Stamped concrete is all the rage in construction projects these days. Instead of just leaving your concrete with a dull, grey and flat finish, you can do all sorts of things with stamping. You can simulate different finishes, such as stonework, concrete slats, bricks, and the like. However, don’t limit yourself to stamping and painting the finish. You can use different tools and implements to make a custom finish on recently poured concrete.
Brooming or raking. This particular finish can be useful on driveways or pathways. Dried concrete is usually smooth and slippery. You can add grooves on concrete with the use of a flat broom or rake. Wait for the concrete to harden a bit, and then pass a broom through the concrete in one direction. The texture of the concrete will depend on the coarseness and hardness of the broom. A soft broom will produce a relatively smoother finish, while a harder (usually steel-bristled) broom or rake will produce a coarser effect.
Swirling. This kind of design is easy to do with a trowel. Use the edge of a trowel and move across the concrete in arcs. You can produce wave-like patterns if you do it in regular intervals. However, you can also produce a random effect by just moving your trowel in random arcs, interconnecting at the ends.
Checker board. Create a grid on your drying concrete by using lumber as guides. Run a flat trowel or a bull float in alternating and perpendicular directions to produce this effect.
Exposed aggregate. Exposed aggregate is adding aggregate into concrete, and then washing the surface to expose the pebbles. As the concrete dries, spread small pebbles into the concrete, and press with a board or float until these are almost no longer visible. When the concrete is nearly setting, wash the surface with running water and scrub with a stiff broom to expose the pebbles. Then, leave the concrete to dry and set for another four hours. After this, scrub the surface again with a solution of 20% muriatic acid and water.
Flagstone effect. You can draw lines on the concrete to mimic the effect of using flagstone. Draw lines to create recesses on the concrete. These should meet at random points. Recesses on concrete can also help with water drainage and can further help create a non-slippery surface.
Stamping. Lastly, you can try stamping your concrete, for easy customization. You can purchase custom stamping tools at the hardware or home improvement store. You can check the catalog of custom stamping companies for ideas.
You can combine these different finishing techniques to produce a more dramatic effect on your concrete. Remember to create a custom finish depending on the need and application. For example, a driveway might need a larger pattern. Your backyard might need a more textured surface if it has a swimming pool, though, to prevent any slips. Remember that once cured, your concrete’s finish will be difficult to remedy, and will require another pouring if you get it wrong.