When you’re planning for a stamped concrete or any other home improvement project, your end goal is to obtain the professional result you seek. Whether it is on your patio, driveway or pool deck, there is a little or no room to make stamped concrete mistakes. That is why thorough planning is vital right off the bat. Any disruption or complacency on the process can lead to unsatisfactory results.
A stamped concrete project provides a cost-effective and competitive solution compared to other surface materials. Not to mention the ability of decorative concrete in mimicking other hardscape materials to enhance your property’s curb appeal. However, a stamped concrete project is a meticulous process, especially during installation. Though it is less labor-intensive, it needs precision in concrete placement and requires no delay once the stamping started. So, regardless of who does the job—whether you do it yourself or hire a professional contractor—the goal is to prevent yourself from incurring any stamped concrete mistakes, so you can keep your project on the right path for perfection. Avoid these common mishaps to make your home’s exterior more welcoming.
1. Too Fond of Complex Patterns or Texture
Becoming overly enthusiastic or too fond of complex designs is quite easy. However, instead of focusing on getting the most complex canvass or texture for your stamped concrete, you must rather look for the basic and most accurate patterns. If you’re a DIYer, you should start with a smaller portion of your patio or walkway and use a simple design like a square tile. Once your skill has improved, then you can create more intricate designs and work in a larger area.
2. No Sealing or Finishing
You don’t know the real beauty of stamped concrete until it is properly sealed. After stamping and curing process, you should preserve the color and texture of the concrete with the right sealer. Sealing or finishing a stamped concrete protects the designs and pigment over time amidst exposure to too much foot and vehicular traffic.
3. Wrong Choice of Color
One of the typical stamped concrete mistakes is choosing the wrong color. The primary purpose of picking the right color is to resemble the appeal of the real hardscape materials while making your concrete more realistic. Also, to create an even coat of colors, always keep in mind to spread out the pigment particles for each section.
4. Uneven Surface
The quality of “soil support system” such as subbase or subgrade surface affects the appearance of your concrete. You can call it stamped concrete mistakes if you don’t pay attention to the subgrade preparation. The soil support system must be well-compacted and intact to support the overall functionality, performance and structural integrity of the slab.
5. Incorrect Mixture
There is a science in mixing concrete correctly. You must follow the right proportion of water and concrete to avoid stamped concrete mistakes. Adding too little or too much water will not set the concrete properly. Pouring more water could surely make the spreading and pouring process much quicker, but it would create a weaker concrete.
The simplest way to achieving the correct mixture is to perform a slump test before pouring the concrete. Also, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that you can get the correct proportion for your mixture.
6. Uneven Concrete Placement
Poured concrete needs to achieve the same level of thickness to get the same amount of time it takes to dry up. The process of screeding prevents stamped concrete mistakes by leveling the surface, so there will be no low or high spots. This method also smoothens the top of the concrete.
7. Improper Form Placement
Concrete forms hold the concrete slab in place and can assume a certain shape. The way it looks will significantly impact the final form of the concrete slab being poured inside. Stamped concrete mistakes occurred when you or your contractor created poorly constructed concrete frames. Doing so will make improper drainage system and rough edges on its final form. If you are going to create concrete forms yourself, make sure that these are in good condition, so it can connect each other and some other structures.
8. Misuse of Smoothing Tool
Screeding or early finishing is one of the most important steps in stamped concrete installation. Using floats or special trowels, you can smoothen any visible depressions and create a more defined concrete surface. Mistakes happen when you drop the float over the concrete and push it away from you. If you do that, it can make uneven patches on the surface. To guarantee that the concrete is smooth, carefully drop the trowel on top of the poured concrete and drag the tool toward your feet. Keep in mind that you must not exert too much pressure on the tool so that it won’t create a wavy concrete surface.
9. Not Enough Curing Time
Freshly poured concrete is very sensitive, so you need to take good care of it. Proper curing and right timing will make your stamped concrete stronger, more reliable and long-lasting. However, stamped concrete mistakes exist if you take the curing process for granted or do not give enough time for concrete to cure. Though a concrete typically takes between one and two days to set, it could take about a week to cure completely. This step is very crucial as concrete becomes very prone to crack and less resistant to abrasion if it is not given sufficient time to cure.
10. Not Asking for Assistance or Just Doing it Yourself
We know the result of a project when it is understaffed, or you can’t carry out the task effectively. Even as a DIY, you will still need assistance. Not having enough people to help you with the project will result in accidents, costly stamped concrete mistakes and not achieving the professional finish you envision at the very beginning. We could say that a stamped concrete project is quite a challenge to a DIYer. It is time-sensitive and not the typical endeavor you want to engage in. And so, you need an experienced contractor to prevent some other mishaps mentioned earlier throughout this article.
A stamped concrete project is not the usual DIY project because of the following reasons:
a. The project can be expensive if you buy all the stamped materials for a single project. Even renting a ready-mix concrete truck may be costly.
b. It requires no delay. You surely can’t come back and complete the project in some other time. Timing is very critical. Once the concrete is ready to cure, you need to finish the project before it hardens completely.
c. You have a single chance to do it correctly. A stamped concrete project is unforgiving. Since you are dealing with one continuous form of a slab, it’s not easy to repair if you mess up.
d. Any possible snags may pop up at the middle of the construction. So, you need an experienced contractor if anything goes wrong. You need someone to watch out for potential mishaps.
If you want these stamped concrete mistakes not even to happen, you must work with an expert. Contact Deck Ready. We have the right knowledge, experience, materials, and a highly-skilled team to plan everything efficiently for a less-hassle and more manageable stamped concrete project.