Sidewalk and drivewayFrequently Asked Questions

Cross Timbers Masonry & Concrete knows there are a lot of options when it comes to determining if concrete will work in your space.  We’ve provided some information below to help you better understand your choices when it comes to custom concrete.  Of course, sometimes the easiest way to learn more is to have a discussion with an expert.  We’re more than happy to meet with you and explain the details in person.

1. What is stamped concrete?
2. Will stamped concrete crack?

3. Will the colors fade?
4. For how many years has stamped concrete been installed?
5. What are some uses for stamped concrete?
6. How long will stamped concrete last?
7. Why would I choose stamped concrete over brick or pavers?
8. What is acid staining?  How does it work?

 

 

1. What is stamped concrete?

Stamped concrete is regular concrete poured to the standard 4 inch (or other specified) depth. While it is still wet, pigment and a chemical hardener are worked into its surface, after which special stamping tools are used to imprint textures and patterns into the surface to give concrete the look of real stone or block. Once cleaned and cured the decorative concrete is given a coat of sealer.

2. Will stamped concrete crack?

Stamped concrete is like any other concrete. To minimize any risks of cracking, stamped concrete contractors must be experienced and knowledgeable installers who adhere to the standard specifications for:

  • Sub base on which the concrete is placed
  • Saw cuts at least 1/3 of the depth of the concrete placed at least every 15 feet
  • Expansion joints
  • Fiberglass strands added to the mix which is the state-of-the-art method for reducing cracks. If the customer desires not to have fiber used, the second best reinforcing material is wire mesh

 3. Will the colors fade?

Pigment that is worked into the surface of the concrete is a synthetic metal oxide pigment and will not noticeably fade for many years. All pigments are obtained from reputable national manufacturers who have been leaders in the pigment industry and whose standards for a uniform product and consistent quality are unquestionable.

4. For how many years has stamped concrete been installed?

The system for making concrete is more than 20 years old. The chemistry has been proven in installations throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in both hot and cold climates. However, the installations made prior to a few years ago were of a single color, with no texture, and by using now obsolete tools which could stamp in the joint lines but could not control the depth of the joint lines. If the joint lines were too deep, they not only posed a risk to persons walking in high heels, but also a risk, in northern climates, of cracking due to the pressure from the freezing water in the joints. Stamped concrete installers now use platforms tools which control the depth of the joints which facilitate the installations of multiple color systems.

5. What are some uses for stamped concrete?

Stamped concrete can be used in all places where normal concrete is used except that stamped concrete delivers a beautiful decorative surface. Typical residential applications include pool decks, driveways, patios, and walkways. Common commercial applications include pool decks entryways into buildings and or parking areas, hallways, floor slabs, and common walkways in shopping centers.

6. How long will stamped concrete last?

Stamped concrete is just like regular concrete and should last many years. If there is extensive wear on the stamped concrete, you may want to give it the “just like new” look by having it resealed.

7. Why would I choose stamped concrete over brick or pavers?

Above all, most homeowners install concrete because for cost reasons.  Concrete can be far less expensive than stone and other masonry options, without sacrificing the appearance of real stone. 

Additionally, concrete provides the following advantages:

  • No weeds. There are no cracks between the “bricks” in stamped concrete for dirt to settle and weeds to grow. This eliminates any need to spray weed killer, pull weeds, or “mow” your patio.
  • Level surface. Through the effects of freeze/thaw cycles, heavy rains, and everyday traffic, bricks and brick pavers often settle, pop-up, or separate. These excessive irregularities pose liability risks from tripping or poor footing. Additionally, there is a need for periodic maintenance which involves tearing up the brick and reinstalling them. On roadways the surface often takes on a rolling effect from such irregularities.

8.  What is acid staining?  How does it work?

Acid staining is created by mixing a liquid containing organic salt and acid (which is translucent) with concrete.  The acid mixed with the minerals already in the cement causes a chemical reaction which changes the color of the cement.  Since the color is in the cement it will not fade.  The results are a marbled color effect.  In addition, by adding a sealer, the surface is protected and it adds a brilliant, resilient, hard-wearing finish.