What is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete, also known as imprinted or textured concrete, is the product of an innovative and creative process commonly applied on concrete works for driveways, sidewalks, patios, and floors to decorate the concrete slab.
The process of stamping concrete not only adds decorative elements to the concrete floor but also improves strength.
Depending on preference, various patterns and colors can be used when stamping the concrete. The process is affordable, which makes it an alternative decorative option to granite or interlocking bricks which are considered more costly.
Related: 60 Houses with a Concrete Driveway (Photo Examples) | How to Maintain Concrete Patios | 101 Walkway Ideas and Designs (Photos) | 5 Types and Benefits of Decorative Concrete for Your Home (Photo Examples)
The History of Stamped Concrete
The history of stamped concrete dates back about 70 years. It was the brainchild of Brad Bowman (who is now known as the father of stamped concrete) who introduced embossing and texturing on concrete.
Through different tools and techniques, it is now possible for concrete to look like brick, wood, slate, or flagstone.
In addition to introducing the procedures, Brad Bowman also patented the tools and methods required in stamping various designs.
How to Stamp Concrete
The process of stamping concrete starts with the addition of the base color. The base color gives the new concrete its primary color which also complements the natural building or other colors in the environment.
The addition of the base color is done in one of two ways. In the first method (the integral color procedure), all the concrete used in the process is dyed using the base color.
In the second method (the cast on the color procedure), parts of the concrete are prepared using the dye, which is then spread over the surface of the concrete. This process has to be completed while the concrete is still wet.
Adding an accent color helps to produce texture and add depth to the stamped floor. For the accent color, a release color, which can be liquid or powder, is used. Depending on the type of release color used, the accent color can be applied to the cast or applied using the spray-on technique.
After the color schemes, the stamping process begins. The stamp patterns are determined by the stamp tool used.
The stamping process takes place after the concrete has been poured and leveled using a concrete stamp made from Polyurethane.
Most stamp patterns are designed to look like other building materials like stone or bricks. However, there is an unlimited collection of patterns available depending on preference.
Additional Stamped Concrete Processes
After pouring the base and accent colors, the concrete has to be washed, cut, sealed and cured to reveal the final colors.
Sealing helps to preserve the finished stamped concrete. However, sealing can make the floor slippery, especially when it’s wet.
To keep the floors in the best shape, you need to follow a maintenance regimen. This includes inspecting the floor occasionally for signs of wear and tear and making sure you wipe up chemical solvents and petroleum spills as soon as possible.
It’s also imperative to keep the surface clean and free of abrasive materials like grit. Practice caution when moving heavy things across the floor. Don’t drag, drop, or place objects with sharp edges on the sealed surface.
Use a mild detergent to clean the floor and maintain the luster. When choosing solvents, make sure they are not acid-based.
For driveways, make sure you discuss the sealing options with your contractor because of the strenuous effects that come with handling car tires and external weather factors.