First, the job needs to be formed. We typically form for a 4″ of concrete with rebar throughout the slab. In this particular job, we dug pier holes because the finished concrete is going to be the foundation for a sunroom addition.
We back the truck up to the patio and unload the concrete into the pad.
Note: Sometimes we color the concrete in the truck, and sometimes we color it once it is on the ground. In this particular job, the customer chose a buff/off-white color, so we weren’t able to put color in the truck. Natural concrete is a medium shade of gray, so it isn’t possible to add color to the truck to make the color lighter than natural concrete.
After the concrete has been placed and floated, we broadcast the adobe buff color hardener on to the surface of the concrete. The color hardener actually strengthens the surface of the concrete and adds color at the same time. Once we cover the entire surface with color, we run a bull float and a trowel over the concrete using standard concrete finishing techniques.
After the concrete has enough color on it we have to wait for the concrete to get firm enough for us to be able to walk on it. During the summer this might be a few minutes, or during the winter it may take a few hours. Once the concrete is ready, we broadcast a secondary color, called a release agent, on the entire pad. This color will eventually become the color you see in the grout lines of the pattern and in the detail of each individual rock. The release agent also keeps our stamps from sticking to the wet concrete.
Once the release agent is applied, we start laying stamps on the concrete one by one. Then we walk on each stamp to make sure that it leaves an impression in the concrete.
Once the concrete is stamped, we leave for the day and let it cure overnight.
The next day we return and wash the excess color release. This is the part of the process that gives stamped concrete it’s multi-colored look.
We let the concrete dry (usually overnight) and return one more time to apply the sealer. You will notice that the sealer really enhances the final color of the stamped concrete patio.
Here is a photo of the completed stamped concrete patio.