The Flooring Architecture By Stampconcrete(NE)
Stamped Concrete is concrete that has a decorative impression stamped into the surface. This occurs when concrete is poured for a driveway, sidewalk, patio, pool deck, or entranceway, then before the concrete hardens, a lasting impression is stamped into the surface using rubber mat tools with a texture. The stamps are pressed into place with a tamper and rotated successively across the slab. Colors are applied either integrally with pigments added to the cement, or cast on the surface with color hardeners. An antiquing release agent (powder or liquid) is used to keep the tools from sticking to the concrete and also leaving the surface with a more defined look, including a noticable color contrast. This is all done before the concrete is fully hardened. Bordering and mixing patterns, acid etching, and staining also enhance the beauty of stamped concrete.
For many years stamped concrete was done with cookie cutter type tools, which are limited in beauty and not too authentic looking. But now, stamped concrete offers many authentic pattern choices such as brick, tile, slate, cobblestone, random and in-laid fieldstone patterns, and also wood plank patterns. Stamped concrete is always protected with a sealer to ensure years of beauty and service. Sealers can vary from a matt finish to a high gloss finish, with non-skid additives to help with skid resistance. Custom Colored Stamped Concrete has truly become an artistic expression of the designer and installer.
Grade and pitch is set with steel pins and laser. A chalk line will be snapped on the home foundation of the desired patio height. The number of desired steps is a determining factor of how low the slab is below the siding, brick, wood or stone on your home exterior. A typical slab will be pitched a minimum of ¼" per foot for proper water run off. The pattern will also affect how much the slab is pitched. Each pattern has different depth impressions, the deeper the pattern impression; the more the slab should be pitched to prevent standing water impressions. Also important to note, if you choose a pattern that has a running bond pattern (all "grout" lines running in the same direction) that the pattern runs in the direction of the pitch..
After the concrete has been placed, strike flat and bull floated the color hardener or "accent colors" is applied after access bleed water has evaporate. This is when the transformation begins to take place. This product is tossed on the wet surface and then bull floated into the concrete. The color hardener serves several function: first, the obvious, it colors the concrete. Second, it increases the surface strength and wear ability. The concrete is poured at using 3500# psi mix. The color hardener increases the surface strength to 6,000 psi. Third, it creates a smoother and tighter surface which allows for better visible detail when stamping. Fourth, because it densifies the surface, it drastically reduces the porosity of the concrete (keeps moisture out). In the northeast with the freeze/thaw cycles the denser the surface, the lower the risk of potential of damage.
After the color hardener has been applied and finished, powder release agent is applied prior to stamping. This product serves 2 functions 1) Keeps the mats from sticking to the concrete. 2) Implements another shade of color. This product is also referred to as "Antiquing Agent". Most of this color is washed off the following day. This product is designed to stay in the crevasses or low impressions. Often times this process can get the client extremely nervous. You may have wanted a tan or brown patio, but after the stamping process on Day 1, your patio is black! No worries, most of the black will be washed off. The tan is under the black.Now let's make this powdery mess look like something. Rubber mats are used to create the desired pattern. These mats are laid on the concrete in the "plastic" state (too soft and mats will sink, too hard you get no impression, "plastic" state perfect for stamping). Mats laid one next to each other and tamped with a hard rubber tamper to ensure good impressions. These mats also serve as walking planks for the installers so they can get to the middle of the patio. The process repeats until the entire area is covered.
Detail Crew arrives,Antiquing agent is blown off,Hand chisel work begins. In the stamping process, as stamps are pushed into the soft concrete it is common to get "spooge" between the stamps. For example, take 4 rocks and push into muddy ground. What happens? Muddy water squeezes up between them. In the stamped concrete industry this "muddy water" is called "spooge". This muddy water hardens when dry, well same as "spooge". The "spooge" is not a desired look in our opinion; we remove it with hand chisels. Believe it or not, there are some contractors that leave it in to save a few hours,Control joints are cut. Concrete pad must have control joints. These are saw cuts. When possible we try to put the cut in the pattern to camouflage it as much as possible. These cuts are placed in strategic areas where concrete has its best chance to crack. Pad and house are washed down,After pad has dried, the 3rd accent color is applied. If a 4th is desired, it must be applied after 3rd color has completely dried. These colors can be adjusted to your liking. If you do not like, we simply wash off and find what you like. With other contractors you do not have this flexibility. With most other contractors you will only get a 2 color pattern,Sealer is applied (may not be in consecutive days),Landscape Division either backfills or installs landscaping according to contract.
Please note: Job may not be done in 5 consecutive days. We never pour a pad if there is over a 50% chance of rain that day. Timeline subject to change based upon patio options selected for your individual project.