Homeowners add a decorative touch to concrete patios, sidewalks, garden stepping stones, walkways and driveways by stamping designs into the concrete-mix. Concrete stamping tools leave an imprinted design on the concrete-mix that resemble cobblestone, brick, leaves or a fun and funky pattern. The choice in design is yours. Stamped concrete-mix transforms a dull and boring flat surface into an interesting space. The small decorating touches go a long way when trying to improve curb appeal. Some homeowners create stamped patterns in the concrete-mix to blend in with the surroundings, while others create bold designs that will stand out.
Concrete stamps come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to allow you to create your own unique design. Adding dye to adds dimension to the imprinted design. Dyeing concrete-mix also adds much to the visual appeal of the outside of the home. You may also decide to create an imprinted mural with the concrete-mix stamps or you can get creative and make your own concrete stamps. Designing a large pattern allows you to also vary the color in concrete-mix. You may decide to begin the concrete with navy blue and graduate the color to a light blue and finally a fade to green. The navy blue may have a celestial imprint while the green section may have paw prints, animals or lizard prints. An imprinted concrete design doesn’t have to just be a series of squares or rectangles, it can be much, much more.
Prepare for a Pour
Drive stakes into the ground marking the area where your new patio, driveway, walkway or sidewalk will be.
Tie a string from stake to stake to mark out the entire area.
Dig the ground out with a shovel 8 inches deep using the string as a guide.
Tamp the base of the excavation with a hand tamper or you can rent a vibrating plate compactor to flatten and compact the base.
Add 3 inches of crushed stone to base of the hole.
Set up wood forms to hold the concrete-mix where you want it to stay.
Lay wire mesh over the top of the crushed stone.
Call a company to schedule a pour. If you want color added to the concrete, tell the concrete-mix company what color you want. If you want several colors to graduate one to the next, you will probably be better off choosing a color changing option such as concrete stain to make the colors of your dreams a reality.
Let the concrete-mix begin to set somewhat. As soon as you no longer see the shiny moisture on top of the concrete-mix your concrete is ready for stamping. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more depending on the outside temperature and humidity.
You have several options which are used to create a design in the wet concrete-mix. Some stampers are large metal plates with upright handles, some imprinters come as a weighted roller with a pattern extending from the roller surface. Other concrete stamps look like a large m
at with a raised pattern. Some homeowners use other items that have a pattern they wish to imprint such as tins and cake pans or some may forge their own shapes and designs from metal. Typically tins and pans are best for small projects such as garden stepping stones or a short walkway rather than larger projects such as driveways and patios.
If your concrete stamp in a large metal plate with upright handles – grip each handle, lift the stamper and place it on the wet concrete surface. Press the stamper into the concrete ½ to 1 inch. Some of these types of stamps have a place that you can stand on to use your weight to sink the stamp into the concrete. Lift the stamp by the handles and place it next to the first pattern and sink it into the concrete. Continue to lift the stamp, place it and sink it into the concrete until you have stamped all of the concrete surface.
If you are using a large weighted roller -- roll the weighted roller in one continuous forward motion following a straight line until you reach the end Obviously you cannot walk behind the roller, so you will need to push it from the side. When you reach the end of the concrete, lift the roller off the wet surface and bring it back to the end you started at and roll a second line. Imprinting rollers are best used on surfaces that you can reach without walking on the wet surface.
If you are using an imprinting mat, place the imprinting mat on the wet aspect – ask a friend or helper to grab one side while you hold the other to place the mat rather than toss it and drag it for correct placement. Tap the mat with a handheld tamper over the entire mat’s surface to press the design into the concrete. Lift the mat and move it next to the first imprinted area, tap the mat into the concrete. Continue to place the mat, tap it with a tamper and lift until you imprinted the entire concrete surface.
If you are use small handheld stamping tools – place the cake pan, cookie cutter, tin or other object on the wet concrete and press it ½ to 1 inch into the surface. Pick up the stamp and place it where you want to stamp your next design. Handheld stamping tools are best used for small surfaces such as garden stepping stones, corner accents or to create visually appealing borders
Always wear gloves and rubber boots when stamping.
Try stamping with metal cookie cutters or odd shaped cake pans when creating free form designs.
If you are stamping a large area, ask the delivery company to pour in sections to avoid ruining the concrete by stepping on it. You will probably have to pay extra for waiting time.
Imprint or stamp concrete only as far as you can reach without stepping on the wet surface.