What is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete is a concrete option that is made to look like other materials such as brick, slate, stone, or even wood and can be colored to look like the real deal. This concrete design has become increasingly popular in many locations both indoors and outdoors because of the strength it has, the budget-friendly costs, and the many different design options that are available. Stamped concrete, also known as textured concrete, can be the perfect flooring solution for both residential and commercial garages to give a luxury look at a fraction of the cost. This concrete style is easily maintained making it the perfect option for a good-looking garage!
Why Choose Stamped Concrete?
There are many different reasons to choose stamped concrete for your garage that are beyond the obvious beautiful look. Having stamped concrete in your garage immediately increases the value of your home or business making it a great investment. This material is strong and durable when properly maintained, and maintenance is simple to upkeep. With stamped concrete, you can achieve the look of different high-end materials like hardwood, brick, slate, or stone at a fraction of the cost. This affordable flooring comes with slip-resistance and many different ways to make it personal with different designs, colors, and textures.
Common Materials Needed for Stamped Concrete
Stamped concrete is a beautiful addition to any space, especially in garages. Most materials that are needed to achieve this look are similar to those needed in a standard concrete job give or take a few. Knowing what materials are needed can keep you in the loop and prepared even if you opt for professional installation, it won’t be confusing when you see certain tools being used.
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Of course, you will want to see your professionals clothed but some of the clothing may be surprising. Professionals and DIYers alike will typically wear older-looking clothes that may not be in the best shape because any concrete work is messy work. Anyone working with the concrete can also be found wearing gloves, protective glasses, and most likely big rubber boots. It may look silly, but this gear is important to keep as clean as possible but also to protect from the harmful dust and eroding factors found in concrete. Concrete can be rough on the skin which is why it is important to wear proper clothing.
Without edgers, when the concrete dries the edges can have rough spots that are not friendly to ankles when walking by. Rough edges also give a less uniform and messy look which can make even the greatest stamped concrete job feel unfinished. Edgers are used to round off the edges making them smoother, safer, and more pleasing to the eye.
Of course first and foremost the most important material for stamped concrete is the concrete itself.
Compactors and Forms
When pouring concrete you have to ensure that the ground it is being poured on is level. Using a compounder ensures that the ground is level and not filled with any small sinkholes that could damage the concrete later. Forms are an important part of the concrete pouring process as well. If you just pour concrete without the use of forms, the concrete will go absolutely everywhere! Having formed in place ensures that the concrete goes only where it is intended to go and nowhere unexpected.
Depending on the size of the stamped concrete job will determine the size of the mixer present. You may find anywhere from a cement truck to a smaller rotating machine for your stamped concrete installation.
Tape Measures and Levels
On any concrete job, you will find tape measures and levels everywhere. This is a good sign of great concrete work being done because it ensures that proper measurements are being made for the perfect slab as well as consistently checking to make sure it is level.
Floats and Trowels
Floats and trowels are used to ensure the smooth finish of the concrete. While stamped concrete won’t be completely smooth it is important to remove any excess concrete and smooth the surface over so that there is a clean slate to work with when it is time for the stamp. The floats are used for the main surface area of the concrete while the trowels are saved for trim work and smaller areas.
In the process of stamped concrete, it can be hard to see the final product. You may be disappointed at first because the cleanup or finishing work hasn’t been completed. Part of this process is lightly pressure washing the area to remove dirt and dust to reveal the beautiful stamped design of your new stamped concrete garage.
When the time comes to bring on the stamps, they will be there. They will most likely look like big rubber mats that will be used to stamp the concrete with the pattern of your choice creating the beautiful look you desire.
Process of Stamped Concrete Installation
As with almost all concrete jobs, the first step in the process is preparing the surface. Whether it is a new pour or an overlay process the surface has to be prepped and level as well as free of dirt and debris. In new pours, the forms are then set in place for the concrete to go. After this, reinforcements are placed in the form of either rebar or wire mesh to give added strength to the concrete. These reinforcements can help in preventing cracking and give more impact resistance. At this point, the concrete is ready to pour. The concrete is poured into the forms and evenly distributed for a level slab. Immediately following the pour the concrete is screeded to make it level, a crucial step in the process to ensure there are no high or low spots in the concrete. Now that the concrete is level, the color will be added at this point if chosen. Once color is added, there is a short window of time to lay the stamps. Edges will generally be done first followed by the rest of the slab to create a realistic look. Then the concrete is allowed to dry and cure so that it will have proper strength and durability. Finally, the final step in this process is to seal the concrete. This is a very important step because not only does it help protect the concrete but it gives it a richer color and shine.
Finding the Perfect Contractor
Finding the perfect contractor for your stamped concrete job is important to guarantee that you have a beautiful design that is strong and will last for years to come! When looking for the perfect contractor start by researching the contractors in your area to see what options you have available to you. Doing an internet search not only will you be able to see the contractors in your area but most likely some reviews and company information as well. Narrow down to 2-3 and place a few calls. You can ask about portfolios of work they’ve done before, rates, scheduling, and any other questions you may have such as the designs they offer. Ask around for references directly from the contractors so you can get real feedback from prior clients and get your quote in writing. When looking for the perfect contractor you want to make sure they have experience and how much is what you’re comfortable with. If a few years is okay with you be sure to ask what experience they have within those years. Typically you want anywhere from 5-10 years of experience so you can feel more comfortable with the knowledge and applications they have to offer. Always check to make sure your contractor candidates are licensed, bonded, and insured because safety and assurance are just as important as expertise.
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About Stamped Concrete
What is the price difference between stamped concrete and traditional concrete?
While most price differences are going to vary based on each individual job, it’s safe to say that there is an obvious price difference between stamped concrete and traditional concrete. Square footage, stamp type, and color all cause the stamped concrete to cost more alone but you can expect to pay anywhere from $4-$9 more per square foot for stamped concrete rather than a traditional broom finish.
Is stamped concrete slippery?
If you choose a stamp that is a smoother surface like one that mimics the look of slate, you can expect it to be a bit slippery especially when wet. The good thing about stamped concrete is not all stamps will make your space slippery. If you do opt for a smoother finished stamp you can always have anti-slip additives put into the sealer. These additives won’t affect the color or finish as they aren’t visible to the eye but they will help in creating an anti-slip surface keeping the area safer.