How many stamps do I need for my project?
Take your dimensions of your project and figure out which direction you will run your stamps.
Next measure what your longest run will be. Ideally you want the enough stamps to cover your first row and 2 stamps for the second row. This way you will always be interlocking the stamps and not just trying to line up the grout lines by eyesight.
For example if your patio is 12×20 feet and you want to run your stamp pattern in the 12 foot direction, you will need enough stamps to line up for 12 ft and then a couple more stamps for the next row.
What is a rigid stamp and what is a floppy/flex stamp?
A rigid stamp is one that is semi-rigid and has handles. It is designed to work with others like it for the majority of the texturing job. They will support your weight in properly staged concrete or overlayment. The floppy/flex is the same size and shape but is made from a more pliable material to allow you to use it where the standard mat cannot be bent into place (such as with walls, along edges, and other obstacles).
What is a touch up skin?
A touch up is a small (approximately 14 inches) piece of similarly textured material WITHOUT grout lines to enable quick and easy correction of missed and/or improper textures.
Do I need a release agent?
Yes, otherwise the stamps will stick to the concrete. Release comes in either a colorless liquid form or in a variety of colors in powder form.
What is the difference between powder and liquid release?
Powder Release come in a vast array of colors. Liquid Release comes colorless.
Note: You can color the liquid release by adding colored powder release. You will have to experiment with the amount of color to use but it is highly suggested that you use no more than 2 lbs of color per 5 GL of Liquid Release.
They are both very easy to use: Powder Releases should be brushed onto the stamps and also broadcasted onto the concrete area that you will be stamping. Note: It is easiest to use a release brush to broadcast the release powder, as it will more evenly disburse the powder. Liquid Release should be sprayed onto your decorative stamps and you should also mist the area that you will be stamping just before stamping that area.
How do I color the concrete?
The most common ways are Integral color, color hardener or staining. Each have their advantages and go into details in their product sections.
When do I start the stamping process?
After the concrete has been floated and edged, you will need to wait until the concrete top starts to thicken to a doughy type texture. A good way to know this is to stick your finger in the concrete. If it sticks to your finger the concrete is still too wet to start. If the concrete does not stick to your finger but leaves an imprint this is ideal time to get going. A good way to think about it is that the concrete has to support your weight but the top is plenty soft that you will damage that.
Do I have to follow a color pattern with the stamps?
Yes and No. Each stamp in a pattern has a certain color, but all the stamps in the set will fit with each other properly no matter the color. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid placing too many of the same color stamp next to each other to avoid an overly-repetitive look.
NOTE: Seamless skins are not color coded.
Is there anything that I can use to lengthen the stamping period, especially when it is windy or very hot out?
In times of extreme heat and windy conditions it would be wise to mist the stamping area with our “Tru-Slik” product. Tru-Slik will slow down the evaporation process to allow more stamping time. Apply this evaporation retarder with a basic garden sprayer, spray a light even coat(spray not saturate), and begin.
Do I need to seal my stamped project?
Sealing your project when you are done will not only make your project look better but will also help it keep its color and definitiveness longer. A non-sealed project will allow the sun, traffic and weather elements wear out the color and wear down the pattern. Sealers should not be applied until the project has been given time to cure which can be anywhere from a week to a month depending on the project and/or the sealer. Remember that your sealer will not last indefinitely. Depending on the weather elements and the traffic you will need to reseal your project. Most projects need to be resealed every two years or so. It is also a good idea to add a non-slip additive to your sealer when applying it.
Can I stamp over an existing concrete pad?
Most concrete pads can be stamped over using an overlay mixture. Two products we carry for these projects are our Tru Pac O & OverEze. When using an overlay mixture you must first use a bonder. Not using a bonder put the project in great risk of shifting or cracking. Tru Pac O should be laid at 3/8” of an inch deep and OverEze should be laid at ½” deep. Stamps that need to be used for these projects should have shallow or non-aggressive grout lines. You do NOT want the stamps’ grout lines to go through all of the overlay mixture, doing this may compromise the strength and durability of the project. For bigger projects joint lines are needed and it is usually best to use the existing joint lines while doing your project.
What are the advantages of decorative concrete over alternative methods?
The longevity and durability of decorative concrete is superior when compared to asphalt, natural rock and pavers. Installation is much quicker than using pavers. You have no worries of weeds growing in-between stone with decorative concrete. You have a vast choice of colors to choose from when doing decorative concrete where you are limited with other materials. There are many different patterns and designs to choose from when doing decorative concrete. When done properly it is truly amazing how real it will look!
What about snow and ice?
Avoid using salts and deicing chemicals. Salts and many deicers will cause surface damage to unprotected concrete, especially during the first year of its pour. Some but not all sealers will protect the concrete from the harmful effects of salts and deicers but note that the area may need to be resealed more often. If possible use sand as it is a safer alternative.
Can I plow my driveway if it is stamped?
You should not plow your driveway if your stamped project is not sealed. If the project is sealed you can plow that area but It is recommended that the plow being used has rubber edges, metal edges should tried to be avoided, even when shoveling. When plowing these areas the project may need to be re-sealed once the weather gets warmer.
What if I don’t want all the lines I see in stamped concrete?
Stamped concrete comes in all different kinds of styles and patterns. There are also seamless skins that will give your concrete a nice texture without all of the patterned grout lines.
How much does stamped concrete cost?
Depending on where you live and the competition in your area the cost will vary. Remember that this is an investment that, if done and maintained properly, should last a lifetime. More importantly than price you should ask your contractor to see his work and what guarantees come with his services. See if they have a web-site and what kinds of reviews they may have.
Is it less than pavers?
Stamped concrete will require less workers and less hours to complete a project thus making it less expensive. Besides that the colors last longer. The sealer in most stamped concrete jobs will last longer, this saving you time and money with sealing projects. You don’t have to worry about grass or weeds growing in-between stones.