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Concrete Engraving Tools

There are many decorative treatments for freshly placed concrete, including pattern stamping, exposed aggregate, and textured finishes. But what about an existing plain-gray concrete driveway, sidewalk, or patio that's in sore need of decorative flair? How do you give it a dramatic and lasting makeover, short of ripping it out and starting over?

One answer is concrete engraving or concrete etching-the use of special tools and equipment to etch patterns and designs into existing concrete. Unlike toppings or overlays, engraving is a permanent treatment that won't wear away or lose bond because the patterns are carved into the concrete rather than applied on top of it. When the concrete is further enhanced by staining, the decorative possibilities are truly spectacular.

Concrete Engraving Information

Concrete Engraving in a nutshell is staining the concrete to give it color, then engraving (routing) out a pattern. The routed area is now uncolored- thus it looks like a grout line.

Both interior and exterior concrete can be engraved. Outdoors engraving can be used to transform a driveway, walkway, pool deck, patio or even a parking lot. Indoors engraving can be used to create unique patterns and designs for restaurants, stores or residential entryways.

Concrete Engraving Videos

Mongoose Concrete Saws & Blades Video
Time: 05:12
Tips on cutting intricate designs in concrete.

Concrete Engraving
Time: 01:03
Learn about how concrete is engraved.

Can New and Old Concrete be Engraved?New or old concrete can be engraved. Professionals who use a patented engraving machine do the concrete engraving work. New concrete is engraved after allowing the concrete to cure for 3-4 weeks. Then simply clean the surface and start the procedure. For old concrete, a thorough cleaning is necessary. According to Roger Misfud of Brickburner, any dirt, grease, paint, sealer or curing agent will prevent the stain from penetrating and reacting. The flaws in old concrete can actually contribute to the look of engraved concrete with many patterns.

How is Concrete Engraved?The process involves the following:

  • The concrete is cleaned, and acid etched if needed to provide a bond for the stain to the concrete.
  • Cracks, if any, are repaired. (Though sometimes cracks are left in the concrete, which produces and aged brick or stone look)
  • The concrete is stained. Click here for more information on concrete stains
  • The concrete is engraved
  • The job is cleaned up, a sealer is applied.

The job can take one or two days, up to a week. This depends on:

  • The size of the area to be engraved
  • The amount of cleaning required
  • Any crack repairs to be made
  • How heavy an application of stain is to be made (more than one coat?)
  • The weather
  • Operator skill

Does Concrete Engraving Add to the Thickness of the Concrete?There is no thickness added when concrete is engraved. Concrete stains permeate the surface of the concrete and do not add to its thickness. The engraving routes down into the concrete surface and does not add any thickness to the concrete.


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