Concrete Stamping 101: The Basics

Concrete stamping is the process by which a standard concrete surface is given a unique and visually appealing texture. It can help to spice up any concrete surface, from a walkway outside of a home to a wall or counter space inside of a house as well. Concrete stamping is a relatively straightforward process and is one that can be done at home, but you'll need to have a bit of knowledge about the procedure before you can go about stamping your concrete. Read on to learn about some of the basic guidelines to stamping concrete for your home project.

Release Agents

The stamping process is done with mats that are attached to the wet concrete to produce the desired texture. However, as you might expect, mats that are left on the concrete while it hardens will normally be attached to the concrete. This can make them impossible to remove without either damaging the mat or causing damage to the concrete and the texture. Therefore, concrete stampers use special chemicals called release agents to help remove the mats.

Release agents are placed on the surface of the concrete where it will contact the stamping mats. As the concrete dries, the release agent helps to prevent the concrete from fusing to the mat. This makes it much easier to lift the mat up and off of the concrete surface when the concrete has fully hardened. Release agents come in multiple colors, so you should be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of concrete that you're using.

Timing of the Stamping

One of the most important things that many novice concrete stampers neglect or perform incorrectly is the timing of the stamping. There is a very particular time in which the concrete stamp can be used. If the concrete is too runny, it will not properly support the stamp. If it's already set and is too hard, you won't be able to add a stamped texture to it. Therefore, it's important that you work quickly after you've poured the concrete in order to lay the stamp mats. Most people recommend pouring and stamping the concrete in smaller sections rather than trying to pour out the entire concrete section at once.

Stamp Varieties

There are a number of different types of stamp designs from which you can choose. They range from finely carved and intricate patterns to textural washes that will provide a unique broad appearance to the concrete. To find the stamp that works best for your needs, you should spend some time experimenting with small test batches of concrete. Stamp each one with a different stamp until you've determined which of the stamps comes out looking the cleanest and the best for the look that you desire.

Concrete stamping mats, release agents and other materials discussed in this article are available at most home improvement and hardware stores near you.