the concrete
- Color release helps in preventing the concrete stamps used to stop sticking to the concrete once the pattern is made over it
The color release is available in two forms either liquid or powdered. Based on the product form, the method of application varies. The liquid color release forms are sprayed on to the concrete surface. This is an aromatic based solvent in liquid form.
The powdered color release is placed applied by the cast on color release method, where the powered color release is poured over the surface of the concrete before the stamping work commence.
The spray on color release method is used for liquid color release, which is performed only after the concrete stamping is completed.
Stamping Patterns in Concrete
The patterns on the stamped concrete is the shape of the stamp placed over it. These patterns reflects the shape of a similar natural building material.
Once the concrete has been poured and leveled, imprinting over it is carried out with the help of a concrete stamp. Latest and the most modern concrete stamps are made from polyurethane material. Earlier these were made from metals. The old concrete stamps lack the property of providing texture that looks more realistic and similar to that of other building materials.
Fig.2. Stamping Concrete using Concrete Stamps
The method of making patterns over the stamped concrete with the help of concrete stamps are called as concrete stamping. The concrete stamping is performed only after the color release is applied over the concrete. The concrete stamps are initially pushed into the wet concrete layer and then removed so that the pattern is left over the concrete.
Most applications demand to make the stamped concrete look similar to brick, natural stone, flagstone etc.
Stamped Concrete Installation Tips
The method of concrete stamping to get stamped concrete is a very faster and convenient method. This method comes out to be successful only if the process make use of the right tools, expertise, and have proper job conditions. This ensures successful outcome.
The whole procedure has to be conducted (concrete stamping) before the concrete starts to harden. So, the complete crew have a shorter time period between the placing of concrete to the concrete stamping procedure.
In addition to the concrete placing and the concrete stamping procedure, they are supposed to lay the color hardened over the surface as a part of coloring the stamped concrete. Once the work is done, the next procedure involves the installation of the joints and the application of the sealer.
The above-mentioned details thus conclude that a proper planning and preparation can ensure the work to be done smoothly. This criterion is very important in the case of large concrete stamping projects.
Some of the do’s and don’t while installing the stamped concrete is mentioned below:
1. Whatever be the design of the stamped concrete, the subgrade must be prepared without not compromise. A well – compacted sub grade helps in avoiding the problem of settlement when load comes over it to a permissible limit.
A good and stable sub grade is necessary to maintain the structural integrity of the concrete slab. This also helps in having proper drainage and prevention of soil erosion under the concrete.
2. Proper checking has to be conducted to ensure that the concrete pavements are joined properly that the cracking possibilities are controlled. The joint can be cut to a depth of one-quarter minimum of the slab thickness to attain effective joints.
If worries are there about the joints affecting the appearance, the contractor should be asked to integrate these joints into the pattern lines formed.
3. The concrete mix used for the whole purpose must be adaptable to the load conditions over it as well as the environmental conditions like freezing, thawing and the deicing chemical.
Special attention has to be provided for the water-cement ratio of the concrete mix used. Addition of more water into the mix makes the mix weak and the cement paste will of lower quality. On drying, this mix will be highly porous and less durable.
4. No restrictions have to be put on the reinforcement used on the concrete layer. The provision of reinforcement in adequate amount helps in reducing the possibilities of crack and also results in the augment of strength.
Steel bars or welded wires can be used as form of reinforcement. This is highly recommended for driveways and other platforms that are supposed to take in the vehicle traffic.
Read More: Stamped Concrete and Its Preparation Methods