I’m a first time poster. I’m planning to pour a concrete patio (approx. 10’X20′) in my backyard and like the idea of finishing the project using concrete stamping and colouring. Is this something within the reach of the advanced DIY’er? Or am I nuts to even consider it? I’m comfortable working with forms, rebar, have access to a mixer, and like the fact that concrete will give me the ability to create a unique design. The thing holding me back is information on stamping, the set up and working times etc.. I’m looking for an outline which will guide me but the resources are hard to find. Can somebody point me in the right direction? Thanks.
I think so, but then we plan to do it. However, we DIY everything so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.
My brother just hired out what you are talking about. It really came out nice. We plan to do our sidewalks this way.
I would say it's outside the scope of the typical diy. Maybe if you're seen it done a few times. Maybe if you're totally comfortable with flatwork and the use of screeds and bull floats and trowels and such. But I've seen such a huge variation in the quality of stamping jobs done by pro contractors, that I've come to conclude that a good job requires skill that apparently not everyone has. Consider also what happens if the job doesn't turn out so well. Either you have a heck of a demo project on your hands, or you live a really long time with an inadequate result. I do a fair amt of my own concrete work, and I've watched several thousand feet stamped. I sub out the stamped to a contractor whose quality I've been able to verify.
Id recommend having a ready mix truck deliver your concrete. At 2 1/2 yards for a 4" pour, that's alot of mixing especially considering having the mixer, sand, cement and stone delivered, mixing it, then cleaning it all up. Plus you'll get a better quality mix with a truck. At approx $80 a yard plus delivery, IMO, Id have it delivered.
This is pretty tough work - I wouldn't recommend it for a diy project. They can look really good when done well, but there are SO MANY variables when working with concrete. The temperature, the humidity, sunny or shady . . . Thus you cannot give set times for a lot of concrete work - it takes a lot of experience.
If you are determined to put in a patio yourself, you might consider concrete pavers instead. They come in a huge variety of shapes and textures and colors and will give you the look you want. Laid on a bed of gravel and sand, there is no issue with set-up times, etc etc. A further advantage is that any movement of the patio will not lead to cracks since the pavers are small. And if the grease pan from the barbecue spills, you can always pry up the badly stained ones and replace them.
By the way, if you decide to go with pavers, they cut easily with a diamond circular saw blade. These are about $50 bucks. Make sure you get a segmented one intended for dry cutting. For simple, straight cuts, a single pass at 1/4 or 3/8 inch is usually enough to be able to break it. For more complex cuts, a few passes at increasing depths is best.
I think you'd spend more just to buy the stamping molds than it would cost to hire the whole job out. Not to mention buying the dyes, sealers, etc., and ripping out the concrete if you don't get it right the first time.
Not to sound harsh, but even plain concrete is too much for DIY in any quantity, unless you have a LOT of help in case the concrete sets off early, it starts to rain, etc.
Thanks everybody who's replied so far. To clarify, I'm looking for resources, books, videos, web pages first hand experiences. The concrete work itself doesn't scare me it's the stamping finish. I'm using a mixer because the site is not easily accessible to a truck, would prefer to use a truck. Also mixing by hand allows me more control over the aggregate I'm using. The patio is modular by design and will have different textures and shapes. Thanks.
You might want to start here.
There are a large number of ways to improve the looks of concrete in addtion to stmping.
Starting with just stain it or stain and scoring it.
Also there are stencil systems that are used with different coating and maybe with staining.
I found my stamp at a forum at http://www.acid-stain.com
This is a very good link thank you.
Look at L M Scofield website. They offer stains to mix in with the concrete, stains to put on old concrete, thin toppings to put on old concrete and either stamp or stencil, and stencils & stamps.Do it right, or do it twice.
http://www.LMScofield.com has some wonderful examples. Thank you.
I got my stamps from Symons Corporation . 1 800 800 7966
I would only use ready mix ,unless your mixer can handle 4+ yds.
You have to trowel in a color hardener when the concrete has stopped bringing up water . Has to be troweled in well .
then you have to spred on color release ,so that your stamp will not stick or pull up concrete.
Stamp what is ready and move fast do the sunny parts first move fast the shady spots are setting up make sure your stamps are lining up straight. move faster, stamp harder your concrete is setting up.
If you had several loads of 1/3 yd. batches some would be pulling up on the stamps because if it is to wet even the color release will not help and some may be too dry and will not indent properly.
The stamps are not cheap You are looking at about $2500.00 just for stamps and a couple hundred for colors and sealer.
I prefer stamping to smooth troweled concrete finishing.
>You have to trowel in a color hardener when the concrete has stopped bringing up water . Has to be troweled in well .
Now that's a really good point. The timing is pretty critical, and it takes experience to know when to do what. Unless you can place it fast enough, it will be awfully difficult to have things come together at the right time.
I think I'm going to pour a "test form" first, say a 3'X3' piece. Try some experimenting and see how it goes from there. I could always turn my experiment into a coffee table top ;^). Thanks.
A thought, call your local redi-mix co. ask them , who does Stamped concrete work??, then I would call that Co., ask them if they have any jobs coming up, then you could ask them if they wouldn't mind you watching. A couple things come to mind, a learning curve in the fast way, then when all is said and done, ask them outright would they be interested in renting their Stamps to you. Sounds like a neat project you got going Jim J
Good luck to you. That's certainly a reasonable way to get some experience. Let us know what you discover as you experiment.
Luckily most of this job is going to be done in the shade. I've found some reasonably priced stamps at http://www.decorativeconcretepro.com/pricelist/pricelist1.htm. I'm looking for a repeating granite pattern. I've read about "feathered" edges. Anybody know how they work? Thanks.
You could divide your slab into mixer sized squares. With stamping I would not try to feather edges . I wouldn't try it with regular concrete.