It’s important to know there are three types of stamped concrete surfaces you can choose to enhance the look of your otherwise dull concrete surfaces at your home.
Probably, the oldest form of stamping of concrete is accomplished by using a metal or vinyl stamping tools to imprint on freshly poured concrete slabs. Various methods use upright, stand behind tools that is pushed into the wet surface to achieve the desired finish. Most recently, imprinting fresh concrete can be done with vinyl “skins” that are laid over the concrete and pressed with heavy rolling tools or by walking on the stamps.
Either method can achieve a variety of finishes to your new concrete surfaces, pool deck repairs or patio coatings.
The advantages of this option allows for a permanent pattern that will last as long as your concrete. (Maybe forever!)
The downside is that the colors used to enhance the look of your concrete surface may not last forever and recoloring may never restore it’s original rich look and luster finish. Also, if the concrete cracks or becomes damaged the beautiful finish becomes marred and the repairs may prove inadequate.
In many cases, a concrete slab is already installed and the extra cost to break it out and remove it makes the project too expensive.
An alternative is to “overlay” the existing concrete surface with a thin layer of modified concrete coating, where a similar stamped concrete process is achievable. Though the coating is thinner than concrete (about ¼ to ½ inch in thickness) there are special stamping tools to achieve very similar finishes to the full concrete stamping process.
The additional advantage of this option allows for more variety than typically can be achieved with the full process of stamping four inches of concrete.
The downside of this option is that it will likely not last as long as your concrete will. There is a big risk that the overlaid coating might become delaminated from your original concrete surface. Patching a stamped overlay can also prove to be unsuccessful in restoring the original beauty you should expect.
Additionally, the colors often fade and become quite unsightly, revealing a most unbecoming look for your concrete surfaces.
Lastly, a system often mistaken for stamped concrete is also a concrete overlay, however, this system is merely about 1/8 inch in thickness. Many applicators of thin overlay coatings use stencils, resembling the finishes acquired with a stamped overly system.
Other applicators don’t use stamps or stencils but instead create pattern and texture strictly by the skilled use of their trowels. This option is less common because there are fewer skilled applicators in this trade.
Many installers and applicators are successful in creating a variety of beautiful finishes, however, few there are that can recreate the rich and vibrant look of natural stone.
Those that can create a natural looking stone finish on a concrete coating are in high demand by the homeowner or designer who are seeking the durability of concrete than can take on the look of natural flagstone or travertine tile.
This third option, using thin concrete coating overlays, has an infinite variety of textures and finishes possible for concrete surfaces in your backyard, including patios, pool deck and sidewalks.
Your plain concrete surfaces are a veritable blank canvas for the artisan and craftsman capable of creating beautiful, natural looking stone finishes.
The skilled craftsmen choose the very best materials for which they use to create their masterpiece concrete coatings. Rest assured that such an artisan in his craft would not use substandard materials that would not endure the use for which it was intended.
Whatever you choose to beautify your backyard resort, whether Stamped Concrete, Stamped overlay or thin trowelled overlay concrete coatings, be sure to select your applicator or installer with care.
Be sure to asked these tree questions of every one you interview:
- How much experience to they have?
- What is the Warranty? and
- What is the maintenance required to keep your concrete coatings beautiful
Best wishes on your Home resort projects.