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​Stamped Concrete FAQ

What is stamped concrete? 

Stamped concrete, often called textured or imprinted concrete, is concrete that replicates stones such as slate and flagstone, tile, brick and even wood. Ideal for beautifying pool decks, driveways, entries, courtyards, and patios, stamped concrete is the perfect outdoor paving choice.  

How many types of stamps are there? 

100’s of patterns: slate, stone, tile, cobblestone, brick, and even wood. Several sizes, shapes, and textures allow for an almost endless selection of tools; seamless patterns also allow for specialty saw cuts and border tools can be used to add contrast.

What type of sub-grade should the stamped concrete be placed?

The sub-grade should be both well compacted and well drained prior to pouring. This ensures that the pour will be even in depth. This will also help ensure even set times for imprinting. A crushed stone base works well.

What type of reinforcement should be used?

Use what is designed for your project. We feel that rebar is a much better option than wire mesh and should be chaired up to the proper depth in your pour. The use of fiber mesh will be a benefit to stamped concrete as a secondary reinforcement only.

Will stamped concrete crack?

Yes, stamped concrete is no different than normal concrete. Remember to provide proper joint spacing. If saw cuts are used, cut ¼ of slab thickness and within 24 hours of placement. Border tools can be used to ‘hide’ cuts and tooled joints. The use of fiber mesh can also help in crack control.

How does stamped concrete fare in the the winter?
Even the coldest winters do not pose a problem. Canada is home to a significant percentage of the world's stamped concrete installations.

Is stamped concrete slippery when wet?
In the process of applying the sealer to the concrete, we add a non-slip additive directly to the can of sealer. This product stays suspended in the sealer and then is rolled on the concrete. The anti-skid product does not alter the beauty of the finished product and is highly effective in eliminating slipperiness. This is the standard process for all of our exterior applications.

Coloring of stamped concrete-how is it done and what are the methods?

Several methods can be used.

• Integral color - This method comes in either powder or liquid and is added to the concrete truck prior to pouring. A predetermined amount is added to each cubic yard of concrete to provide color throughout the mix.

• Color hardener - This method is broadcast over the surface of the concrete then troweled in. By doing this the surface PSI is increased. This method makes it easy to apply one or more colors. 

• Acid or water-based stains – These are topical color applications applied to existing concrete slabs. They are typically sprayed on to the surface, but some products can be brushed, rolled or sponged.

I see some jobs with many color schemes how is this done?

Again, several methods can be used. Two of the more effective methods we have found are use of two or more colors of release powder, (this can be achieved by both liquid and dry applications) and the use of two or more color hardeners.

• Water based stains and acid stains may also be used according to manufacturer’s directions.

• Each project is different; please work closely with all involved so that expectations are reasonable and obtainable.

Should stamped concrete be sealed?

Yes, sealing allows for easier cleaning of the concrete and it will provide increased protection when the concrete is exposed to freeze-thaw cycles. It also provides a thin film which can protect from oil & grease and greatly reduce pop outs and scaling.

Is sealer permanent?

No, concrete will need to be resealed. Weather, traffic and other elements the slab is exposed to will determine how often you should reseal.

Which sealer is the best?

The intended use will determine the best sealer for the job. We offer several water-based, solvent based, epoxy and poly-urethanes. It is important that each project be evaluated individually for the best sealer for the job. 

What kind of maintenance is necessary?
We recommend that stamped concrete is re-sealed every 3-5 years. You can easily do this yourself, or we can provide the service for you. The process is simple:

Wash the area, remove all dirt. You can do this with a power washer or hose and a stiff bristle broom with dish soap
Once the area is totally dry, (typically a few hours) add the anti-skid additive to the sealer and roll on with a paint roller. That's all.

Should we try to match the color with the house?
This is a personal preference. We highly recommend using earth tone colors. Don't loose focus of the goal; "Create the natural look of brick, stone, slate or wood." Some people have a red door and want the patio to match. They also want a slate pattern. The problem is that slate is not red. Therefore, no matter what we do the patio looks bad and the red gets older after a few months. If it is a slate pattern, do you want gray, tan or brown? Or a mix of all three? A mix of all 3 looks the best and most natural

What is the most popular pattern?

Slate patterns are by far the most popular patter for patios. Over 95% of our patio installations are slate patterns. Why? Several reasons:

  •    Extremely realistic. Using multiple coloring effects, great realism is achieved.
  •    Shallow pattern. The impressions are mild. With this pattern you do not have to worry about the table wobbling.
  •    The natural colors of slate are earth tones and usually go with any house.
  •    Not a busy pattern that you will get tired of. We have 2 different size slate patterns based on your liking and to fit the appropriate size patio.

I do not want a square patio. Is it going to cost more?
No. The shape of the patio will not affect the price. We take pride in smooth rounded curves. Finishing Edge, Inc. has the best forming material using plastic forms and composite wood that flexes for smooth curves.

How thick is the concrete?
For residential work, typical patio or sidewalk is 4". For driveway, 6" is recommended.

How deep do you dig?
The stone base should be the same thickness as the concrete. So a patio will have 4" concrete and 4" of stone base for a total of 8". 

Do I need a permit for a concrete patio?
Depends on where you live. We suggest you call your township, city or municipality to be sure. Obtaining a permit is the responsibility of the homeowner, unless made part of your contract.

How will water flow off the concrete?
The stamped concrete will have a minimum pitch of ¼" per ft.. You will never feel this when walking on it, however it is essential.

How many steps will I need?
Measure from the door to the desired patio height (usually 2" - 6" below siding level). Divide by 6" (each step riser) each step tread should be 12" deep. You can eliminate a step by not having a landing the same height as the door. Refer to our design page for more detailed information.

Once the patio is poured, how long should I stay off?
Keep off the patio until the day after it has been sealed. Once the pad is poured there are still several steps that need to be taken. During these steps the pad must stay clean and free of footprints.

What is a good size patio?
Every family's needs will differ. The average size patio is 700 sq. feet. The size of the patio should stay proportionate to the size of the house.

When is the best time to install a stamped concrete patio?
Temperatures should be above freezing.

We just had a house built, I am tired of the mud, can we install now?
Let the ground settle for a minimum of 3 months from the time they back-filled the foundation. However now may be the time to schedule the job.

​Can I use salt in the winter?
No! No! No! That is like Kryptonite to Superman. Use sand only. Remove snow with a plastic shovel or snow blower that does not have metal blades. Never use an ice pick to chip away ice.

Business Office:  1800 Brentwood Muscle Shoals AL 35661 US             256.272.3213          7706870497

Warehouse:  10301 County Road 51     Lexington, AL

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