Topic: Blog

Stamped Concrete Pros & Cons: Weighing Your Options

Decorative concrete has become a national sensation because of the many options it presents despite being an economical alternative to other flooring materials. But just like any story, there is a good and bad side to it. It is important for homeowners and commercial establishments to know these two sides to give them the proper expectation and to help them decide whether concrete stamping is the thing for their home or commercial space.

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Pros of Stamping Concrete:

  • Better Aesthetics – It is a known fact that stamped concrete offers a large selection of patterns and designs to choose from. You can make it look like natural stone, brick, pavers, cobblestone, wood, and more. You can even have a custom design made especially for you. You can even choose the colors that would go on it and make it complement the exterior theme of your home.
  • Easy Installation – Compared to the material it is being substituted for, concrete overlays are a lot easier to install because you just pour and spread the overlay mixture and stamping can begin. Other flooring materials, on the other, need to be installed piece by piece. Some may even require a complete concrete overhaul.
  • Economical – In a nutshell,  concrete stamped overlay is a lot more affordable than natural stone, brick, and even pavers. Although it does look expensive, it costs less and lasts long enough to make the investment worthwhile.
  • Low Maintenance – If you ever had real stone or bricks installed before, you know how weeds can grow in between units and how they can become uneven as time goes by. This will never be an issue with a stamped surface because it is one continuous piece of concrete overlay. Not even joints or scorelines could make it high maintenance.

Cons of Stamped Concrete:

  • Simulates Aesthetics Only – Concrete stamp patterns may make an overlay resemble an expensive flooring material but it can only mimic its visual features, not its durability or any other good features. Natural stone is known to be very durable and a stamped version can not replicate that.
  • Cracks – Just like most concrete, it is prone to cracking. However, the cracking often depends on the old concrete slab it is applied on. If there is an existing movement or crack under the overlay, then it is most likely for the top layer to crack at one point. But if the old concrete is in good condition and the subgrade has been properly prepared and compacted, cracks could be minimized.
  • Color Retouching – There may come a time that the custom stains or colors on a stamped concrete surface would fade away, chip off, or peel. It can be retouched but do not expect the contractor to get it exactly as it was. There may be quite a difference but then it isn’t a total disadvantage if it still looks decorative.

Concrete Staining: Choosing the Right Stain for Indoor or Outdoor Space

concrete staining PhiladelphiaWhen it comes to construction and remodeling, concrete has always been a popular choice. The great thing about this material is that it is very versatile. Despite its tried and tested durability, it can be customized to look more decorative. Concrete is known to have a porous surface, making it an ideal base for concrete stain colors. These stains are meant to turn a grey surface into something more aesthetically pleasing. More and more people are preferring stained concrete floors because of the wide selection of colors to choose from and the affordability of such enhancement. However, how would you know if you are using the right stain for your indoor or outdoor project?

Staining Concrete on Indoor Floors

Stains can be used indoors, be it acid-based or water-based, but there is more preparation involved in an acid stain concrete application. The areas that would not be stained needs to be covered well and the installer needs to wear protective gear to prevent inhalation of any fumes, especially because they are in an enclosed area. According to professional contractors who specialize in how to stain concrete, water-based stain works great indoors because it only has to deal with foot traffic. So even if it is just applied topically, the concrete stain stays vibrant for a longer time. When we say indoor floors, this would be the:

  • Living room
  • Kitchen
  • Bedroom
  • Hallway
  • Basement
  • Garage

Concrete Staining on Outdoor Floors

Outdoor floors are more prone to damage because it has to endure the changes in weather and temperature outside. For this reason, it would be a lot more ideal to use an acid-based staining concrete solution. This penetrates deep into the concrete so you won’t have to worry about peeling or premature fading. The chemical in this type of stain also creates unique and definitely random color effects and patterns on the concrete because of how it would react to the natural salt in concrete. It gives a sort of stone effect look, thus, making it a lot more ideal for floors that are closer to nature, such as:

  • Patios
  • Pool decks
  • Front entry ways
  • Walkways
  • Sidewalks
  • Driveways
  • concrete stain colors Philly

There are many different kinds of stains, but these two are the most common. If you are unsure of your choices, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of an experienced contractor. This way, you can make sure that your concrete floors become a great investment for you.


Top 5 Concrete Patio Trends

Outdoor living space is almost a necessity in most homes in various states in the country, including Philadelphia. While the humid summers would be better spent outdoors, locals need not go too far to do so. Nowadays, patios have become the place to be when spending time at home. Just like in fashion, the concrete patio Philadelphia trends change to meet the demands of people. Here are some of them:

Non-traditional Surfaces

Gone are the days when wood dominated the patio flooring. It is still a good material to use but it can be quite troublesome when wood-eating pests get in the picture. Today, decorative stamped concrete Philadelphia floors are becoming more and more popular. The range of options it provides gives every homeowner the opportunity to choose a design or pattern that would fully satisfy their needs and wants.

stamped concrete patio Philadelphia

Extending the Indoors

One important factor in choosing furniture are those that can withstand outdoor weather. This, however, often restricts the design and material selection. Now, the selection is so wide that it’s almost like bringing the indoors outside. Patios now feature living rooms, dining areas, and even kitchens!

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Multi-use Fire Features

Fire pits are a lot more preferable nowadays because of its small size and portability. To make the feature a lot more desirable, it can now be used for more things other than just for heat and illumination. The designs available can make it a focal point in any patio. Also, some innovative designers have incorporated a wooden element that, when used to cover a fire pit, turns it into a table.

concrete patio firepit Philly

Outdoor Lighting

Not only is this a safety feature, it is also one that is uber dramatic. Spending time outdoors in the hot humid nights in Philadelphia would be best enjoyed with enough lighting. LED lights are the best option because it provides a more ideal brightness at a less electricity-consuming rate.

concrete-patio-outdoor-lighting-Philly

Photo credit: Greenville LED Patio Lighting

Vertical “Food” Gardens

Imagine a stamped concrete patio Philadelphia garden with edible plants. It is a great addition to any patio especially with the sustainable options trending nowadays. If you are worried that it would eat up space, a vertical garden is the best solution. The plants are arranged on a wall or a specially-made hanging area so that the walking and sitting space are preserved. Herbs, vegetables, and fruits are highly recommended because, not only do they make the patio looks nice and colorful, they are very handy, too, when you need to whip up your special dish!

concrete patio vertical garden

Photo credit: AKADesign.CA


Choosing the Right Garage Flooring

garage floors PhiladelphiaSelecting the right type of flooring material to use relies on several factors. For garage floors, it would be absurd to use something as delicate as cork. The flooring material needs to be something that can put up with the various ways a garage is used without compromising the need for an attractive walking surface. If you are rethinking the garage floor, here are some of the factors that need deep thought and consideration:

Use

What will the garage be used for? It is an obvious fact that a garage is a place to park a vehicle. However, not everyone uses it that way. Some use it for storage or even a workshop, be it carpentry or auto mechanics. Once you are sure of what the garage is mostly used for, it would be easy to choose a garage flooring Philadelphia material.

Aesthetics

How do you want the garage floor to look? Everyone wants a good-looking garage floor, who doesn’t? If you want something quite industrial and contemporary, a concrete floor is always a good option. However, if you want it to be more decorative, there are certain coatings, such as epoxy, that can be customized to your liking. Microchips, that come in a variety of colors, can be broadcasted onto the first coating to create a terrazzo-like appearance.

Durability

Garage floors Philadelphia need to be extra durable to handle impact and resist stains. The need for something durable can somehow be associated with finding out the what the garage would be used for. There are various durable flooring materials but one of the most highly recommended is an epoxy flooring Philadelphia material. This two-part material is highly resistant to impact, stains, abrasion, and other damage-causing factors.

Budget

Sometimes, budget can limit your options when it comes to flooring materials. It is easy to fall in love with a beautiful material and it can be heartbreaking to find out how expensive it is. For garage floors, polyurea polyaspartic is probably the most durable coating available today. However, it is quite expensive because of that feature and the fact that it only requires a day to install and dry. As an alternative, epoxy floor coating is the closest most durable coating for use on garage floors. The great thing about it is that it is more affordable, too. It is highly recommended to consult a professional contractor to get a good estimate of how much garage flooring would cost.


What You Need to Know About Concrete Repair

concrete overlays PhiladelphiaConcrete was and will always be the material of choice in most construction or remodeling projects. Why? Because it is durable, versatile, and a great base material. Although it can last for several years, if properly installed, several factors could cause some issues like cracks, scaling, spalling, and more. Before you call for help, it is important to be guided when it comes to concrete repair Philadelphia services.

Is it necessary?

It is important to assess all concrete surfaces regularly to catch damage at the earliest possible. It can be difficult to determine the extent of damage on your own which is why it is highly recommended to consult an expert. A professional concrete contractor in Philadelphia would be able to determine if any damage on the surface is just topical or a symptom of something more serious underneath.

What type of fix is needed?

There are many different solutions for various concrete issues. The contractor should be able to recommend some repairs but it is important for you to know what they are. Just to make sure that it is something you want and something you can afford. For surface issues, concrete coatings in Philadelphia are recommended solutions. It covers up surface repairs and enhances the appeal and function of the existing concrete slab as well. For deeper and more serious issues, a complete re-pour may be needed.

How long would it take?

The period of time needed to complete a repair may depend on the type of repair to be done. Decorative concrete overlays in Philadelphia may take 3 days to a week to complete since it may involve some stamping, stenciling, engraving, or staining. Some coatings, like polyurea polyaspartic, takes only a day to install and dry, making it an ideal coating material for urgent resurfacing projects.

How much would it cost?

Costs may vary depending on the type of repair, the material and labor cost, and any additional accents or customization. Professional contractors estimate costs per square foot of the area that needs repairing. Most are willing to give a free price quote for your project. For a more accurate estimate, ask several contractors for a quote and go for the one that is most comfortable to you.

Why is it necessary to hire a pro?

DIY projects are highly popular nowadays. There is nothing wrong with trying to cut on expenses by doing repairs yourself. However, it is important to understand that the more complex a project would be, the more time it is going to require from you. Hiring professionals to do concrete repairs are actually more efficient because it comes with a warranty. You can also guarantee that it will be done properly using the right tools and equipment. A DIY is often a trial-and-error process. If it doesn’t work out, you might have to do it all over again. That means double the time and double the costs.