If you want to create a big, beautiful change in your landscaping, try using stamped concrete. The beautiful effects that are possible with stamped concrete are just part of the total package. You can also get one of the most durable paving materials you can buy, as long as it is installed properly. Long-lasting stamped concrete starts with the basics. You need the right tools, good materials, an experienced installer, and ideal jobsite conditions. Below are five important dos and don’ts to discuss with your contractor before they begin the work.
Don’t overlook preparation
A well-compacted subgrade is essential to the structural integrity of the concrete slab. It also helps drainage and can prevent soil erosion under the concrete. Be sure your contractor knows this and knows how to prevent any problems from happening.
Do install joints: this controls cracking
In order for joints to be effective, they must be cut to a depth of at least one-quarter the slab thickness. If you are worried that the joints will detract from the appearance of the stamped surface, ask your contractor to hide the joints by incorporating them into the lines of the pattern whenever possible.
Do insist on the right concrete mix
Will your stamped concrete be exposed to freezing, thawing, deicing chemicals, and wear and tear from foot or even vehicle traffic? Each of these factors are important to consider. If your concrete will be exposed to any of these things, be sure to get a concrete mix that is designed for high performance. In particular, pay close attention to the water-cement ratio, or the amount of water in proportion to the cement. If too much water is added, the concrete will be weakened and may be more prone to concrete cracks.
Do use a dry-shake color hardener
This “magic” powder, which is sprinkled onto the concrete surface before it is stamped, not only adds color, but it will produce a denser and more permeable surface. This will create not only a beautiful outcome, but one that stands the test of time.
Don’t skimp on proper reinforcement
If your slab is on the grade, concrete reinforcement (steel bars or welded wire mesh) is necessary to augment strength and help control cracks. This is true for driveways, as well as any other surfaces that may support vehicle traffic. If you are concerned about this problem, be sure to talk with your contractor to make sure they properly reinforce your concrete.
Following each of these dos and don’ts will give you better results than you could imagine. Being careful about the proper installation of your concrete as well as hiring someone who is competent will help your driveway or concrete slab look amazing for years to come. Stamped concrete is a great way to spruce up any place in your yard that needs something extra special. Finding a contractor who does this correctly will help you on your way to having great-looking, long-lasting, amazing concrete that you will love for years to come. Talk to a landscaper in Las Vegas for more information.
For more information and tips on using stamped concrete to your advantage, click here.