Our Most Frequently Asked Questions About Stamped Concrete
Here at Calico Construction Products, we know concrete well and we know how to help make it look great. Our customer service team fields a lot of questions, so we wanted to share a few that we hear on a regular basis.
Take a look and let us know if you have more to add to the list!
Can faded or cracked concrete be repaired?
In most cases, yes! While concrete isn’t immune to deterioration from age, there are often ways to refresh and repair it. If your tinted concrete has simply faded over time, products like Proline’s Accent Water-Based Acrylic Stain, EZ-Tique Antiquing Wash, or Smith’s water-based color products can restore your dull concrete. They are easy to use and give faded concrete a nice pop of color. Your surface must be porous, though, for the coloring product 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. This would replace color hardener and antique release in this application. Proline Pro-Stamp, a strong stampable overlay, 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. This can be colored, broom finished, stained, the possibilities are endless. It is used in several overlay applications and can even be used as a patch and leveling compound that can fill and repair uneven concrete.
Do I need more than one stamp to effectively stamp concrete and what is a “package” of concrete stamps?
Yes, most times stamping concrete requires more than one stamp. Things to consider when deciding on how many stamps are needed for the project: How large is it, how much can I stamp before the concrete gets too hard? Where am I going to walk/stand while placing the pattern? Are there multiple pieces that work together to complete the pattern, i.e. an “A,” “B,” and/or “C,” stamp? We’ve listed the dimensions of all of our stamps online to assist in laying out your project. 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. The general recommendation is that you should have enough stamps to cover the width of the project, plus two.
So what’s in a package of concrete stamps? Our packages contain the minimum number of stamps and accessories recommended for each pattern. This generally includes six rigid stamps, one thin flex, two touch-up skins, and the recommended chisels and/or wheels that best fit the pattern.
Do I need to seal my concrete after stamping and coloring?
Yes. Sealing maintains the color of your concrete. Sealing concrete enriches the color intensity — whether the color is integral, a stain or dye, or from color hardener. Sealers can add sheen to the concrete such as a high gloss or no sheen like a matte. Concrete sealers block the penetration of dirt, oil, grease and chemicals, and make the concrete surface much easier to clean. Sealers prevent water intrusion which can minimize freeze-thaw damage. Concrete sealers also help to prevent wear and tear from high foot and auto traffic areas.
Concrete should be sealed every two years or more frequently if it’s exposed to extreme weather.
What are release agents?
You should always use a release agent. This substance, which is a bond breaker, prevents the concrete from sticking to the concrete stamps. Apply the release agent in either a liquid or powder form. Work as you go and don’t get too far ahead of the stamping.
Traditionally there are two types of release, liquid and powder. Proline’s Antique Release powder comes in over 20 colors. Keep in mind: do NOT use powdered release on Proline’s Seamless Magnetic Skins.
Proline’s Dura-Liquid Release promotes the release of stamps and texturing tools. Improve your results by ensuring tools don’t stick to wet concrete! The release is applied to the face of 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.
How can I add a base color to concrete?
Concrete can be stained and tinted in a wide variety of colors and tones, and there are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Color hardener is a popular technique that involves broadcasting the product onto wet concrete and then working it in with a trowel. Only the top surface is colored, so the color tends to be more intense. Since color hardeners increase the strength of concrete, they’re a great choice for outside projects and interior floors with heavy traffic.
- Integral color is added to concrete prior to pouring. The color is consistent throughout the slab and won’t fade from exposure, but color is less vibrant than what you see with color hardener.