Tips For Successfully Stamping A Concrete Sidewalk

Posted on: 26 January 2016

If you love the look of cobblestone or brick walkways but are hesitant to give up your durable concrete walks, stamped concrete could be the answer. This process uses stamps to leave an imprint in the concrete so that it looks like and has the texture of the bricks or stones you adore. The following tips can ensure you achieve just the look you want.

Tip #1: Tint Before You Pave

The color of plain concrete probably doesn't quite match what you envision as brick or cobblestone. There are two options for changing the color. The first is concrete paint. This isn't the best option because the paint can hide some details of the stamping and it tends to wear off. The best option is to use a concrete dye. These dyes are mixed into the concrete before it is poured, so there is no fading over time. Small damage is also less visible, since a chip in the concrete doesn't chip the color.

Tip #2: Skip the Tampers

When a stamp is set over the concrete, it has to be tamped down so that it fully imprints the surface. Often, tampers are recommended for this job. These bring mechanical weights down on the stamp to force it onto the surface. The problem is that the force can be too great, which can cause the center of the stamp to bow and the edges to lift, so that there are no texture details around the edges of the stamp. A better option is to apply the stamps as soon as the concrete is firm enough to support weight, and then simply walk on them to tamp them down. This provides less force, but is sufficient if the stamps are applied early enough in the curing process.

Tip #3: Roll It First

A major concern with stamping a larger surface is that it will dry before you have a chance to stamp the whole thing. Generally, you will still be able to get the basic shape detailed with the stamp, but texture can be lost. This means the texture doesn't look even across the entire walkway. You can counteract this by using a textured concrete roller before you begin stamping. This will apply a base texture over the entire paved surface, which you then stamp over. This ensures there will be some texture on the entire walkway, even if the concrete cures to the point that only the joint lines around the brick shapes show from the stamps.

Stamping concrete properly is an art form. Contact a concrete contractor like W C Lowery Inc if you need additional help.