It’s spring, which means that more people than ever are starting to investigate the upgrades they can make to the exterior of their homes. Some are looking into stamped concrete patios. Others are interesting driveway paving that looks amazing. And because they’ve just decided to look into home improvements, they might be new to the world of stamped and stained concrete and the advantages it has over other forms of leveling your pathways.

Sure, we’ve been working in stamped concrete for years, but the term might be completely new to some in Baltimore who aren’t familiar with how this type of concrete works. Let’s take a look at how stamped concrete is poured, colored, and formed.

It Starts Out Simple Enough

Whether you’re getting a nice stamped concrete driveway or a boring old gray one, they both start out the same way. Depending on the job at hand, we’ll put up the forms (framing that contains the concrete) and put in rebar or other reinforcement. Then we’ll pour the concrete and use a variety of tools to smooth it, such as trowels, floating blades, and trowel blades. We need to make sure that all of the aggregate isn’t showing and that the surface is smooth. That’s when it’s time for…

Coloring the Concrete

You might think that the color of the finished concrete is mixed in before the concrete is poured. Nope! Doing so would make the concrete a uniform color, which isn’t what we’re looking for in most instances.

What we are looking for is variation in the surface of the concrete so that it look more like natural stone. That means adding a dusty chemical that we put on top of the concrete when it’s still wet. Applying it evenly would cause everything to appear too uniform, and therefore fake. Instead, we apply it randomly by tossing it onto the top of the concrete. This powder chemically bonds with and stains the wet concrete; sometimes we add more than one color in order to achieve the desired look of stone. This allows natural patterns to form, which look even better when it comes to …

Using the Concrete Stamps

What’s the most important part of stamped concrete? The stamps, of course! With the concrete still wet, we lay down a grid of mats on the concrete. While the tops might be smooth, the undersides are dappled so that there are variances in the depth of the stamps. This creates the stonelike look that stamped concrete has. But right now it looks kind of ugly, until you get to the…

Washing

If you’re home when we perform your stamped concrete project, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be a bit disappointed when the concrete stamps come off. It doesn’t look nearly as good as you thought it was going to! Just wait. Once the concrete dries and we wash it off, that’s when the real beauty of stamped concrete  shows. We’ll bring out the hose and wow you.

There you have it, the four basic parts of creating a stamped concrete patio or driveway. Now it’s not always exactly the same, depending on the stamped use. Stamped concrete pads that make concrete look like bricks will be somewhat different, particularly in the coloring stage. Other stamps, like those that look like pavers, will require other forms of care. Don’t worry, we know how to get the look you want.

But besides the cool look, what are the advantages? We’ll take a look at that in our next blog. Until then, here’s how to contact us.