February 26th, 2015
We know it’s still winter, but would you believe there’s less than a month until spring? This is the year to finally make good on your plans to create a complete outdoor living setup in your backyard. And it’s never too early to start planning. If you get started now, you can have your dream outdoor living setup ready to go for a long, warm summer.
To help you get started with planning, we’ve put together a short list of some of the basic components of an outdoor living space. From an outdoor fireplace to an outdoor kitchen, there’s one theme that almost all of these elements have in common: they all involve stamped concrete! Learn more below.
What Makes Up an Outdoor Living Space?
Stamped Concrete Patios and Walkways
Stamped concrete patios and walkways create a framework for your outdoor living space. Walkways direct traffic from one area of the yard to another while patios create a space for outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, pools, and spaces for eating and relaxation. Stamped concrete is an integral part of any outdoor living setup.
Cooking areas can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. If you’re a die-hard chef, you can install a full kitchen outdoors and take your culinary talents to a whole new venue. Outdoor structures such as an open-air pool house are often used to house outdoor kitchens. You can also keep it simple if you prefer. A nice permanent grill or wood-fired oven installation allows you to cook outdoors without taking up a lot of real estate. Either way, stamped concrete makes an ideal surface for any setup.
Fireplace / Fire Pit
Outdoor fireplaces / fire pits are another important part of an outdoor living setup. These serve as a space for people to congregate in the evening, and provide warmth early and late in the season when the evenings turn cool. You can read our blog on outdoor fire spaces to learn more. Stamped concrete is the perfect complement to an outdoor fireplace or fire pit.
Pool / Spa
Pools and spas are another feature commonly found in outdoor living spaces. A custom designed pool can be the centerpiece of an outdoor living space and really take it to the next level. Stamped concrete is commonly used in pool decks as a material that offers both function and form.
To learn more about outdoor living and stamped concrete, contact Marrocco’s today! Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete is a professional stamped concrete contractor who has been helping homeowners and business owners with their hardscaping needs for more than 20 years. Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well!
February 20th, 2015
With the proper care and maintenance, stamped concrete will give you many years of service. Concrete is already an incredibly durable material, and if a color hardener has been added to the surface, it is made even strong. Color hardener helps the concrete resist water penetration and abrasion.
Still, it’s important to take your own measures in concrete maintenance and protection. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your stamped concrete in the best possible condition and extend its lifetime.
Tips for Stamped Concrete Maintenance and Protection
The contractor will apply several coats of sealer when they install your stamped concrete patio or walkway, but over time these will wear away. Sealer protections your concrete from a number of things, including dirt, chemicals, stains, and fading from exposure to UV light from the sun. Once the sealer wears away, your concrete can become damaged by these elements, so it’s very important to reseal.
How often you reseal depends on a number of factors. For climates like Maryland’s, which see all four seasons and extreme temperatures and weather at both ends, you may have to reseal once a year. Your contractor can advise you as to when is the best time to reseal, and can even provide resealing services for you.
Not only will resealing improve your stamped concrete’s resistance to the elements, it will also restore the luster and sheen the concrete had when it was first installed!
It’s important to sweep and wash your concrete once in awhile to remove the buildup of organic material. Exterior stamped concrete can be pressure washed, or you can scrub it with a mild detergent. Make sure to rinse again after using the detergent. Interior stamped concrete can be wet mopped or dry dust mopped.
When the snow falls, one of your first instincts may be to salt your walkway or apply deicing chemicals. However, salt and the chemicals in deicers are both very bad for concrete, and can penetrate sealers if left in one spot for too long. Substitute sand instead. While sand won’t melt the snow, it will improve your traction without harming the concrete. If you do use salt or deicer, shovel it off the walk as soon as the snow and ice have melted and are loose enough to remove. Try to avoid using salt and deicer at all in the first winter after the installation of your stamped concrete.
Preventing Wear Patterns on Interior Concrete
If you have stamped concrete inside your home, you might find that wear patterns begin to become apparent over time due to foot traffic patterns. You can use a floor wax or polish to prevent this from happening.
To learn more about stamped concrete maintenance, contact Marrocco’s today! Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete is a professional stamped concrete contractor who has been helping homeowners and business owners with their hardscaping needs for more than 20 years. Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well!
February 12th, 2015
Are you already looking forward to sitting outside on a long summer night and enjoying the warm mid-Atlantic evening? So are we! While summer is still a little ways off, spring is actually much closer than you think, at only about a month away. And once spring gets here, you can start enjoying those long evenings outdoors by installing a fire pit or fireplace in your backyard. While spring evenings may be cooler than those in the summer, you can warm them up with a fire pit or fireplace. Installing a fire pit or fireplace along with a stamped concrete patio is a great way to create a space to entertain or relax in your backyard. Best of all, this is a space you can use in the spring, summer, and fall.
So which should you install for your outdoor living setup, a fire pit or a fireplace? There are a number of differences that are important to consider before you make your decision. Let us help you figure out which is best for you in this week’s blog.
Outdoor Living: Fire Pit. Vs Fireplace
Number of People
The first thing to consider is how many people you want to entertain. Fireplaces create a nice, intimate space that’s great for one to four people. Fire pits offer more room for more company, and the circular design of the pit encourages conversation between a lot of people.
What kind of mood do you want to create in this space? Fireplaces are great for a quiet, relaxing, intimate mood, while fire pits are ideal for a more social space.
If your property is generally flat, it will be easier for the wind to affect the fire in a fire pit and make it harder to light. A fireplace on the other hand is enclosed, meaning you won’t have any trouble lighting it.
One great thing about fireplaces is that they direct smoke up and away from the space. With a fire pit, the smoke could go in any direction, and could end up being an annoyance to guests.
If you have a nice view from your property, a fire pit won’t detract from it since it’s completely in the ground. You can even position your fire pit so guests can have the best view. A fireplace will draw the eye with its height, and could detract from the view depending on where you place it. However, with proper placement, you can easily incorporate a fireplace into this situation.
If you’re thinking about installing a fireplace or fire pit in your backyard, considering installing a stamped concrete patio to go along with it for the ultimate outdoor living setup. To learn more about stamped concrete, contact Marrocco’s today! Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete is a professional stamped concrete contractor who has been helping homeowners and business owners with their hardscaping needs for more than 20 years. Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well!
February 5th, 2015
Concrete driveways offer a beautiful alternative to standard black asphalt. With the variety of colors and patterns available for stamped concrete, many homeowners find that a concrete driveway allows them to add curb appeal and a new creative aesthetic to the exterior of your home.
If your concrete driveway is starting to show its age, it may be time to start looking into concrete driveway repair. Depending on the nature of the damage, you’ll need to take a unique approach to the repair. If the concrete is structurally sound, you won’t have to rip it out and start again. In this week’s blog, we’ll talk about how to assess damage to your concrete driveway, and what repair options correspond with the damage.
What are my options for repairing a concrete driveway?
Years of exposure to the elements will cause any driveway to fade. Regular application of a sealer can help deter fading, but over time it’s almost inevitable. Fortunately, fading is fairly easy to repair. A new coat of stain will rejuvenate the color of your driveway and restore it to a like-new brilliance. This combined with a good UV-resistant sealer will bring back the beauty your driveway had when it was first installed.
Resurfacing is another repair that is common to concrete driveways. The concrete may have cracked or experienced spalling over the years. To solve this problem, you need to resurface the driveway with a concrete overlay. By removing damaged concrete before the resurfacing, you ensure that the overlay has a solid surface to bond to. The new surface will cover up flaws in the concrete and allow you to choose new color and pattern designs.
If the cracking and discoloration in your driveway are only minor, engraving can be used to cover up the flaws. This involves staining the concrete and using a routing machine to engrave a pattern into the surface that hides and covers up flaws.
Is the driveway sinking in one spot? This is probably due to one of two reasons: soil erosion, or a loose subgrade. Slabjacking is the practice of solidifying the base under the concrete in order to raise this spot back up to its original location.
To learn more about stamped concrete and driveway repair, contact Marrocco’s today! Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete is a professional stamped concrete contractor who has been helping homeowners and business owners with their hardscaping needs for more than 20 years. Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well!
January 28th, 2015
So you’re thinking of installing a stamped concrete patio in your backyard. Have you thought about design yet? A common patio design is to install the patio right in the back of the house, so as soon as you step outside, you’re on the patio. While this may work well for some situations, there are several factors you should take into consideration before plunking down the patio right out back. Learn what to think about when designing your new stamped concrete patio in this week’s blog.
Five Tips for Designing a Stamped Concrete Patio
Drawing People Out
You can use a patio to draw people out into an inviting space in your yard. Why stick it right out back when you have plenty of yard to enjoy? Make use of the space that’s available to you by creating a centerpiece in your yard with your patio.
Creating Multiple Rooms
If you think of the way your house is designed, it’s not just one big room. Your house uses multiple rooms to separate spaces, and you can use this same strategy in stamped concrete patio design. Create unique spaces with different patios to serve different purposes. For example, there can be a patio designated for outdoor dining, and another dedicated for outdoor living. Connect them with walkways and creative landscaping to make your backyard truly unique.
Allow for Extra Room
If you’re designing a stamped concrete patio for outdoor dining, make sure to leave enough room for people to walk around tables and in between patio furniture. The patio needs adequate space for foot traffic in order to facilitate movement and socializing.
Consider Exposure to Sun and Shade
Where does the sun fall on your yard at different times of day? What parts of the yard get the most shade, and when are they shady? Remember that the locations of sun and shade will be different in the summer, when your patio is likely to get the most use. Find a location with the right balance of the two. You don’t want people in the patio to be blinded by the setting sun, but you also might not want an overly shady spot.
You’ll want a nice view from your outdoor patio, so keep this in mind when choosing the location of the patio. A patio right in back of the house effectively eliminates a large portion of the field of view. Setting the patio away from the house gives you a wider angle view to work with.
To learn more about stamped concrete, contact Marrocco’s today! Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete is a professional stamped concrete contractor who has been helping homeowners and business owners with their hardscaping needs for more than 20 years. Follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well!