Stamped concrete can replicate the look of stone, brick, tile, and even wood. The enormous range of choices in patterns and colors make it popular for enhancing patios, driveways, pool decks, and more. But, stamping concrete is a challenging do-it-yourself project. The main reason is that you only get one chance to get it right.
Having the right concrete tools to achieve the texture and pattern you want is critical to your success. In this blog post, we’ll cover all of the concrete stamping tools you need to get the job done right.
There are three basic types of concrete stamps. Each type serves a different purpose, and for most projects you will need more than one.
Rigid & Semi-Rigid Mats
Rigid mats are firm with zero flex while semi-rigid mats are slightly flexible, so they can be used to conform to the contours of concrete.
You will use rigid mats for most of your concrete stamping projects because they leave a clearer, deeper impression, but you may use semi-rigid mats on slopes or driveway aprons where the ends flare up.
You will need texturing skins in addition to mats. In a stamping project, they are used to add detail to the perimeter of your concrete. Texturing skins come in a variety of details, but the impression they leave is less pronounced than what you will get from rigid and semi-rigid mats.
Texturing skins are ultra-pliable; their feathered edges overlap, so you can take your design to the edges of your slab. Texturing skins are also useful for vertical surfaces, including stair risers.
The biggest advantage of using texturing skins is that they don’t require precise alignment. It is possible to use them for an entire project.
Flex mats, aka floppies, are made of polyurethane that is thin enough to be bent into a 90-degree angle. They are mostly used for doing work in corners and up against walls, stairs, and columns.
How Many Concrete Stamps Will You Need?
Concrete stamps are always used in multiples. The general recommendation is using enough stamps to cover the width of your slab, plus two.
Detail Tools & Chisels
Different concrete stamping tools, including rollers, chisels, and broadcasting brushes are required for different patterns. To stamp concrete, tools must be on hand in a complete set before you begin the job.
You will use rollers and chisels at the very end of your stamping job to add additional details. Typically, you will use both of these tools to add missing grout lines and to clean up rough edges. The roller must allow for free rolling movement to achieve accurate detail work. The size and shape of the roller must exactly match the pattern you use.
Chisels make a straight line or a deeper imprint. Look for chisels made from cast aluminum that have a wide blade and a broad head. You will need more than one chisel, in varying lengths.
Lastly, we recommend investing in a grinder with a diamond blade, which helps remove any squish-ups during stamping.
Concrete release agents keep stamps, rollers, and other tools from sticking to wet concrete. You will usually pre-season your texturing skins and mats with concrete release, and broadcast release onto your slab before stamping. Additionally, you must add release after stamping your concrete and let it sit for 48 to 72 hours, especially if it’s going to rain.
Concrete release powders and liquids are available in many colors, making it easy to find the right match for your project.
In addition to the concrete tools we’ve just mentioned, you also need to purchase a dust mask, gloves, and safety glasses. It’s dangerous to breathe in concrete releases, and you will want to use gloves when applying any color hardener to your stamped concrete.
For any repairs, have color hardener, water, and a hammer available. Chips and cracks are typically common defects after stamping concrete. Chips can easily be repaired with color hardener and water, and you can close up cracks with a hammer.
To ensure longevity of your stamped concrete, you will need to purchase a concrete sealer and a compression sprayer for application.
Find Your Concrete Tools at Stamped Concrete
Have questions? Our pros at Stamped Concrete Supplies are ready to help. We have everything you need to get started on your next stamped concrete project. Contact us today for help selecting the right concrete tools or to learn more about best concrete stamping practices.