Your new patio may look like a gorgeous slate, but it is not

A seasoned decorative concrete contractor knows this, and will install the concrete according to industry standards in order to best prevent cracks or color mishaps. Firstly, expansion joints are cut into the concrete to prevent cracks from occurring. However, everything from heavy loads travelling on the stamped concrete to land settlement underneath the concrete can cause a crack regardless of expansion joints. Proper cutting of the joints should alleviate this issue, and more often than not, it will. This is called “crusting” and typically will occur due to sun and wind. Another reason crusting occurs is due to the color of the concrete. Darker colors, as we all know, draw the sun’s rays and absorb the heat. Many people feel that these hairline cracks add to the look of the stamped concrete design, giving it an “Old World” look. This aged appearance typically lends to the overall design. Now let us move on to coloring mishaps. Actually, “mishaps” is not the correct word here. What I am referring to here is customer acceptance of the finished color on their new concrete. Depending on the method of coloring concrete (and there are quite a few) different factors come in to play in order for the concrete contractor to mix up the color chosen by the customer. However, as the customer there are a few things required of you in order to be sure you are receiving the color you want. A good practice would be to find photos of finished colored concrete patios, et. And then there are times when this simply is not the case. It is important for the customer to be present during color mixing to ensure happiness with the color. Concrete job requires more than one truck load of concrete. Color will vary slightly from one batch to the next. Placement of concrete at different ages will cause a slight color variation. This should be kept in mind during larger concrete projects, though it should not be more than a slight variation. Keeping all of the above in mind, as well as understanding that job site conditions and seasonal weather issues can affect the final outcome, should have a happy customer in the end. The contractor doesn’t want that, and certainly the homeowner doesn’t want that. An understanding from the get-go that color variation is a normal occurrence should keep the customer happy through to the end. Obviously, nobody wants to spend their hard earned cash on a concrete job that they feel is imperfect.

The process is fairly simple when you have all the proper tools, product and systems. Then polymer is poured into a 5 gallon bucket, add color, mix quickly then slowly add concrete and mix to a pancake batter consistency. Pour on floor spread evenly and thin. Most systems are a 2 coat process that are sealed with concrete sealers. Here are the steps to apply and complete over the weekend. Step 1 – Friday night, after work. make sure surface is clean. Use the kind that comes in a roll with a strip of blue painters tape attached. Then spray (garden style inexpensive sprayer) or pour polymer on floor and mop on surface. If room temperature is comfortable and slab is room temperature, dry time is less than an hour. Then slowly start adding concrete and mix until smooth with no lumps. Let dry for 5 hours. If there are any drip marks or high spots they can be lightly sanded with a 100-120 grit palm sander. This step should be faster than the first. Acrylic sealers are recommended. Sealers should be sprayed on using your garden pump sprayer with light coats. Let dry 2-3 hours between coats. Using a thick microfiber mop will not create streaks. There are a few wax finish coats that are 30% solids which are a 2 coat system. 25% solids wax coats usually require 5-6 coats to achieve same result as a 30% solids product. Each step of sealer and wax application should take 20 – 30 minutes. When you figure total application time for a 500 square foot floor it’s about 5 hours of actual work with lots of dry time. 00 per square foot.

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