how to stamp concrete
How to Stamp Concrete
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How to Stamp Concrete

Stamped concrete is regular concrete that has been colored and imprinted with stamps or rollers to create a pattern. All basic methods of preparation must be applied like expansion joints, reinforcement, thickness and forming. Stamping your concrete can add value to your home or business.

Before stamping I suggest you do a trial run of placing and moving the stamps. It's best if you have one person moving the stamps into place and another tamping them. More people will be needed for larger jobs.


  1. The sub grade should be compact and well drained. For better drainage use B gravel as your sub grade and be sure to compact it with a tamper. Also wet the gravel (no puddles) before you pour the concrete so it doesn't suck the water out of the concrete.

  2. Concrete Mix. Make sure that your concrete slab will be at least 4" and a uniformed depth. You don't want it to be 3" in some spots and 5" in others. You will want your concrete at a slump of 4 or 5 when pouring. You don't want it too wet because it will reduce the strength, but you don't want it too dry or it will be too hard to work with.

  3. Choose to have your concrete colored prior to delivery, this will save you time and is much easier. Contact your local cement dealer to view colors available.

  4. Follow normal procedures for pouring concrete. Pour, Screet, Float, Edge.

  5. When floating, make sure you have a nice smooth finish before you start to stamp. If you leave lines from the the float it may show when you are done stamping. Also make sure you edge the concrete well you don't want a beautiful job with bad edges.

  6. Use a powdered release agent that will compliment the color of concrete you have chosen. Example, if you have chosen a light grey concrete you may want to use a dark grey release agent to give the overall look of light grey concrete with darker accents and grout lines. Just check the internet for stamped concrete pictures to help you decide.

  7. Spread release powder by hand or large paint brush only 4-5 in front of the stamps you are about to lay. A good thing to do before starting is to brush all stamps with the release agent. You should always wear a dust mask when stamping.

  8. I usually start stamping as soon as the sheen has left the top of the concrete. You may not have to press as hard on the stamps but you don't want to wait to long. You can also start stamping with your hands to see if the concrete is ready. Just make sure the concrete isn't coming up between the stamps and make sure all stamps are aligned and touching each other. Never stand on a stamp that does not have a stamp next to it. Try to use someone how weights less at the start, followed by a heavier person near the end. Some people prefer to use a tamper to tamp the stamps down but its up to you. You will only want to press the stamp in just far enough to make the impression, pressing it too far in will cause concrete to come over the stamp. Also never over tamper, this will bring moisture to the surface resulting in concrete being stuck to the stamp. When lifting the stamps, you will want to lift it evenly straight up, you may have to lift one side a little to break the suction first.

  9. Cut expansion joints as soon as you can to prevent cracks from forming (usually cut the next morning)

  10. Leave the powdered release agent on the stamped concrete for 2 days before removing it . This will help the concrete cure without being affected too much by the sun. After all you want it to cure slowly.

  11. Remove powder release agent with a garden hose or pressure washer. The trick here is to leave some of the powder where you want it. If you use a high powered pressure washer you will remove almost all the color. Start with the garden hose and if you want more gone you can use the pressure washer. Tip: If you want to remove some of the color off the top of the concrete (leaving the grout lines and deeper impressions darker) use a piece of carpet to gentle scrub the top of the concrete while using the hose.

  12. I don't care too much for cure and seal sealers, so I usually put a low solid (12%) sealer on for the first month so that it can still cure (breathe) without worrying about staining. Then after a month I will put 2 coats of 25% solid sealer on it.

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