Find Concrete Stenciling Products
Paper or plastic?: Choosing the right material
Determining which stencil is best for your project: Fresh concrete, hardened concrete, or overlay?
Deciding between adhesive and nonadhesive stencils
Stock or custom: Which fits your needs?
Sandblasting or acid etching?: Choosing the right technique
For more tips on using stencils:
Stenciling Interior Concrete Floors
My Favorite Concrete Stencil Products
Steps for Applying Stencils in Fresh Concrete
More Concrete Product Buyer's Guides
Author Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com Columnist and Senior Editor of Concrete Network Magazine
When it comes to adding pattern to concrete, nothing matches the versatility of today's decorative stencils. With the help of special design software and computer-controlled cutting machinery, stencil manufacturers are offering more pattern options than ever before, ranging from basic running-bond brick to artistic designs such as medallions, rosettes and complex geometric patterns.
Newer materials and adhesive backings are also broadening the applications for stencils, giving creative contractors the ability to embellish decorative overlays, create sandblasted and etched designs in existing concrete, and even enhance vertical surfaces. Stencils are also available in a broad array of formats and sizes to accommodate projects of all types, including large rolls that can pattern an entire driveway, linear strips for creating borders, and custom-cut patterns for producing logos, concrete "area rugs" and other unique graphics.
No matter what your design goal, there's probably a stencil product on the market that can help you achieve it. However, not all stencils will suit all purposes, depending on their composition, thickness, size, durability and adhesive qualities. Here are some factors to consider when weighing the options.