While concrete has been around for ages, it is constantly being modified and improved through various technological processes. The pyramids in Egypt are considered to be one of the first uses of concrete, though they are far different from what we think of as concrete now. Without this constant change and enhancement, concrete would have lost its place as the most common man-made material on Earth.
One of the newer forms of concrete is stamped concrete. Stamped concrete is just concrete that has been specially patterned to look like some other building material, such as brick or stucco. By using stamped concrete, the homeowner or construction professional can achieve a visually appealing look without sacrificing any of concretes noted and desired strength. Stamped concrete tends to be used for interior flooring, patios, pool decks, and even driveways typically projects that deal with concrete slabs that are not subjected to high levels of foot traffic.
The steps to creating stamped concrete are fairly complicated, and really should only be left to concrete professionals it typically is not recommended as a do-it-yourself project unless you already have some experience laying concrete. That being said, the process is relatively straightforward. You simply mix concrete, pouring it into the slab you want, just as if you were pouring normal concrete. Then, you add the color hardener, or other type of coloring additive to the already-poured concrete. Once the proper steps are taken to ensure a uniform layer of color at the pitch and hue you want, then you can begin the actual stamping process.
Before you can stamp concrete, you need to purchase expensive stamping equipment. These are just extremely large stamps that made into certain patterns. Some stamps can come in hexagons, while others can be patterned to look like a brick wall. Once the stamp is chosen, you lay the stamp down over the poured concrete, tamping it down with a great deal of force to imprint the stamp on the concrete. Once the tamping has finished, you need to remove the stamp and etch the divisions where needed. After this step, the process is finished, and you just need to cure the concrete properly as you would any normal batch of concrete. To enhance the appearance of the newly stamped concrete seal it with Cryli-Tek 5505 or Cryli-Tek 5500.
Overall, while the process is a great way to beautify and add a different visual aesthetic to your concrete without sacrificing anything in the way of strength, durability, and longevity, stamped concrete is not a job for the amateur do-it-yourselfer looking for a weekend project. You would, in fact, be far better off if you hired concrete professionals to pour, stamp, and cure your concrete.