Stamped Concrete Coloring Options

What is color hardener?

Traditionally, the most popular coloring technique is to hand broadcast a color hardener onto the wet concrete and work it in with a trowel or float. Color hardener colors only the top surface layer. (This is different from integral colors, which come out of the truck already colored and are consistently colored throughout the concrete mix.) Color hardener tends to be more intense since it covers only the top layer of the concrete. One 60 lb pail of color hardener usually covers 80-100 square feet.

Due to color hardeners increasing the strength of the concrete, they are a better alternate to concrete subjected to freeze-thaw cycles and salts, as well as interior floors with lots of foot traffic. Protect any area around the color hardener when applying to avoid unwanted messes and stains.

What’s integral color?

Proline Powdered Integral Colors are packaged in 25-pound bags. Each color chip includes a name, color code, and dosage rate per yard of concrete. Integral Colors are used in ready mix, architectural pre-cast, cast-in-place, tilt up, ornamental concrete, shot-crete, mortar, pavers, roof tile, stucco, concrete masonry, retaining wall units, and other cement-based construction materials. These products are designed for mix-in use only and should not be sprinkled onto the surface of the concrete.

What’s acid stain?

Acid stain is a chemical reactive stain developed to permanently transform ordinary concrete surfaces into the beautiful, variegated look of polished stone, wood, tanned leather, and marble. These stains are made from a weak solution of acid and minerals that react with free lime available in the surface of fully cured concrete. The effect is a marbleized finish that uses imperfections in a concrete surface rather than cover them up. You can use our acid stain over our color hardeners and antique release agents for a dazzling combination of effects. One gallon will cover approximately 200 – 400 square feet at full strength or may be diluted 20:1 for lighter colors. Acid stain can be used on new or properly prepped old concrete to revitalize the surface. It can be applied vertically as well as horizontally.

What’s a water-based stain?

Water-based stains are eco-friendly. The water-based concrete stains are more of a coating that bond to the concrete rather than reacting to the concrete and changing the physical makeup of the concrete like an acid stain. Water-based stains are easier to clean up and are more user friendly.

We sell four different kinds of water-based stains.

EZ-Accent is a water-based acrylic stain that is formulated to accent any decorative concrete surface. It is translucent and designed to blend with the base color over which it is applied. It can be applied to flatwork, vertical surfaces and rockscapes. Colors can be mixed. This product comes already mixed and ready to use. The coverage rate is approximately 200 – 500 sf per gallon. Do not over apply this product which can be applied using a variety of techniques including pump sprayer, hand sprayer or rolling, brushing, sponging, and ragging. Water can be sprayed on during the application to blend colors and soften hard edges. This product is easy to clean up while wet with water but once it’s dried a chemical paint remover will be needed. This product is strongly recommended if user would like a natural looking rock or wood surface. Experiment with colors on all types of concrete stamped surface to achieve original and natural looking work. Don’t be afraid to use several different colors. This product should be applied before EZ-Tique if you are planning to use both products.

EZ-Tique is sold as a powder but is meant to be mixed with water and applied as a liquid antiquing wash. It can be used to revitalize an old concrete surface or add dimension to a freshly textured surface. It’s non-hazardous and water based. The most basic technique is to wet the concrete surface with water, then pour the EZ-Tique onto the surface and use a push broom to spread product around. Keep clean water on hand to add as needed to help the product spread evenly. This product can be cleaned up easily with water while wet. One 3 lb tub covers approximately 2000 – 3000 sf. The outcome will be color in the deeper areas of the stamp similar to the look achieved by using Antique Release. Be sure to seal this (as with all the color techniques) to ensure longer lasting color.

Smith’s Floor Color is a water-based acrylic stain developed to achieve a decorative natural appearance on concrete floors and other porous mediums. The stain adheres to a variety of surfaces including interior and exterior concrete, brick, plaster, and natural stone. It can also be applied to previously sealed concrete surfaces which allows the applicator to save time. Smith’s can be applied via an airbrush, a high-volume low-pressure sprayer, airless sprayer, production gun, pump sprayer, sea sponge, and transitional brittle brush. Best results are achieved when a mist is created. Smith’s comes as a liquid to be mixed at a ratio of 4 parts distilled water to 1 part concentrate or it can be diluted with more water if desired. The surface must be prepped and cleaned according to manufacturer’s specifications prior to application.

How can I revitalize the color of old, faded stamped concrete?

Use Proline EZ-Tique, EZ-Accent or Smith’s water-based color products. They are easy to use and will give your dull, lifeless concrete a punch of color. Keep in mind, you must have a porous surface before using any concrete coloring product otherwise the product will not stick.

What if I want to change ethe overall color of my concrete or match existing concrete to a new project?

Proline’s ProStain is their opaque water-based stain. Available in almost 40 colors, it is a high-quality stain made for use with existing unsealed interior or exterior concrete surfaces. It penetrates the surface of concrete and forms a breathable finish that can be sealed when dry. View Proline’s ProStain video.

Concrete Stamping

Do I need more than one stamp to effectively stamp concrete?

Stamping concrete usually requires multiple stamps. There are a few factors to consider when determining the number of stamps needed: The size of the space (and how much concrete can be stamped before it gets too hard), where you’ll walk while placing the pattern, and if multiple pieces are required to complete the pattern. We’ve listed the dimensions of our stamps online to assist in laying out projects. Concrete stamps are designed to be used in multiples. Seamless stamps overlap while patterned concrete stamps are placed next to each with no gaps in between. Generally, it’s recommended to have enough stamps to cover the width of the entire project, plus two.

What is a “package” of concrete stamps?

Our packages contain the minimum number of stamps and accessories recommended for each pattern. Normally, this includes six rigid stamps, one thin flex, two touch-up skins, and the recommended chisels and/or wheels that best fit the pattern.

Will the concrete stamps work for overlay as well as new concrete?

Yes, most of the concrete stamps we sell can be used for overlay. (If you are not sure what overlay is, keep reading and we go over it below.) The exception is with any of our stamps that are labeled “groutable” or have deeper grout lines because they might not be suitable for overlay. Please email or call with any questions regarding a specific stamp.

What is a Thin Flex concrete stamp?

A Thin Flex concrete stamp is a more flexible concrete stamp used for going up against a wall or pillar. It is thinner (25% thinner) and bends against structures more easily than a rigid concrete stamp. Each pattern offers a thin flex version of the concrete stamp. The handles are tabs instead of loops. It is less expensive because it is thinner.

Can I use a Thin Flex to stamp my entire stamp concrete project?

No, this is not recommended. Thin Flexes are too flexible and will catch edges more often than a rigid stamp.

I can’t get close enough to the wall with a stamp - what do I do?

Before coming in with the stamp, use a feathered edge seamless textured touch up skin (most are 20” x 20”) and lay texture along the wall. Then use the concrete stamp. If you still can’t get in close enough to the wall, use the recommended wheels or chisels for your pattern and hand tool the create the lines yourself.

What’s a Touch Up Skin?

A Touch Up Skin is a 20″ x 20″ feathered edge seamless skin. All of the patterns sold recommend a specific touch up skin be used. This skin is useful for edges, up against walls, and areas where you just need more texture.

What are the concrete stamps made from?

Our manufacturer, Proline Concrete Tools, hand creates each concrete stamp out of a special formula of polymer. This special formula allows for lighter, yet more durable stamps.

How do I care for my concrete stamps?

Clean your concrete stamps after use with a mild soap and soft brush. Proline’s Pro-Revive is a stamp conditioner that renews, restores, and extends the life of concrete stamps, texture mats, table molds, and other polyurethane surfaces. If the concrete stamps, texture mats, or table molds have dried cement on them, use Proline’s Dura-Etch or similar product to loosen and remove the dried cement. Surfaces should be clean prior to the Pro-Revive application. Clean surfaces with Proline’s Dura-Clean or similar detergent/cleaner and a stiff broom, then rinse and let dry. DO NOT PRESSURE WASH STAMPS, TEXTURE MATS, or TABLE MOLDS.

Stamped Concrete Release Agents

What is release agent?

This substance is a bond breaker, so it prevents the concrete from sticking to the concrete stamps. Release can be applied in a liquid or powder form. Don’t get too far ahead of the stamp – just work as you go.

Proline’s Antique Release powder comes in over 20 colors. Important note: do NOT use powdered release on Proline’s Seamless Magnetic Skins.

Proline’s Dura-Liquid Release promotes the release of stamps and texturing tools. Your project will have better results if the tools don’t stick to the wet concrete. The release is applied the tools and skins and directly to the surface of fresh concrete before stamping. This liquid product is less messy to apply than powders but it provides no color. For adding an antiquing color similar to that of what is produced with colored powder release, check out EZ-Tique.

Do I have to use a release agent?

Yes, you must use a release agent. A release agent keeps the concrete from sticking to the concrete stamps, rollers, and tools. The release agent forms a bond-breaking barrier that helps prevent the tools from sticking and marring the pattern in the fragile surface of the fresh concrete or cementitious topping.

What’s antique release?

Concrete antique release comes as a powder and is available in over 40 colors. The antique release agent is generally a darker color than the base color and adds variation and depth to the concrete pattern. The antique release will provide color in the lower area of the stamp concrete pattern. The antique release is broadcast out onto the concrete by hand or with a 6” mason brush as you stamp in thin, even coats that overlap just enough to produce a uniform layer on the slab surface. You can begin stamping as soon as the release is applied. Do not get too far ahead of the stamping. After the concrete has cured at least 24 hours, the antique release agent is removed by brushing then rinsing with a garden hose spray nozzle, light pressure washing, scrubbing, or buffing. Remove only enough to achieve desired antique effect. Antique release coverage rate is approximately 800-1,000 sf per 30 lb bucket.

What is a liquid release agent?

Liquid release agent is a clear, colorless bond breaker used to prevent the concrete stamp or concrete stamping tools from sticking to the wet concrete. Liquid release is sprayed onto the stamps/skins/mats and concrete surface as you stamp the concrete. Do not get too far ahead of the stamping process. The benefit of using a liquid release agent is that it is less messy, less clean up, and you can see the stamping impressions easier than when using a colored powder release. Proline offers water-based EZ-Tique to achieve a similar look to the antique release once the concrete has dried if you are looking to add additional depth with color. The coverage rate for the liquid release is approximately 200 sf per gallon.

Stampable Overlay

What’s overlay?

Overlay can effectively repair cracked concrete. The concrete can be stamped and colored like new once repaired. For concrete overlays, Proline’s Color Packs can be used for your base color and products like Accent or EZ-Tique are great for highlighting and antiquing. This replaces color hardener and antique release in this application. Proline Pro-Stamp transforms plain concrete into a stampable surface that can receive any decorative or textured finish. Proline ProSurfacer, another product that can restore and repair stained and cracked concrete, is a high strength polymer concrete overlay. It can be colored, stained, or broom finished, and even in overlay applications and used as a patch and leveling compound.

Stamped Concrete Sealers

Do I need to seal my concrete after stamping and coloring?

Yes, because sealing maintains your concrete’s color. Sealing also enriches the color intensity, no matter if the color is integral, a stain or dye, or from color hardener. Sealers can add high gloss or a matte finish. Concrete sealers make the surface easier to clean by preventing dirt, oil, and grease from penetrating the concrete, and prevent wear and tear. More importantly, sealers minimize freeze-thaw damage by reducing freeze-thaw damage. Concrete should be sealed every two years or more frequently if it’s exposed to extreme weather.

What’s the difference with sealers?

There are many kinds of sealers. Concrete doesn’t require a sealer to perform well, but concrete sealers will extend the life of the concrete and give your concrete color a pop and shine. Sealers typically come in a high gloss or matte appearance. An important factor to be considered when selecting your sealer is your state’s VOC (volatile organic compounds) requirement. If you are unsure, check with your state’s EPA office. Many sealers with a higher VOC are not legal in all the states. For example, Californians are only permitted to use sealers with a VOC no higher than 100.

The most common concrete sealers are acrylic-resin based sealers. Acrylic sealers are cost effective and often blended with epoxies, polyurethanes or silicones to improve the performance and water resistance. Acrylic sealers are available in many forms with some performing far superior to others. A less expensive sealer such as a styrene acrylic is a lower performing sealer that may yellow and degrade when exposed to sunlight or extreme weather conditions. The best type of sealer is a pure acrylic resin sealer that will last longer with no yellowing.

There are other types of sealers such as polyurethanes, epoxies and penetrating resins. In general, the epoxy or polyurethane sealers cost more than acrylics and tend to be more slippery. They also may not allow for moisture vapor to move out of the concrete if applied incorrectly. If the sealer doesn’t allow for moisture vapor and air to move in and out, a white hazing or fogging can occur. This can be prevented by avoiding moisture in the sealing process. Strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for allowing the concrete to cure fully before applying the sealer if required. Also, be sure to apply the sealer to the appropriate thickness required for the sealer. Applying a sealer too thickly will prevent the water moisture from passing through the sealer and result in a foggy appearance. MSDS and product information sheets are available for all of the sealers we sell. Read them fully before applying the sealer and call or email with any questions.

It’s important to always select a sealer that will protect your decorative concrete from foot traffic and weather. If you are sealing a driveway or garage that will be subjected to grease and oil, you’ll need a sealer that specifically repels these stains, resists water intrusion and abrasions. Primarily, the sealer used for exterior concrete flatwork is a solvent based or water based acrylic. For interior concrete work, a sealer with good resistance to scuffs and stains such as polyurethane or epoxy would be best and easiest to maintain. A good concrete surface protector such as Calico Top Finish would also help to protect your already sealed surface.

Acrylic sealers are often used on exterior concrete surfaces because they breathe well and provide good water resistance. Ideally, concrete sealers should allow moisture vapor within the surface to escape so that you don’t have a foggy appearance or clouding. Epoxies are excellent for water repellence and oil and grease spills but must be applied correctly to prevent the restricted release of moisture vapor.

Non-Slip Additives

What can I do about slippery concrete?

Proline’s Dura-Grip is an easy addition to decorative sealers to add slip resistance to a decorative concrete project. Ideal for patios, walkways, and other high traffic areas where slip resistance is desired. Dura-Grip is a micronized polymer which, when added to Proline’s Dura-Seal, offers slip-resistance, fine texturing and a subtle reduction of gloss. Dura-Grip is available in two convenient sizes; a 16 oz container is available to be mixed in with a 5 gallon container of Proline Dura-Seal and a 4 oz container is available to be used with a 1 gallon size sealer.

Decorative Stamped Concrete

What makes a stamped concrete job really stand out?

Taking the time to add concrete accent pieces, medallions, and border art is a great way to customize your project. Make your job unique with any one of our stamped concrete medallions available in a large array of sizes, like the 3’ Flaming Sun Skin or the impressive 13’ 16-point Star Medallion. Your customer may love the Compass Rose Medallion colored with Accent and EZ-Tique or not colored at all. We offer smaller hand carved items too; garden accents such as a dragonfly, hummingbird, and butterflies. If wildlife is more your style, there are fish, leaves, horses, moose and deer to name a few. We even have all kinds of animal tracks such as bear paws, even a dinosaur print. Border art is available in the popular Grapevine, Daisies, Wild Mustangs, Autumn Ivy, Dolphins, and many more. Set your work apart, take fabulous pictures of your jobs, share in our online gallery and social media, and increase your customer base. We love to showcase our customer’s projects.

Can faded or cracked concrete be repaired?

Most of the time, yes! Concrete can deteriorate due to age but there are ways to repair it. Faded concrete can be restored using products like Proline’s Accent Water-Based Acrylic Stain, EZ-Tique Antiquing Wash, or Smith’s water-based color products. Not only are they easy to use but they give a faded concrete a pop of color. They are easy to use and give faded concrete a nice pop of color. Note that the concrete’s surface must be porous for the color to adhere.

Overlay is an effective and affordable way to repair cracked concrete. Once fixed, the concrete can be stamped and colored like new. For concrete overlays, use Proline’s Color Packs for your base color and products like Accent or EZ-Tique for highlighting and antiquing. Proline Pro-Stamp transforms plain concrete into a surface that can be stamped with any decorative, textured finish. Proline ProSurfacer, a high strength polymer concrete overlay, is another product that can restore and repair stained and cracked concrete.

Stamped Concrete Edge Liners

What is a concrete edge liner?

A concrete stamp edge liner is used around counter tops, fire pits, stairs, concrete benches, etc. We sell a variety of textures and edges including bull nose, flat, and hammered edge, as well as no texture to the more aggressive textures like Denali and Yukon.

Stamped Concrete Form Liners

What is a form liner?

A form liner is generally attached to a form to provide texture and/or a pattern. They can be used to create fire pits, concrete benches, and more. Proline offers a variety of form liners including Ledger Stone, River Rock, and a Travertine Ashlar pattern. The forms are meant to work with Sonotube and 4 forms would work inside a 4’ Sonotube.

Stamped Concrete Tampers

How do I get the impressions into the concrete?

At some point while you are stamping, the concrete is going to start to get really hard. You will need a tamper, often referred to as a pounder, to tamp the stamps into the concrete. Tampers are available in a 12” and 16” base with a 4’ handle. We also have a handheld 7” base tamper called the Billy Banger to save your hands from slapping the concrete in smaller corners and when imprinting accent pieces or border art.

Concrete Stamping Product Shipping

When will my order ship?

Your order will generally ship out within 1 – 3 business days. However, during peak months (April – October) it may take longer for the order to ship out. Please call or email and let us know of specific time constraints. Many stamps are custom made upon the sale and not stocked.

Do you ship your concrete stamping products outside of the U.S?

Yes, please contact us via email at mailto:info@calicoproducts.com or by phone at 800.221.9469 and let us know what you would like to order, the shipping address, and whether or not you would like the products to ship via air or sea. We will then obtain a shipping quote for you.

Can you ship the concrete stamps expedited or via overnight delivery?

Sometimes, it depends on the order. Many of the concrete stamps are too large to ship via overnight carrier, but some orders are no problem at all. We can offer you expedited shipping options and quotes if you contact us by phone or email. Please be sure to let us know your shipping address, whether it is residential or commercial, and the items and quantities you would like to order. For large items, products are often sent on a LTL Freight carrier. In order to get an accurate shipping quote and not have additional charges apply, please let us know if you have a fork lift or equipment that can remove a pallet from a truck.