Not all concrete is created equal.
We hear it quite a bit…”What is it that makes your product different? Isn’t all concrete coming off the truck the same?” Part of that statement is correct. The concrete coming from the plant IS the same to some degree. There are also some very important things that many people don’t realize when doing a custom stamped concrete patio. So just to help you as a consumer here is what you NEED to know….
1. Base: What is under your slab is just as important if not MORE important than the slab itself. The compacted rock (crushed concrete) base is what brings stability to the slab and allows the water that WILL get under it to drain away properly. We always remove 4”+ of subgrade and replace it with compacted rock to give this proper support. It’s not an option in our book.
2. Rebar: This is the hidden secret in a slab of concrete. It’s a ½” diameter piece of steel bar that is laid down under the concrete and then pulled up into the slab itself when the concrete is first poured. This allows the concrete to harden around it tying the entire slab together. This prevents crack separation and lengthens the life of the slab as a whole. Not putting rebar in a slab of concrete at your home is just asking for problems in the near future.
3. Concrete Mix – Again, this is something you will never see and never know 3 days after your project has been done but the type of mix greatly impacts the longevity and look of your slab. An “imported sand” mix should be used on all colored concrete stamping projects. This type of mix significantly decreases the likelihood of unsightly pop-outs in the slab that would create a salted look to the slab. Living in Iowa with our significant weather swings makes this a necessity for a great looking patio.
4. Sealer – They type of sealer you have on your patio affects a few things. One being how the concrete looks. Good sealer really makes the color pop and provides a true impression of the color chosen. That same good sealer will also protect your project from fading due to UV protective additives. A top-tier sealer will also significantly reduce the amount of times you need to reseal your project down the road. We expect big things out of our sealer and having to only reseal every 5-7 years is one of them.
These are just a few things you need to know about when looking into having a stamped patio installed at your home. Concrete can be a beautiful thing when done right the first time. Don’t get stung thinking that all concrete is the same. There are ways to cut corners with concrete and make it cheaper on the front end all while sacrificing the longevity and look of the slab down the road. We build patios that last because we would want the same at our homes.
Mark and Brett