Concrete provides a sturdy surface for patios. When you think of concrete patios from your childhood, you probably remember the boring off-white surfaces. Today, however, concrete patios can be custom stamped to resemble any number of other materials, including wood and flagstone. Here are the basic installation steps for forming and stamping a custom concrete patio.
Pouring the Concrete
Before the concrete can be poured, the form needs to be constructed. This is typically done by configuring wood into a rectangular or square shape to act as a barrier to contain the concrete of the patio. Rebar and wire mesh will need to be installed to provide sturdiness to the concrete. Lasers are used to ensure that the concrete patio will be level when it's poured. Pouring the concrete is tedious work as it needs to be smoothed over several times until the surface is correct.
Broadcasting the Color Hardener
Concrete hardening begins when a hardener is applied to the surface of the concrete. The hardener is a blend of sand and Portland cement. For custom concrete that will be colored, the hardener is mixed with pigment to achieve the desired color. This mixture of sand, Portland cement, and pigment is broadcasted over the concrete patio. Broadcasted is an industry term used to describe the act of throwing or tossing powdery mixtures such as a pigmented hardener. Once the surface is evenly covered by the colored hardener, the surface will be troweled to incorporate the pigment into the patio and to further smooth the surface.
Stamping the Concrete
The next step in installing a customized stamped concrete patio is to actually stamp the patio with tools that are designed to give the homeowner the look they want. As stated earlier, stamps can make the concrete look like popular materials like wood and flagstone. Depending on the type of stamps being used and the look the homeowner is going for, the patio can be further customized by using a combination of different stamps for a unique look. After the concrete has been stamped and has had a chance to harden, the surface will be washed of any residue and then sealed. Depending on the type of pigments and stamps used, this may involve acid washing the surface to achieve a certain overall look, such as a weathered appearance of an old wooden deck.
If you are interested in custom stamped concrete installation, speak with a concrete contractor in your area for more information.