Stamped Concrete Projects: Do-It-Yourself or Not?
Is a stamped concrete project a good DIY project, or is it better to leave the project to experienced professionals? Most experts warn that installing stamped concrete is not a good project to try yourself, and that it is prudent to let a contractor carry out the job.
Reasons why you Should Hire a Contractor
Even if you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, this particular job creates too many opportunities to make costly mistakes. For instance, one reason you should hire a contractor for this job is that you only get one chance to pour the concrete and get it the way you want. Concrete does not leave much room for changes once it goes down, and it can be expensive to replace. Also, the time you will have to invest in the project is enormous.
Concrete can't be taken apart and reassembled if you make an error, and you can't complete part of it and then come back to it at a later time.
In addition, the curing, cleaning, and sealing process can cause more problems than the actual pouring of concrete. There are many videos and articles online that show you how to install stamped concrete - but don't be fooled by how easy they make the process look. Actually doing the project is very different, no matter how easy that online video tutorial makes it seem.
Placing concrete down is the main reason you should leave this job to the professionals. Placing concrete is a skill that takes many years to acquire. One issue with putting down concrete is the formation of puddles or standing water called "bird baths." This occurs when the concrete is put down without the right slope. With concrete this type of mistake is permanent and difficult to repair.
Another issue is that concrete is extremely heavy. At home without the right equipment you will have to use a wheelbarrow to move the concrete. If you have to hire someone to do this step for you, the costs can add up quickly.
The Pros Have Years of Experience
Don't forget that a knowledge of concrete design is also important in the installation process. Most homeowners don't understand mix designs, concrete admixtures, slump, air entrainment, and the right curing techniques. Modern-day concrete is different from the past, containing more sand, stone, cement, and water. Other factors have to be taken into consideration when pouring concrete, such as the environmental conditions of the day of the job, as well as the future weather conditions the concrete will experience after you have installed it.
Concrete placement is also tricky. Placing and finishing concrete is not an easy job, and it takes an artistic eye to get it right. The professionals spend years just learning the basics, and many more perfecting their skills.
What about stamping? This is another part of the job that requires great technique and skill, and takes years of experience to learn. Improperly installed concrete can fail within the first few years following an installation. Knowing the ratio of water to cement the surface needs to take on a specific color, for example, is not something the average homeowner is able to figure out within the span of a few days.