| Stamped Concrete Finishes

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Tamped finishes can bring interesting texture to ordinary concrete sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Stamping mats are available in a variety of textures and patterns, and they can be rented at most equipment rental centers and concrete supply stores.

As you plan your concrete project, also plan the layout of the stamping mats to help maintain a consistent pattern across the project. For best results, mark a reference line at or near the center of the project and align the first mat with it. Align the subsequent mats with the first, working outward toward the ends of the project. Plan for long seams to fall across the project rather than along the length of it to avoid misaligned seams. You may have to hand-finish textures at corners, along sides, or near other obstructions using specialty stamps or an aluminum chisel.

The stamping pads should be pressed into slightly stiff concrete to a depth of about one inch. Professionals typically use enough pads to cover the entire project area. For DIYers, it probably makes more sense to have one or two pads and reuse them.

Stamping mats can be pressed onto fresh concrete, as with the professional-grade mats in the larger photo above (these are fairly expensive). DIY-oriented stamping mats are cheaper but offer fewer options. The DIY mats are usually open grids, so they can be used as either stamp pads or molds.

Tools & Materials ►

Tools for mixing and  Textured stamping  Materials for mixing,  Pressure washer

Pouring concrete  mats  pouring, and  Powder release agent

Hand tamp  Aluminum chisel  coloring concrete  Work gloves

Stamped concrete can emulate the appearance of expensive imported stones or just about any other paver, but at a much lower cost.

 

Pour a concrete slab and mark a reference line for the first mat at or near the center of the form. When the bleed water disappears from the surface, toss pcwder release agent across the surface in the amount specified in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Align the first stamping mat with the reference line on the form, following your layout plan. Once the mat is placed, do not adjust it. Carefully step onto the mat or use a hand tamp to embed the stamp into the concrete.

 

Butt the second pad against the first, so the seams are flush and aligned. Embed the mat into the concrete, and then place a third mat, maintaining the continuous pattern. Remove and reuse mats. When the project area is wider than the stamping pads, complete rows across the width before stamping lengthwise.

After the concrete has cured for three days, remove leftover release agent from the surface using a pressure washer with a wide-fan spray—work in smooth, even strokes no more than 24" from the surface. Allow the concrete to cure fully for an additional week, and then apply an acrylic concrete sealer according the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the forms and backfill.

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