The Use of Stamped Concrete For Your Driveway
Now more popular than ever, many people in Sydney have started to show favour to stamped concrete and its aesthetics. A stamped concrete driveway is a very popular home remodeling style which seems to be the trend nowadays and there are good causes for this. In years before the improvement in techniques, a DIY driveway wasn’t very impressive. Just the costly commercial applications appeared well made and trendy, and others were not very well made. But in the last years, the latest texturizing and pigmenting techniques have enabled Sydney homeowners to make use of Stamped Concrete Driveways.
Stamped Concrete Defined
Concrete Stamping means pouring a slab concrete for your driveway and then pressing a set of patterns and textures onto the cement prior to letting it cure. In the past, there was a mediocre style of stamped concrete that was often used which simply duplicated patterns and textures. Now, the latest types of stamped driveways in Sydney press textures which copy a lot of different surfaces like cobblestones, bricks, pavers, wood grains, seashells, and others. Additionally, some form of pigment or coloration is also used to a stamped concrete driveway to increase the copying of the actual appearance of these Stamp Patterns and Textures.
Stamped Concrete VS Plain Concrete
Materials like brick, pavers, and cobble stones are simply great to look at, though because they create a surface with a lot of interlocking pieces, its makes them susceptible to weather like frost-heave and any other changes underneath the cement. There are times this can be okay like when you’re attempting to conceal any uneven surfaces since any bricks, pavers, or stones can try to conform to whatever surface there is. Though if you have a reasonably good and flat or level surface underneath, then you need the concrete to be poured and set in that level. Steel rods can be used to reinforce the stamped cement to aid in tying the concrete with each other and make it stronger.
Moreover, cobble stones, bricks, pavers and others can allow vegetation to develop in between any spaces or cracks. And because a stamped concrete driveway is one solid and complete surface, any plants or weeds will not develop since there are no gaps. As we already understand that any supposed cracks in a stamped concrete driveway are just impressions in the cement which will only partially mark the surface and not reach the underlying layer.
Stamped Concrete Driveway VS Pavers and Cobblestones
This is really somewhat subjective and depends on a person, though most agree that nothing beats the real thing. By appearance, it’s very close to being real. There has been stamped concrete driveways which try to copy the look of exterior wood plank floors and the like. This appears good by itself, though you will not think of it as real wood planks. Due to this, people should get a stamped concrete driveway which isn’t trying so hard to look like something else entirely. Your stamped concrete driveway could have any kind of pattern, texture, and or color you want, as long as it still looks like a driveway.
Is DIY Concrete Stamping Feasible? Well most people would say no. Laying down a stamped concrete driveway requires an expert Sydney concrete company to utilize their experience and skills. Apart from that you need special equipment and trained personnel of up to 4 people to make it work right. Steer away from fatigue and frustration and just hire a competent concrete contractor who has enough experience for laying a stamped concrete driveway.
• Have cement poured on the prepared surface. The material must be no less than 4 inches thick at all levels.
• Choose and add the pigment. Pigment or one color can be added either while mixing or also after the pouring of concrete. The initial technique is known as integral coloring and the next technique known as broadcast or surface coloring. The latter technique requires evenly distributing dry color over the surface of the cement.
• Use of a release agent. A release agent enables any texturizing mats to be removed without damaging the dry concrete.
• Apply lay mats. Texturizing lay mats are put on the surface one after the other. Because there are typically insufficient mats to cover the whole surface, as one is completed it is used in another part of the cement already laid.
• Allow it to dry for at least one whole day. .
• Use a pressure wash to get the release agent away from the surface.
• Apply clear sealing on the surface.
How To DIY a Stamped Concrete Driveway
First off, clean the surface of your existing concrete driveway. Spray it with water by using a garden hose. By eliminating pebbles and other debris, you will have a smoother finish in the end. Make sure to dry it completely prior to laying fresh concrete.
Next, mix the cement and other materials using a concrete mixer. Prepare enough to cover the surface of your existing concrete driveway with approximately 1 inch of cement.
Third, lay down the inch-thick thin layer of concrete over the existing concrete driveway. Start from the area closest to the garage door or entrance and move down to the street side of your concrete driveway’s path, followed by smoothing the surface by using a float. The float will also help remove the excess water on top of the concrete and make it level.
Next, allow it dry long enough for it to hold its form but not too long that it will not take the stamp texture effectively.
Now, use a hardener powder using the broadcast method. Apply by spreading the powder with a wide sweeping arm movement to cover as much concrete as possible with each throw. The absorption of the hardener will take at least half an hour.
Next, install the color by using a wood or magnesium float. Use just one pass with the float avoiding overworking the concrete. Repeat adding more color in areas where the natural color of the laid cement appears.
Level off everything with a steel trowel. Now use that color release agent. To calculate per 100 square feet of concrete, you would need about 3.5 lbs of release agent. The release agent helps prevent the stamping mats from sticking onto freshly laid concrete, so it is important not to skip this step. Ensure to provide the color which will best enhance the color of your concrete driveway.
Now begin stamping. Select a stamp pattern that would suit the overall style of your home’s exterior. Be quick when applying texture using mats or stamps so that the concrete will get a good impression of design. Press the mats harder by stomping or using a hand tamper to press the design on the concrete. And avoid too much tamping on the concrete
Adhere to your chosen pattern when applying the stamp design. Make sure that the design has a seamless flow and would look as natural as can be done. Make sure that the seams and grout line match so that it will look like its one whole piece and not divided.
Now let the concrete to dry at first one whole day. After that, utilize a pressure washer to remove the excess release agent. Apply water pressure no stronger than 3000 psi. Be careful not to damage the concrete. Make certain to reach the grout lines, where some excess release agents may have accumulated. Now let it set properly for several hours. Lastly, use a concrete sealer. Get that roller and apply the sealer all over the whole surface and grout lines to keep all the colors from fading.
After following all of the instructions above you should by now have enough knowledge to start concrete stamping by yourself, yet the outcome will vary on your confidence and ability. If you are not an experienced concreter then I would advise you to not attempt it yourself, rather to Hire Local Concreters In Sydney To Do Your Stamped Concrete project properly and professionally.