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Exploring 9 Frustrating Stamped Concrete Mistakes

Stamped concrete is created by imprinting a carefully prepared concrete pad with rubber forms. Making mistakes during the process will disrupt your ability to obtain the results you seek. Avoid the following mishaps to keep your project on track to perfection.

1. Leaving the Surface Uneven

The quality of the subgrade surface directly influences the look of the stamped concrete finish. Pay close attention to the grade of slight slopes, and replace steep grades with stairs whenever possible. Also, compact the dirt completely using a tamping tool.

2. Improper Form Setup

The way the frame looks will directly influence the final form of the concrete poured inside. Poorly constructed frames create rough edges and improper drainage conditions. Take your time to create a frame that will result in a perfect pour.

3. Wrong Rebar Strength

Rebar gives your concrete materials the strength it needs to provide support over the years. If pressure from above exceeds the given rebar rating, your concrete pad could develop cracks or divots that mar the finish.

4. Incorrect Concrete Mixture

You must follow the instructions on the bag to correctly mix the concrete. If the mixture has too much or too little water, it will not set up properly, if at all.

5. Uneven Concrete Application

You want the concrete pad to dry evenly to create crisp lines on the stamp design. Make sure to pour the concrete the same thickness all the way across to help the materials dry up at the same rate.

6. Smoothing Tool Misuse

You must gently drop the float or edger on top of the concrete and drag it toward your feet. You do not want to push the tool away from you, or it could create uneven patches across the top surface. In addition, you should not put much pressure on the trowel or you could create a wavy surface.

7. Wrong Stamp Pressure

After lining up the pattern on the rubber stamp, you must use a steady amount of pressure to push it onto the surface. Scrub the roller across the surface the same amount of times for each area to keep from pushing the stamp down too far into the wet concrete.

8. Uneven Color Application

To create a perfectly even coat of color, spread out the pigment particles in sections. Measure out the pigment for each section, and apply it as evenly as possible.

9. Lack of Seal Coat

Once you peel back the stamp and let the concrete cure, you'll need to cover the entire surface in a seal coat. The waterproof coat will protect the stamp design and pigment over the years, despite frequent foot traffic or vehicle use.