One of the great advantages of concrete is its relatively cheap price and ease of installation. However, its main downfall, besides the problem of cracking, is its looks – concrete is grey, drab, and pretty boring to look at. It goes fine with most decors, but it isn’t the most optimal material to use for most projects.
However, there are ways to spruce up your concrete project so that it will be more stylistically interesting. The most common method is installing stamped concrete. Stamped concrete has particular designs, shapes, and textures ‘stamped’ into the wet concrete in order to make it look like something else. Combined with concrete paints and finishes, an otherwise boring slab of concrete can be made to look like something finer – concrete or natural stone pavers, bricks, and even wood! Luckily, making your own stamped concrete is relatively easy, as long as you can pour it yourself, making installing stamped concrete a viable DIY project for many homeowners who have the skills and time. Note, however, that some stamping projects can be challenging, so when in doubt, go with a professional whose work you admire to ensure that your project turns out right.
If you are interesting in a do it yourself stamped cement project, you’ll need to buy concrete stamps that you can use to create the designs you want. This article will describe the tools, materials, and products you’ll need for successful concrete stamping. It will also give suggestions for how to find and save money on concrete stamps for sale.
The Different Kinds of Concrete Stamps
The number of concrete stamp patterns out there is simply astounding. You can find every kind of designs, from regular patterns like brick and stone to irregular shapes and textures. You can also find interesting shapes and designs that you can use to make your concrete patio, walkway, driveway, pool deck, or other installation uniquely your own.
The following is a list of decorative concrete stamps – it is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it does cover many of the most popular varieties of designs and textures. Using stamps, your concrete can look like:
You can also add the following textures and designs:
- Seamless textures
- and much, much more.
In fact, it may even be possible to make or obtain custom stamps – you are thus only limited by your imagination and your budget.
The Properties of Concrete Stamps
Most stamps are made from rubber and plastic, making them flexible, light, and easy to work with. They can be easily washed and reused from job to job, so you won’t have to worry about having to buy new ones.
There are two main types. For small jobs, you can simply buy one unit stamps or stencils. For instance, if it’s a shape of dolphin, you only need to have a single dolphin stencil that you apply where needed. However, if you have a pattern that repeats, such as a cobblestone, paver, brick, or stone appearance, you’ll need to buy mats. Mats are simply big versions of normal stamps – they contain the “unit pattern” so that you can have it repeat regularly throughout the entire surface of the concrete. These mats vary in size, depending on the pattern, but most are in the 4 square feet range.
Using Concrete Stamps – Some How To Notes
How many stamps will you need? Stamps can be expensive, so you may feel tempted to save money by skimping on the number you purchase, but don’t! You’ll need at least enough to go across the whole width of the project, plus a couple to start the next course. Think about it – you want the texture or pattern to be even and nicely distributed. Any mistakes can be costly to the appearance of the final project. In addition, you want to be able to stamp everything necessary within the time that the concrete is wet and amenable to stamping. If you are too slow, you may have serious problems with the final result.
Note that stamps should only be used on concrete 2 inches thick or more. While stamping and staining may be a potential DIY project for someone with the experience and skills to do it, it can be challenging, and mistakes can make a concrete slab look terrible – this can be a very expensive mistake to make. Unless you have the chance to practice and find out what works, it may be best to leave all this to the professionals. In that case you wouldn’t have to buy or rent concrete stamps, so it may be worth it in the end.
The Cost of Concrete Stamps
The cost of the stamps depends on a number of factors, including the size and pattern of the stamp. In general, expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250 per stamp. Most of the time, these stamps are bought by contractors who will use them on the job. This is due in part to the fact that these stamps are incredibly expensive for many homeowners to purchase in the quantity necessary. However, there are other options available to these homeowners, including renting and buying used stamps. See the saving money section below.
What Else You May Need
There are some other concrete stamping tools and products you might need to fill out your concrete project. First, in terms of using the stamps, you may need floppies or flexes; a tamper; and other hand tools. If you want to give your concrete a different color or stain, you may need acid stains, colors, release agents, and other materials. You may also need particular forms and molds to properly shape your concrete creations.
Saving Money on Concrete Stamps
One way to save money if you need stamps for a single job is to find stamps for rent. Finding rental concrete stamps may be difficult to do if you don’t have a supply yard or a contractor in your area willing to do this. You may also be able to find used concrete stamps for sale, either from individual homeowners or from professional contractors.
Note that it also may be possible for you to create your own stamps and patterns out of materials and objects laying around your house. Use your creativity and don’t be afraid to test on sample (and eventually disposable) concrete.