Concrete Stamping a Patio Concrete Stamping a Patio

Concrete stamping is the process that modifies the top surface of a concrete pour, to imitate another material (brick, natural stone, slate, tile, etc.). This decorative technique allows you to enjoy the look of an expensive finish, with the affordability and durability of concrete. A patio is the perfect do-it-yourself area to learn the concrete stamping skill.

Tools Required

  • Tape measure
  • Chalk Line
  • Laser level
  • Spray Paint - 1 can
  • Forming material (2x4's, nails, hammer, wood stakes, form release agent)
  • Stone
  • Plastic tarps
  • Masking tape
  • Concrete
  • Wire mesh
  • Concrete vibrator (juker)
  • Fresno Trowel
  • Brooms
  • Bull Float
  • Hand-held trowels
  • Edging tools
  • Brick joint tool
  • Decorative Concrete Stamping Mats (including touch-up mats)
  • Pounders (for mats)
  • Color Hardener
  • Stamp Release Agent

Step 1 - Design and Form Patio

Plan your patio around the design you have chosen. Design the layout of the patio such that there will be minimal touch-up required. Do a mock layout of your patio design, marking the outline with spray paint. This will insure that your measurements fit the stamping mats. Excavate the area (allowing for 3/4 inch for stone, and thickness of concrete) and form the patio area for your concrete stamping project, using the tape measure and forming materials. Check your measurements again, using the stamping mats. This will avoid any errors in the form process. Make adjustments as necessary.

Step 2 - Prepare for Concrete

Using the laser level, check the grade elevation of the excavated and formed area. Lay drainage stone according to local requirements. Check the grade elevation of the drainage stone, using the laser level. Make adjustments as required. Lay the wire mesh (this strengthens the pour). Protect the side of your house, any foliage and anything else in the vicinity of the pour that would be ruined by concrete, with tarps and masking tape. Make final measurements, to ascertain quantity of concrete required:

Length x Width x Depth = cubic feet of concrete required

Step 3 - Pour Concrete

If this is a small enough job, you can easily mix your own concrete using ready mix cement (Type I, II or V - 3,000 psi minimum strength). Be sure to use gravel that is smaller that 3/8 inch, so it does not impede the stamping process. Alternatively, purchase your concrete from a batch plant, being certain to specify 3,000 psi, less than 3/8 inch aggregate, with a 4 inch slump. Using the concrete vibrator, make sure that all corners are filled and that there are no air bubbles in the pour. Finish the top of the pour with a bull float, for a smooth finish for your concrete stamping.

Step 4 - Broadcast Color Hardener

Once the initial water has evaporated from the surface of your pour, broadcast (spread) approximately 70 percent of the color hardener onto the surface. Using the Fresno trowel, work the color hardener into the surface of the pour. With the remaining color hardener, fill in any missed areas, or spots where the color is thin. Float the pour again, at 90 degrees to the first float.

Step 5 - Broadcast Form Release Agent/Stamp

Once the concrete has attained preliminary cure (you should be able to step on the pour without sinking in), begin the stamping process. Working 3 stamp rows at a time, broadcast the form release agent (this allows the stamp mats to release easily from the concrete). Being certain that the stamp mat is straight, place it facedown on the concrete. Connect as the pattern layout designates. With the pounder, press the mat into the concrete. Once the entire section has been pounded, very carefully, pull the stamping mats up by the handles (it is essential that you pull them straight up). Continue this process, 3 rows at a time, until the entire area is finished.

Step 6 - Cleanup and Finish

Clean all mats and tools thoroughly after use. Allow the concrete to cure for 24 hours. With a garden hose (do NOT pressure wash), clean any release agent left on the patio. If necessary, simulate expansion and construction joints with saw cuts.

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