Stamped concrete, also known as textured or imprinted concrete, has texture, color, and pattern added to it to resemble other materials such as stone, tile, or brick. The superior durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness of stamped concrete give it an edge over other building materials. In addition, its ability to add character to spaces makes it the perfect choice for homeowners who want to share their homes with a chic makeover.
The right tools and materials can make all the difference in stamped concrete projects. Forged concrete tools allow you to complete tasks efficiently and safely and also help you achieve your desired look.
Rigid and Semi-rigid Mats
Rigid and semi-rigid mats are made of polyurethane and are considered the strongest of all concrete stamp types. As the name implies, rigid mats are firm. On the other hand, semi-rigid mats are slightly flexible, allowing them to conform to concrete contours. Rugged mats are used for most projects as they leave a cleaner, deeper impression. Semi-rigid mats are generally used on slopes or driveway aprons where the ends flare up slightly.
Floppies or flex mats are made of polyurethane, an organic polymer that is thin enough to be bent 90 degrees. They are usually used for projects that involve working up against stairs, walls, and columns.
Texturing skins, also known as seamless concrete stamps, are feather-edged stamping tools. Texturing skin can be rotated and overlapped to achieve the desired texture. You can use texturing skins to touch up and supplement existing texture patterns or as a primary tool for creating new textures. Texturing skins come in a variety of textured prints. The depth of detail is less pronounced than on rigid and semi-rigid mats.
Texture mats can be used for jobs that involve stamping up against a vertical surface, such as a wall, stair riser, or column. They can also be used to stamp along slab edges. In addition, many contractors use texturing skins to fix blemishes and minor flaws.
How many concrete stamps do you need for your project? A good rule of thumb is to use enough stamps to cover the width of your concrete slab plus two.
Concrete Release Agents
Concrete release agents mix with ester/paint oil, paraffin, mineral oil, and additives. They keep concrete tools such as rollers and stamps from sticking to wet concrete. Texturing mats and skins should be pre-seasoned with concrete release agents before stamping. Add release agents to your concrete after stamping it, and let them sit for 48-72 hours.