Every trade has its specialty tools, and creating stamped concrete is no different. Whether we’re at your house creating a stamped concrete driveway or at your place of business making a stamped concrete patio on which your customers can dine, we’ll be showing up with quite a few tools in order to make your project look as nice as it possibly can. Let’s take a look at some of the most common instruments we’ll be using.
We’re there to pour concrete, so we’d better bring what we need to make it, right? If you didn’t read this blog, you might need to be reminded that concrete is a mixture of three basic parts: aggregate (usually coarse rocks and sand), cement (the binding agent), and water (to make the cement wet and start the chemical process).
Depending on the size of the project, there are various sizes of mixers that might show up for your stamped concrete job. For large projects, you’ll probably see the cement truck with the rotating drum (though in reality it should probably be called a concrete truck or concrete mixer, knowing what we know from the last paragraph). For smaller jobs, a standard cement mixer (again, concrete mixer) that runs on gasoline or electric power can be used.
While concrete can be mixed with a wheelbarrow and a shovel, the most efficient way to mix all of the ingredients is with a rotating machine. After all, you want the concrete to be as well mixed as possible so that there aren’t any areas that are too wet or too dry.
We hope you’ll forgive us if the clothes we show up in have some sort of wear. After all, concrete is difficult to get off of work clothes, and wearing brand new clothes for every job would just be wasteful.
In additional to work clothes, we’ll also be wearing work boots. Work boots are easier to wash off, and they protect our skin from getting soaked in wet cement. We’ll also have rubber gloves for the same reason, because our hands get enough wear and tear without having to wash them every time we get a bit of cement on them. There will also be times when it’s a good idea to wear eye protection. We probably won’t need hard hats for most residential stamped concrete sites, though we might during new home construction depending on the work going on around us by other contractors.
The ground on the which the concrete is going to be poured has to be level, as does any sub-base layer or rock that it will rest upon. That’s where plate compactors come in, vibrating and compacting the ground in order to make sure that the ground doesn’t contain any small sinkholes that could lead to premature cracking as the ground gives way underneath the finished concrete.
Pour concrete on the ground and where is it going to go? Everywhere! That’s why it needs limitations based on the project at hand. We’ll put up forms, which are barriers into which the concrete is poured. The good thing is that your patio, driveway, or walkway doesn’t have to be straight, as we have curved forms that can give you the shape you’re interested in.
Tape Measures and Levels
Of course, you want us to make sure that everything we pour is the proper dimension, so we’ll always be sure to get the proper measurements when we set up the forms. You’ll also want everything to be level where it should be, taking into account any necessary curves for proper water runoff.
Usually you don’t want to see the aggregate in a stamped concrete driveway or patio. (The exception would be if the style you choose includes exposed aggregate, which can be incredibly beautiful). In order to get the aggregate hidden beneath the surface, tampers physically press it beneath the wet surface of the concrete.
Floats and Trowels
Once the proper amount of concrete has been poured and any excess has been removed, it’s time for the floats. While stamped concrete won’t be completely smooth like a traditional concrete surface, it’s still important to get it smooth before the stamping starts. Floats are the long-handled smoothers that are used to make the concrete as smooth as possible. Trowels are used in smaller areas or for touch-up work.
The fun has to stop somewhere, and that’s at the edge! There are going to be rough parts that don’t look very good and could scrape your ankle once the concrete dries and the forms are removed. Edgers will round off the edges so that they’re safer and more aesthetically pleasing.
Not every stamped concrete project has to have a coloring agent added. If you like the look of plain gray concrete, no problem! But many people like the dappled effect that gives a concrete project a more realistic stone appearance.
Concrete can be stained at various stages, and one of the most common with stamped concrete is to apply the powdered stain when the concrete is wet. This powder gets wet and becomes part of the concrete as it dries, so there’s no way that it can ever wash off. Of course, before the concrete dries it’s critical that we begin work with the…
If you get a traditional concrete driveway, stamps aren’t part of the equation. But we’re Marrocco’s Stamped Concrete, so it’s pretty obvious that we’ll be bringing the stamps!
Stamps are made from heavy rubber and are placed on top of the wet concrete in order to give it the look that you’ve chosen. In doing so the stamps are pressing some parts of the concrete down while allowing other parts to raise ever-so-slightly, giving the concrete the appearance of stone instead of a typical concrete slab. The stamps are then removed and the concrete is allowed to dry further.
When we first lift the slabs off, you might be a bit disappointed. Don’t worry; the dust that has formed on top of the concrete makes everything look the same boring gray. But that’s where the pressure washer comes in. Once the dust is washed away, you’re going to love the look of the concrete, because the coloring of it has finally been revealed.
When you hire Marrocco’s for your concrete project in Baltimore, we think you’ll be impressed with our efficiency…considering the amount of equipment we’ll be showing up with! But when we’re done, your property will look better than ever. If you’re ready to get the process started, contact us today!