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For newly placed concrete and some overlays, you'll need to use a nonadhesive stencil that you can lay on top of the wet concrete and then press into the surface with a float or stencil roller. The wet concrete itself serves as the adhesive and will keep the stencil in place.

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For hardened concrete, however, many contractors prefer to use adhesive-backed stencils because it's easier keep a pattern in place while applying a finish, doing sandblasting or applying topical color (such as a gel-type stain). Adhesive stencils are also perfect for walls and other vertical surfaces. Simply stick the stencil onto the wall and apply an overlay by trowel or spray, like you would on a concrete slab.

Most adhesive stencils have a self-stick backing that you expose by peeling away a protective paper. This eliminates the need to spot glue the stencil to the surface. The adhesive is pressure-sensitive, so all you need to do is press the material onto the concrete. Stencil manufacturers use adhesives that won't leave a residue on the concrete when they are removed. Intricate stencil patterns may also have a thin paper or plastic protective covering applied to the top to hold the design together without distortion while the stencil is stuck onto the concrete. After the stencil is secure, the protective covering is removed.

A disadvantage of adhesive stencils is that they aren't reusable, whereas some nonadhesive stencils made of plastic can be washed off and reused on other projects. Adhesive stencils also must be applied to a smooth surface to ensure good contact. For overlays or coatings that are sprayed on rather than trowel applied, you may not need to use a stencil with a self-adhesive backing.

Featured Products
Reusable Urethane Stencils New Technology - leaves crisp clean designs
Decorative Stencils Adhesive or non-adhesive, slate, brick, etc.
Paper Stencils Thick, tear resistant & a wide variety of patterns

Adhesive Stencils in Action

Creating a complex design or intricate logo on a concrete floor takes the skills and tools of the pros. An adhesive stencil can make all the difference in the final result. Over the years we have seen a lot of great stenciling projects. Here are some great examples of concrete work created using stock and custom adhesive stencils.

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  • Stencils Add Sophistication
    The floor in this upscale consignment shop was resurfaced with a decorative concrete overlay. Adhesive stencils from Modello Designs were adhered and colored with stains and dyes. The understated stenciled accents and borders add sophistication to the design.
    -- Project submitted by Don Pinger, Custom Concrete Solutions, West Hartford, Conn.
  • Stenciled Rug
    This home's dining room floor was stenciled to look like an area rug. A Modello stencil was applied and dyes were used to create the design. The end result is definitely a conversation piece.
    -- Project submitted by Lorena Herriot, Image-N-Concrete Designs, Larkspur, Colo.
  • Lighthouse Stencil
    The entryway of this home was stenciled using a Flattoo from Surface Gel Tek. The homeowner had requested an image from a bottle of Sammy Hagar tequila, which the contractor had turned into an adhesive vinyl stencil. Colormaker dyes were used because they are quick-drying and less likely to bleed.
    -- Project submitted by Evan Lloyd, Solid Solutions, Fresno, Calif.
  • Stenciled Mustang
    This logo was stenciled for a company specializing in parts for Ford Mustang's. They wanted their logo on the floor at the entrance to their facility. A custom Flattoo stencil was applied and then the logo was colored using Smith Paint stains.
    -- Project submitted by Tony Victor, Stone Roots, Inc., New Cumberland, Penn.
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