Calgary, AB -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/05/2014 -- Although stamped concrete is often faster and more convenient to install than brick or stone, it's still a complicated process requiring the right tools, materials, expertise and jobsite conditions to ensure a successful outcome. A lot of steps are involved in stamping concrete, and crews only have a short window of time to complete them before the fresh concrete begins to harden. In addition to placing and impressing each stamp, they must broadcast color hardener over the surface and apply a release agent to the stamps so they won’t stick. After the concrete sets, more work must be done, including installing joints, doing detail work, and applying a sealer. (See this step-by-step overview of the stamping process.)
Even before the work begins, good planning and preparation are necessary to make sure everything goes smoothly. This is particularly important on large stamped concrete projects. Here are some important dos and don'ts to adhere to on every job:
Installation Do's and Don'ts
Don't overlook proper subgrade preparation. A well-compacted subgrade is essential to the structural integrity of the concrete slab. It also helps drainage and can prevent soil erosion under the concrete.
Do make sure stamped concrete pavements are properly jointed to control cracking. To be effective, joints must be cut to a depth of at least one-quarter the slab thickness. (For more details, read Be Active in Deciding Where Control Joints Will Be Placed.) If you're worried that the joints will detract from the appearance of the stamped surface, ask the contractor to hide the joints by integrating them into the pattern lines wherever possible.
Do insist on the use of a concrete mix that can stand up to the anticipated exposure conditions, such as freezing and thawing and deicing chemicals in northern climates and wear and tear from foot or vehicle traffic. Pay special attention to the water-cement ratio, or the amount of water in proportion to the cement. Adding too much water dilutes and weakens the cement paste, making it less durable and more porous. (For more information on water-cement ratio and concrete performance, read Primary Issue Affecting Concrete Quality.)
Don't skimp on reinforcement. For many slabs on grade, reinforcement (in the form of steel bars or welded wire mesh) is necessary to augment strength and help to control cracking. This is especially true for driveways and other surfaces that will support vehicle traffic.
Do use a dry-shake color hardener, which will produce a denser, more impermeable surface.
About Calgary Concrete
We are a full service concrete company specializing in decorative concrete with over 30 years experience (15 in the Calgary market alone). During this time in Calgary, we have poured literally thousands of driveways, garage pads, patios, and basements. I know how stressful it can be trying to find a contractor that you can trust. With my experience and dedication to customer service, South Island Concrete will help take the stress out of the concrete project. I consider myself to be an honest, reliable, and professional with a commitment to quality workmanship that I stand behind 100 percent. No job is too big or too small. If you only need a broom sidewalk or small stamped patio all the way up to rip out and replace, I am happy to come talk to you and give you a free quote.