Granite, flagstaff stones, brickwork, and cobblestones can transform your house into a grand and luxurious vacation house. However, changing out your current concrete is a big investment. Fortunately, there is a more cost-efficient choice that can mimic the look of expensive slates—stamping a concrete patio. This is done by literally stamping textures on wet concrete so that when it dries, the stamped concrete will look like the real thing. Here’s how to stamp an existing concrete patio:
- Clean the concrete patio. Remove everything on the patio like pots of plants, chairs, and dirt. Wash the patio with garden hose and pay more attention on the sides, where dirt usually builds up. Sometimes, brushing the concrete is necessary to remove more dirt. The concrete must be completely dry before you pour the cement.
- Create the forming boards. These materials will be used to shape the concrete. The board may follow the same shape of the existing patio. Be a little creative by trying other board patterns such as the round and curvy ones. Form the board using about four-inch pieces of wood and then nail them on the pattern’s edges. Wipe generous amount of cooking oil on the forming board so that the concrete will not stick on them. Sometimes, this is not necessary since the wood has a natural ability to come off the hardened concrete. But to be sure, better grease the forming board.
- Mix the cement. Add gravel and sand to the cement and mix them well in a cement mixer or by using a shovel. You may add the cement color hardener now or you may do this after pouring the cement on the concrete patio.
- Pour the cement into the forming board. Slowly pour the cement to prevent spilling, especially on narrower areas. Smooth out the surface using a wooden or metal float to remove air from the cement and make it even.
- Add color release. The adding of color release achieves two purposes — to add accent color and prevent the stamp from sticking on the concrete. Apply the color release by spreading it on the surface if it is powder, or spraying it on if it is liquid.
- Prepare the stamps. You may liberally spread petroleum jelly on every stamp. Doing this is extremely important if you did not apply color release prior to stamping. Petroleum jelly will make sure that the stamps will easily and neatly come off the hardened cement.
- Stamp the concrete patio. Lay down the stamps to your desired pattern. You may lay them down in succession until the entire concrete is covered. Hammer each stamp a little bit for better stamped design. Some would walk on the stamps for better engraving. Leave the patio and the stamps on for about 24 hours.
- Remove the stamps. Try to lift one stamp and if it comes off easily, continue on lifting all the stamps. If not, use a pressure washer to gently lift up the stamps. Remove each stamp carefully and then let the concrete dry.
Finish the stamping job with a sealer to protect the design and make the concrete patio look shiny. Use only one coat of sealer to prevent the patio from getting slippery.