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Stamped Concrete - Basic Technologies
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Basic Steps in Stamped (Decorative) Concrete Production
Working The Concrete
The initial leveling is perfomed using a Screed and Bull Float Tools.
Concrete Tampers or  Roller Tampers are then used to push the larger aggregate down while working the sream to the surface, allowing smoother finishing and  stamping. At this point the slab should be bull floated (Magnesium Bull Floats) and initial edging can start (Edgers, Groovers).

Coloring the Concrete
Initial working of stamped concrete
Coloring the stamped concrete
After letting most additional bleed water evaporate, the colour hardener is applied. This consists of simply casting 75-80% of the colorant powder onto the surface. Once the surface is completely covered, troweling and final edging should be done.
Repeat the process of using the remaining 20-25% of colorant powder. Using a fresno is the final stage before using release and beginning stamping.
Release
Release agent casting on stamped concrete
The release agent should be evenly cast onto the surface. Mats, stamps and stencils should also be coated with release powder to increase effectiveness.
The release serves dual purposes; it reduces the bonding that would occur between the concrete and the stamp, and it adds the contrast that creates the depth and texture of natural stone.
Stamping
Set the first mat and make sure every other mat is set tight, preventing extra wide grout lines and reducing touch up work. Use a hand tamper to ensure the complete transfer of the pattern. Flex mats and skins are used to transfer patterns in the areas that require less than a full stamp.
For achieving needed textures special texture rollers can be used.
It may be necessary to touch up some of the joints using a chisel or roller before the concrete has dried.
Stamping of stamped concrete
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Finishing Up
After the concrete has cured sufficiently, typically 2-7 days, the surface should be pressure washed to remove excess release powder. The goal is to leave enough release to give you the desired color and contrast for   project. The look of wet concrete will closely resemble the finished product.
At this point transparent Water Patina Colorants and Acid Stains could be applied and additional various effects of aging on visual concrete surface texture could be achieved.
The concrete should be allowed to dry thoroughly and then be sealed with concrete sealant.

Finishing up of stamped concrete
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How to Stamp Concrete

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Decorative concrete is an attractive and economical alternative to natural paving materials or plain poured concrete. You can achieve many different looks, and with advance planning, will be able to get just the right look for the project.

Steps

  1. Choose a color and texture of concrete that complements the natural surroundings and adjacent structures. Special consideration should be given to the orientation of grout lines, particularly in repetitive patterns such as running bond, brick, or cobblestone. Generally, the area should be stamped so that long lines of the pattern run perpendicular to the length of the project. This will help reduce straight-line errors and provide a more pleasant and aesthetic overall appearance. Typically texture runs in straight lines, even when walks or drives are curved. Always perform a trial run, placing mats in the area prior to the pour. The crew should know ahead of time where the first mat will be placed, as well as aware of areas where a standard mat won't fit, and in what direction stamping will proceed. Always plan accordingly to ensure best results. It is very important to bear in mind the location of expansion and control joints(the thin lines you see in just about everything concrete). These will be required and may disrupt the visual pattern you had planned for. Your installer can direct you more with the options.
  2. Place the concrete. Follow normal procedures with a sub-grade and concrete base that meets the planned specifications and local requirements for mix, depth and reinforcement. A normal, or retarded-set, water-reducing admixture, can be used, but admixtures must not contain Calcium Chloride. Yet, non-chloride accelerators and air-retaining admixtures can still be used. Refer to the admixture manufacturer for recommendations on the type and amount of admixture to use. (Please note: Some admixtures may affect color.) The concrete should be no less than four inches in thickness.
  3. Color the concrete. There are two basic techniques:
    • Integral Color: Liquid Color into the ready mix truck. This procedure combines the color with the mix prior to the pour and the slab is colored throughout, or:
    • Broadcast Method: Apply color hardener powder directly to the freshly poured concrete surface. Color hardener will penetrate the top of the concrete slab 1/8" and color thoroughly.
  4. Remember after initial floating and all excess bleed water has been absorbed, you should broadcast color hardener using a wide sweeping arm movement with the intention of covering as much concrete as possible with each throw. Allow the hardener to be absorbed for several minutes until it has moistened sufficiently to work the color in with a wood or magnesium float. One pass with the float should be sufficient; do not overwork the concrete. If necessary, repeat this process in areas where natural concrete is showing through. When you are satisfied with the color, finish with a fresno or steel trowel.
  5. Apply the color release agent. Texture mats will not work without the use of a release agent. This specially formulated powder prevents mats from sticking to freshly placed concrete. Generally 3.5 lbs. of material is required per 100 square feet. As the slab approaches its optimum set for texturing, the release agent should be applied. It should be brushed onto the mats and broadcast across the surface of the concrete. There should be a uniform layer of release between the concrete and the texture mats; thick enough to prevent damp concrete from bleeding through to the mat, yet thin enough so as not to diminish the texture detail.
  6. Choose a color of release agent to complement the color of the concrete. A release agent with a darker tone than the coloring agent will provide depth and shadowing in the finished concrete. Most of the release agent will be removed when the finished project is pressure washed. The primary concrete color will dominate and approximately 20% of the release agent will adhere to the surface of the concrete.
  7. Texture the concrete. At the optimum time for texturing, great force is not necessary to press the mat into the concrete. Timing is critical so work should proceed without delay once texturing begins. Likewise, inspect the area periodically so that necessary touch-up work can begin as soon as possible.
  8. Find a team to help you lay the mats. Below is an outline of a four-man crew as suggested for the largest recommended project pour, 400 square feet. More experienced crews may be able to color and stamp as much as 700 square feet per pour, but it is recommended to begin with smaller areas. This process can be adapted to fit specific project needs.
    • Worker 1: Fluffs the release agent throughout the application process. Broadcasts release agent. Identifies areas that require touch up work. Acts as a general helper.
    • Worker 2: Places the texture mats. The first mat should be carefully aligned, placed and tamped in at the starting point of the project. Repeat the process by placing the second mat next to the first. Place mats tightly together to avoid messy grout line patterns. Continue with mats on hand, leapfrogging the mats as they are removed and replaced in the concrete. A minimum of three mats should be used for smaller pours. Larger projects require additional mats.
    • Worker 3: Tamps the mats as they are placed. Mats should be tamped straight down into the concrete using no more force than necessary to press the mat flush to the concrete. Do not over tamp!
    • Worker 4: Carefully removes the tamped mats by lifting gradually from one side first to break the suction. Passes mats to Worker 1 for preparation of next placement.
  9. Use a high-powered pressure washer (3000 PSI is recommended, but be careful, concrete can be damaged) approximately 24 hours after the concrete has achieved initial set. This is to remove excess release agent from the surface of the concrete. Vary the distance of the wand to the surface of the concrete so that the release is unevenly removed. Try to spray so that some of the release remains in the grout lines and deeper indentations. This will result in a more natural, aged and shadowed effect.
  10. Seal the concrete with an appropriate decorative concrete sealer according to manufacturer directions. When the slab is thoroughly dry, clear enhancer should be applied using a roller. One gallon covers approximately 200 square feet. A light coat should be applied in one direction and a second coat should be applied in a perpendicular direction in order to avoid unwanted lines. Be careful to avoid a buildup of sealer in the corners.
  11. Three dimensional stamped concrete is known as artificial rock which combines a stamped concrete technique with hand sculpting of the concrete. Integral colour is not used for this application but instead a water based paint process or acid stains are used.

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Stamp Concrete. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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