The Dos & Don’ts of Stamped Concrete!

Many people prefer to have a stamped concrete patio or driveway because it is faster to install and more convenient compared to stone or brick installations. However, the process is much more complicated and contractors carrying out the work need to be well prepared and have the right expertise and the correct on-site equipment.

As earlier stated, concrete stamping has some advantages over stone or brick installations. Nevertheless, it also has its own disadvantages. Highlighted below are some of the advantages and disadvantages and some do’s and don’ts of stamped concrete projects.

Dos and Don’ts:

#1. Prepare the Subgrade Properly

The subgrade is the surface that the concert will lie on. It is therefore important to ensure that the subgrade is well prepared in order for the concrete slab to rest well on it. A well prepared subgrade will ensure the integrity of the stamped concrete. It also prevents soil erosion beneath the slab and will ensure that there is good drainage.

#2. Ensure Proper Joining

Joints are necessary in stamped concrete and as such they should be well integrated in the patio or driveway. The importance of well jointed stamped concrete is to avoid cracking of the concrete. To prevent the joints from undermining the appearance of the stamped concrete, they can be hidden in the pattern of the stamped concrete wherever possible.

#3. Mix Your Concrete to the Required Standard

Ensure that your concrete is able to withstand all the conditions that it will be exposed to. In order for the concrete to be strong and tough, the cement-water ratio should be correct. If you put too much water the concrete will become soft and crack easily when exposed to external conditions. Make sure that your concrete can withstand different climatic conditions like cold during winter and heat during summer, foot and vehicle traffic among other external conditions.

Advantages

#1. You Can Have a Color of Your Choice

You can have your concrete in a color of your choice. This is very advantageous as your stamped concrete can be of the same color as your pool, an already present driveway or patio. Additionally, the color of the concrete can complement the landscape of your house. Another advantage of concrete is that you can choose a million different designs, because of this; you have virtually limitless design options at your doorstep.

#2. Longevity

Provided the stamping work is done properly, you will have an installation that will last for years. One, stamped concrete does not settle (to become uneven). Two, it is designed to withstand high foot and vehicle traffic, furniture or any other equipment that you can place on your patio

#3. Can Be Installed Fast

Installation of stamped concrete is relatively fast as compared to stone or brick installation. The main reason is because it is similar to installing a slab and because of this much less labor is required to complete the assignment. The advantage is that you will only be inconvenienced for a short while before you go back to your normal routine.

#4. Requires Maintenance Less Often

Stamped concrete is one of the easiest installations or finishes to maintain. All you need to do to keep it shinny and glittering is to sweep and wash it once in a while to keep away dirt and debris. Other than that, you can also reseal it once or twice each year. The importance of resealing is to ensure that the concrete does not crack or chip.

#5. It Costs Much Less to Install

It is much less expensive to install stamped concrete as compared to other options. It does not require a lot of additional labor making it less expensive as compared to stone or brick installations. Concrete is also less expensive as compared to the other options.

Disadvantages

#1. Cracking

One of the greatest disadvantages of stamped concrete is that it cracks often especially in very hot or cold temperatures due to contraction and expansion. The situation is made worse if the installation was poorly done as repairing the cracks will leave unsightly marks on your stamped concrete.

#2. Does Not Really Look Like the Real Thing

You can imprint pattern but it will not look exactly like Welsh slate or the York stone. In fact, if you are looking for such an appearance, you will most definitely be disappointed. If your intention is to replicate the appearance of more expensive pavement or patio material, then stamped concrete might not be the best choice.