Stamped Concrete Offers Unlimited Creative Possibilities
You may have walked into a friend’s home and admired the beautiful decorative stonework throughout the house. The pattern stretches across the patio and out through the garden area resembling something ornamental and timeless. What you no doubt have been admiring is stamped concrete. This is a technique that has been around for over 50 years and once was considered a novelty product.
Stamped concrete is the process of colorizing and texturizing the mixture to resemble a variety of stone or brick work. This technique offers a limitless choice of textures and colors to mimic the look and feel of cobblestone, shells, slate or brick. It can be polished to a high gloss finish for decorative kitchen floors or rustic and aged to resemble stonework by a waterfall pool.
Stamped concrete is ideal for garages, sidewalks and driveways, pool decks and even kitchen floors. The material can be a designer’s dream because of the limitless possibilities inherent in the process. For homeowners, the lower-cost in comparison to the genuine materials that stamped concrete often imitates makes it very attractive.
The process itself made quite an impression when it was unveiled to the public at the World Of Concrete Expo in the mid-1970s. Stamped concrete and decorative concrete continue to be among the main attractions year after year. Part of its charm has to do with the incredible versatility and creative potential for diverse designs and applications.
There are three parts to the process of producing stamped concrete. These three procedures separate this process from other concrete methods. There is the addition of a base color, next an accent color is introduced and finally stamping a pattern directly into the concrete. This process can imitate natural building materials quite easily.
While the concrete is still soft a mold is used to press and shape the material while it hardens. Color hardeners or dry shakes, acid stains or integral colors are used to achieve the color patterns in the concrete as its mixed or when it is placed. Intricate designs can be developed through a combination of these processes and many great effects have been achieved through experimentation.
You may have seen some of the highly polished marble slabs or the rustic cobblestones which are often shown as examples of stamped concrete. Examples of these can be found in driveways, floors and municipal buildings, pool patios and even state parks. Many people are choosing stamped concrete to enhance their homes and offices, walkways and patios.
What is amazing about this process is that it not only skillfully imitates a wide variety of materials in a realistic way; it is extremely durable and long-lasting. Inlaid stone or paved stone are both expensive and inferior to stamped concrete. A beautiful cobblestone pathway can be designed and constructed in just the right tone and shape to match your decor. Through the use of stamped concrete you can achieve amazing detail and texture without the expense or time involved in other installations.
The process is quicker and more economical for sure but even as important, you have total control over the look and feel of the end product. You can determine the actual texture color and accents that are used in the process. You don’t have to settle for what is available at the quarry, lumberyard or hardware store.
A professional contractor can create beautiful tiled flooring with just the right color and design you choose. Interior work offers relatively quick installation with consistent results. However there are several important considerations when creating stamped concrete for exterior installation.
The time of year can be a factor; cracks, frost heave and aesthetics should be factored into your exterior installation. Frozen soil can cause the ground surface to shift and change with the weather. Stamped concrete works well on a flat outdoor surface and is superior to stone which tends to move around freely as the ground surface changes form with the change in temperature.
Pavers are also susceptible to weeds growing between the spaces. Plants tend to grow out of the spaces between pavers but stamped concrete has no real spaces. The cracks and mortar lines are simply imprinted designs on its surface. This makes the process far easier to maintain all year around.
You can get an authentic “look” from stamped concrete without the time and money involved in construction and installation of brick or stone or even pavers. Modern technology has made the process even more realistic than in the past therefore you can now have a granite, slate or cobblestone pathway leading to the pool without the enormous expense.
Keep in mind that stamped concrete works best on flat even surfaces. Pavers, bricks and stones will tend to conform to uneven ground which makes them more ideally suited for that purpose. However if you are thinking about a backyard area that simply has a few imperfections, it may be far more advantageous to level out the ground and apply stamped concrete. The cost savings may be more than you might think.
Stamped concrete Pennsylvania style
Homeowners from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia are looking seriously at stamped concrete to enhance various sections of their houses. Whether installing a patio for the pool or redoing the basement floor, the smart money is now on stamped concrete installations. Contractors in Pennsylvania are busy working on concrete walkways and even dining room floors to create beautiful new surfaces to give character and new life to indoor and outdoor spaces.
There is no need for tedious maintenance as stamped concrete flagstones never need “weeding”. Pennsylvania residents can take advantage of a huge variety of styles and colors to imitate slate, brick or stone surfaces. It is even possible to mimic the look of wooden exteriors with this process.
The stamped concrete Pennsylvania contractors produce
after laying out the shape and structure to the form, contractors place the concrete after thoroughly mixing it. Color is applied next or is mixed in with the concrete before placement. A release agent is applied which allows the texturizing mats to come off without taking concrete in the process. Then the mats are laid down. These mats are responsible for replicating the surface texture of wood, stone etc. After the concrete is dried for 24 hours, pressure washing releases the agent before a sealant is applied to the concrete surface.
Stamped Concrete Products
At this point the stamped concrete is ready for everyday use. Philadelphia-based concrete contractors create these surfaces on a regular basis and their clients love the results. This process isn’t just for floors either; concrete kitchen countertops can be created to look like tile, stone or any other material. An experienced concrete contractor can offer a designer full creative freedom to produce a virtually unlimited combination of colors, textures and designs.
Stamped concrete can take a humdrum ordinary house and elevate it to a high degree of sophistication and style. New flooring and services could be created to bring a sense of opulence to each room. The process can beautify any home simply by re-imagining the surfaces. Best of all, the price tag is extremely attractive.
Although the process is half a century old, stamped concrete is still cutting-edge technologically today. New designs and combinations are constantly being examined and applied in conjunction with new methods for creating texturizing mats. The finished surface can be highly polished or pitted and coarse. You can choose the rustic look or opt for a highly refined sophisticated surface. Whichever way you choose stamped concrete can get the job done efficiently and cost-effectively.