- Concrete Stamps
- Get the Look - Stamping Pictures
- Buying Tips for Concrete Stamping Tools: Advice that will help you make smart choices
- Concrete Stamp Cost
- Types of Concrete Stamps: A comparison chart of popular stamps & patterns
- Stamping & Texturing Tools
- Concrete Stamp Mats
- Concrete Texturing Skins
- Medallion Stamps
- Texture Rollers
- Step Forms & Liners
- Installing Stamped Concrete
- How to Stamp Concrete
- Coloring Stamped Concrete
- Concrete Stamp Release Agent
- Sealers for Stamped Concrete
Concrete Stamp MatsTips for selecting and using concrete pattern stamps
Types of concrete stamps
Stamping tools are available in different degrees of flexibility to accommodate various job needs: rigid, semi-flexible and floppy. The primary difference among them is the hardness of the polyurethane used. For most projects, you’ll need a combination of rigid and flexible tools.
Rigid stamping mats are firm enough to stand on and have zero flexibility. They also have handles for easy lifting and moving. Generally, you'll use a rigid mat to imprint the majority of the stamping job because it will leave the best impression, especially with deeper patterns.
Semi-rigid mats have a slight degree of flex, permitting them to conform to contours in the concrete. They work well where there are undulations in the slab, such as on sloped areas or on driveway aprons where the ends flare up slightly.
Flex mats (or floppies) are about half the thickness of a rigid mat and are made with a more pliable urethane, so you can bend the mat to a 90-degree angle. They are primarily used to work along edges, in confined areas such as corners, and up against walls, stairs, and columns. Floppies are typically available in the same patterns as the rigid mats so they are ideal for filling in areas where a more rigid mat can't work, minimizing final touch-up (see Touch-Up Tools and Tampers).
How to use them
Usually stamps are sold in sets consisting of several mats that give slightly different impressions of the same pattern. The reason is to avoid pattern repetition and produce a random look that's more realistic. To help you differentiate the pattern variations when using the stamps, manufacturers will code their tools by using letters (such as A, B, C), numbers, or different colors.
Your window of opportunity for stamping is limited, so it’s important to buy enough stamps to complete the job without interruption. Generally, you should have enough mats on hand to extend across the full width of the area to be stamped plus a couple of additional mats to start the next row. You will also need at least one floppy or texture skin and a tamper to impress the mats into the fresh concrete. Some small jobs, such as a walkway or patio, may only require a few stamps. Commercial projects may require 20 or more stamps so crews can work on several rows at a time.
To accurately figure out how many stamps to purchase, you need to know the dimensions of the tool of choice. For example, if you plan to purchase 24x24-inch stamping mats for a residential driveway 20 feet wide, you would need 10 mats to span the 20-foot width, plus two additional tools.
Concrete stamp buying tips
When buying stamps, there are a number of important characteristics you should look for to distinguish a high-quality stamp from an inferior product:
- Do the tools fit together tightly, with no perceptible gaps?
- Is the stamp thickness consistent? You don't want to purchase a stamp that's 1/2 inch thick on one side and 1 inch thick on the other.
- Is the weight of the tool manageable for one man, yet strong enough to support the weight of multiple men during installation?
- With rectangular stamps, are edges and corners straight and do the stamps align properly?
- Is any excess plastic hanging from the edges of the stamp?
- Are the handles on the stamp firmly affixed, without protruding through to the bottom of the tool? Is the texture crisp and sharp? Does it look realistic? Is the face of the tool free of bubbles and blemishes?
- Is there enough variation in pattern and texture from tool to tool to ensure a random look?
- Is the price in line with similar products? You get what you pay for, so avoid bargain-basement deals.
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