Stamped concrete and ordinary concrete – what is the difference between them?
I am a concrete contractor and I talk to a lot of people evaluating and looking for work for my business. Many times people think that stamped concrete is completely different from regular concrete and is a completely different product. This is somewhat true, but the basics of both are the same and are usually specified the same when used in the same application. For example, if stamped concrete or plain concrete is used for a driveway, they will generally be the same thickness and design strength.
Plain concrete is your everyday concrete, used for sidewalks, driveways, patios, driveways, and any time a regular surface is constructed. It is usually placed on some type of gravel or natural soil base that has been compacted. The area is then shaped with timber or manufactured forms. The reinforcement is usually installed in the base, which is usually rebar or wire mesh. Concrete is specified with a desired thickness that is intended for its application. For example, a driveway that handles light and light trucks is typically poured four inches thick. The concrete mix is also specified which is usually a 4000 psi mix here in areas that have severe winters. This is the strength that concrete reaches in 28 days. The concrete is placed, removed, the bull floats, then a non-slip surface, like a broom, is obtained. The concrete is then cured either with water and burlap or the easy way with a membrane forming curing compound.
Stamped concrete is placed much like regular concrete. In general, all the steps are the same, except for the finishing steps. Concrete is also colored, which is usually added to the mix. It can also be colored with a color hardener, but most contractors use integral color. After a bull float is when things change with stamped concrete. Some contractors go a step further and smooth the concrete to make the concrete really smooth. We use air-entrained concrete in our area due to the harsh winters, which doesn’t need to be rendered, so we usually make it as smooth as possible with a magnesium float. After the concrete reaches the desired hardness, the concrete is stamped with rubber stamps. A release agent that is tinted an antique color or a liquid release agent is used to keep the seals from sticking to the concrete. Some contractors will place curing paper over the concrete to cure until the next day, when the concrete will be washed and sealed with a high gloss sealer that is also a curing membrane.
So to sum up stamped and plain, there isn’t much difference between the two other than how they look on the surface. Many people think that stamped concrete is simply not as durable as regular concrete, and that’s simply not the case. The only thing that can make it less durable is the texture of the stamped concrete. In an environment where there is snow, stamped concrete can be damaged by snow removal equipment such as snow plows.
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