For several homeowners, stamped concrete is the best material to use when it comes to creating a beautiful design for the home. This is because it is often more convenient and faster to install compared to using stone or brick. Despite this, stamped concrete is still a complicated process that requires the use of the right tools, expertise, weather conditions and materials. Without these, it will be difficult to achieve the right goal for the concrete before it hardens. And if a mistake occurs, it can be very costly to fix. This is why it is always recommended for homeowners to be wary of how they take care of their stamped concrete surface so they can prolong its lifespan.
Here are a few tips on how you can maintain stamped concrete surface in your home:
Use Color Hardener
Usually, color hardener is applied onto stamped concrete surface so that it gives color to it. But apart from just giving color to the surface, it also makes it stronger and even more resistant to penetration and abrasion. Whenever you can, apply color hardener to help make the surface stronger and last longer.
Refrain from De-Icing Salts
During the first months of winter, you should refrain from using de-icing salts on your stamped concrete surface. This is because de-icing salts has an effect that results to the sealer failing. Usually, you will see that this sealer failure has started to commence when you spot white, hazy appearances on the surface. Later on, the sealer will separate from the concrete installed on the surface. When this happens, you will have to rectify the problem by installing stamped concrete once again.
Use a Protective Sealer
Nowadays, there are so many different varieties of sealers you can use for your concrete surfaces at home. To make sure that your stamped concrete stays strong, it is best that you apply multiple layers of a protective sealer. This helps in blocking dirt penetration, blocking oil and grease stains, deicing chemicals, and many other substances. When you use a sealer, it also helps the concrete a lot easier to clean. The sealer also helps enhance the color on the surface and at the same time, helps prevent it from fading due to exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Use the Right Concrete Mix
Particularly if you are planning to install stamped concrete into your surface on your own, you should always remember to use the right concrete mix. And even if you hire a contractor to do this project for you, you have to make sure that he is using the right concrete mix. This means that the mix is able to withstand just about any weather condition or damage it will be exposed to. You should never opt for something just because it is cheaper since this will only lead you to more expense later on.
Defend Against Damage from Freeze-Thaw
Freeze-thawing your stamped concrete surface has an adverse effect on it that could potentially leave it damaged permanently. When the damage happens, you could encounter some problems such as the surface cracking, flaking, and popping out. This is why it is important that you make sure your concrete mix should be designed to resist freeze-thaw.
Don’t Skimp on Reinforcement
If your contractor advises you to use reinforcement on your surface, don’t feel tempted to skimp on it. This is because reinforcement is needed to help strengthen the surface and help it control against cracking. This is particularly true if the stamped concrete is on a surface that supports vehicle traffic such as a driveway or a parking lot.
Proper Jointing of Pavement
You should make sure that your stamped concrete pavement has been properly jointed so that cracking can be controlled. To be honest, there really is no way to avoid cracks since this is a surface that will be exposed to a lot of traffic, especially with your vehicle. The only way you can fight against it is to control it. This is why you should make sure the surface has been properly jointed by cutting the joints at least a quarter of a slab thickness. If you are worried about the joints detracting from the look of the surface, you can ask your contractor to hide them away. This can be done by incorporating the joints onto the pattern lines wherever possible.
Surfaces wherein stamped concrete was installed on can last several decades or even longer as long as they have been installed properly and maintained religiously. Even if it gets exposed to harsh conditions, the surface will stay durable. This is why it is a preferred option by many homeowners. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be able to enjoy stamped concrete in your property thoroughly. You’ll be able to prolong the lifespan of your stamped concrete surface.
Written by Robert Thompson, owner of Custom Outdoor Designs, where they are one of the best companies for stamped concrete in Columbia, MO.