How to Stamp Concrete

Stamped Concrete Basic Instructions

Planning and Preparation, The planning and preparation for placing and finishing textured concrete should take virtually everything into account such as: form work, sub-grade materials, concrete mix design, placing methods, obstacles, color base and release color, finishing accessibility, texturing tool layout, drains and locations of specialty features, manpower and weather. Form work should always take into account the modular unit of the desired textured pattern. With the layout of tile, brick, and slate patterns extra attention should be paid to squareness and modular sizing. A minimum of 1/4″ per foot slope should be allowed for drainage.

Sub-grade should be damp and consistent for placing a minimum 3 ½” thick slab. Thin spots will setup faster, thicker ones slower, this can also be planned.

Concrete mix design, 3/8″ maximum aggregate size ,minimum 2000 psi @ 28 days. Do not use calcium chloride additives. A reliable Redi-mix concrete company will be able to supply this mix. During hot weather conditions the use of water reducing and retardant additives in the mix is recommended.

Obstacles or any adjacent walls and flat work must be protected from concrete, color and colored release with a clear 2 mil visqueen available from your tool rental supplier.

Placing Methods will vary with every job, whether you use a pump, wheelbarrow, or chutes start with a slump of no more than 5″. Place approximately 1/3 of the truck load, add water, and place another 1/3 of the truck load, add water, and place the balance of the truckload. Always place the concrete and add water in the same direction as you plan on moving the rows of tools. This method of placement helps to insure the proper timing element for Texturing.

Color and coloring, The two basic methods of coloring concrete for the base color currently available are integral color and dust-on color. Intregal color is a coloring placed in the concrete mix by your concrete company. Dust-on color is applied during the finishing process. Depending on the color desired it is recommended that dust-on coloring be used for all concrete texturing applications. Both types of coloring are available from your textured tool rental supplier .

Finishing of the slab should be done in the most efficient manner possible using rounded cornered fresno’s and trowels. Always properly float and work the slab to prevent surface checking and crusting. It is important to insure that the thickness of the slab sets-up evenly .

Colored Release should be applied as soon as the finishing process has been completed. Dust – on the colored release as evenly as possible always fluffing the material in the bucket with your hand prior to throwing it onto the slab. Colored release is available from your textured tool rental supplier .

Texturing tools should be placed in rows starting in the area of the slab that was the first to be poured or has set up the fastest. Every texturing pattern has its own characteristics on the directions and movement of the rows of tools. With random and some tile patterns it is recommended that the individual tools be rotated as they are placed into rows. The layout and shape of the texturing tool will determine if it should be rotated. After a row of texturing tools is in place it must be pounded into the slab to produce the desired impression, be careful to pound lightly in soft areas. Pound the tools as evenly and consistently as possible.
Tinkering is impressing and scoring any area of the slab that cannot be covered by the standard texturing tool such as edges against walls. First apply and impress a flexible 20″ x 20″ stone or slate texturing tool. Next using a 4″ or 12″ hand chisel approximate the patterned scoring you are matching being careful to hammer the chisel lightly to the same depth as the texturing tools scoring. Use a string line for tile patterns by snapping it onto the surface then follow the line to keep your tinkering straight. A string line snapped onto the surface is also used for the initial layout of all tiled patterns.
Clean-up and sealing, The initial clean-up should be done the day you pour, clean all the adjacent areas with water and a scrub brush . Three to five days after installing the textured concrete it must be pressure washed with a minimum 2000 PSI pressure washer. After pressure washing, do any necessary touch-up or chip repair and seal with an acrylic exterior concrete sealer.