09 Sep How to Stamp Concrete
Stamped concrete is a relatively cost-effective way to give a similar effect to a bespoke patio or driveway without the large price tag attached. By imprinting freshly laid concrete with specialised stamping mats, you can create the impression of individual tiles, stones, or bricks.
You can either hire a professional to apply the stamped concrete patterns or, if you feel confident enough, you can also do the job yourself. Below we discuss the steps on how to stamp concrete.
Step 1: Planning
If it’s a large project you are undertaking, we recommend diagramming the stamping layout in advance. You should also have the correct stamping tools available, and there need to be enough people available to complete the project.
Step 2: Apply the colour hardener
Once the concrete reaches the right stage of softness, evenly spread the colour hardener by placing it onto the surface from the waist level to reduce the amount of material that drifts into the air. Start in the middle of the slab and work towards the edge forms to avoid a heavy build-up of colour hardener on the edges. Now the colour hardener has been applied to the surface, give it around 10 minutes to absorb the water from the concrete and then float it into the surface.
Step 3: Apply release agent
Next, apply a liquid release agent. Our liquid release agent is designed to stop the printing mats sticking to the coloured surface but leaving no additional colour.
Step 4: Test & texture the concrete
Before you start to stamp, examine the concrete thoroughly to see if the concrete has come to the right stage of plasticity. If you stamp when the concrete is not ready, the concrete will not be firm enough to support the weight of the contractors and will most likely not be able to hold a well-defined print. Stamping too late will require much more effort and hardly any texture will be produced.
At the best time for texturing, only a minimal amount of force should be needed to press the mat into the concrete.
Step 5: Place the first sequence of stamp mats
Once you have completed the first 3 steps, the professional contractors should now be ready to stamp the rest of the slab with the mat tools. Ideally, they will stamp in the same sequence the concrete was placed and finished. (Most stamp mats will be in an order such A, B, C or 1, 2, 3.) If the stamp mats are not straight, the rest of the rows will not be poisoned correctly either.
Step 6. Continue the stamping sequence
If the concrete is suitable for stamping, you should be able to impress the stamps into the surface by walking on the tool. The team of professionals should have completed the first row before moving on to the second one. Usually, the easiest way of continuing with the sequence is by utilising the number of crew. One person will place the starter tools and stand on them whilst tightly holding on to the stamps from the first row and leapfrogging them into the next row. As this person is moving and advancing the tools, another person can complete tamping the concrete. Sometimes, another person might need to be involved as the grout joints need detailing.
Step 7: Carry out detailing work
You might find you could do detailing with a roller or texture skin to remove displaced cement paste that comes up through the joints between stamps
Once the professionals are ready to stamp the slab with the mat tools. We would recommend stamping in the same sequence that the concrete was placed and finished.
Step 8: Remove release agent & apply curing compound
You can’t apply a curing compound until you wash off the residual until you wash off the residual release agent. This must happen for one day and sometimes might need looking at further two or three days later, depending on the weather.
Once the surface has been cleaned and allowed to dry, you can then spray on a liquid membrane-forming curing compound or a cure and seal to retain moisture in the concrete.
Step 9: Install Joints
Cutting contraction joints at the proper and spacing in the slab soon after placement provides stress relief at planned location.
Step 10: Seal the concrete
When the slab has cured properly and had time to recover, apply a coat of sealer several weeks after you have stamped the concrete. Carefully apply the sealer because if you apply the sealer too heavily, the moisture could become trapped in the slab.
An effective technique is to apply the sealer by spraying and rolling, especially when the stamped pattern has deep grouted lines. Going back over the surface with a roller helps distribute the sealer uniformly.