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Stamped and Polished Concrete - Who's done it?


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By Andrew in Corpus Christi, TX on 1/9/2005


I like what I have seen with stamped concrete for decks and patios, as well as polished concrete floors. Has anyone out there done it? and if so what kind of costs per SF did you have, and are you happy with it? My resarch seems to indicate that both methods are more expensive than ceramic tile. I'm not quite sure why because it does not really look to be any more labor intensive than a quality tile install. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

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By Paulita in Aptos, CA on 1/9/2005


These prices are really old but here is what we had done in late 1998 on our front entry out doors (half of which is covered, and half exposed to elements) Central coast Calif.

128 s.f. of Las Animas concrete    $464

Forms to create pattern    $108

Labor $1.50 s.f. (128 s.f.)    $192

Total    $764

This was NOT cheap! We have a walnut stain. It still looks brand new. On the covered part we have a Japanese water feature. Water splashes on the concrete 365 days a year so it is constantly wet (we really should fix the fountain!) and even so, there has been no color fading in 6 years.

I highly recommend this if your budget allows. It is very cool looking.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 1/10/2005


I talked to my flatwork contractor about this one day as his crew was pouring my garage floor. For him, stamped concrete is less labor intensive to pour and finish than broom-finish flatwork since he uses a roller. With the stamping, you don't have control joints and finishing is much easier with the roller than by hand. I asked if he offered a "discount" for stamping since it is faster and cheaper and his crew actually prefers it. His answer was no discount, because it is a premium service. His crew has asked him to offer free upgrades on several projects because of this (faster and easier for them), and he declines as the customer is not paying for it. I appreciated his candor and honesty on the matter, which was small condolence considering I felt like a total dolt as we were having this conversation.

Around here concrete flatwork is about $3-$3.50/s.f. in place (my contractor is right at $3.50). Stamped concrete is about $7-$10/s.f. I would like a business where I make money putting it down for $3/s.f., make the product cheaper and easier for my crew, and now charge $10/s.f. for the cheaper product because it is a "premium" finish - that extra $7/s.f. is pure profit. The prices will come down dramatically as more flatwork contractors realize the gravy they are missing and jump in to this market. Imagine, profit of $7/s.f. on something that costs less than $3 - I want a piece of this.

Considering I can have tile installed on a slab for $3.50/s.f. and I can get slate tile for less than $1/s.f., I can do a slate patio that is much nicer than stamped concrete for less money (although more work for the concrete flatwork installer). There are other ways to finish the flatwork that are much less than stamped, and also much nicer. Stamped concrete is "new" though. Needless to say, I am not getting stamped concrete.


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By Andrew in Corpus Christi, TX on 1/10/2005


Ken,

You pretty well confirmed what I had already suspected. I'm looking at constructing my decks of concrete in a manner similar to that at Concrete Decks  I really like the construction methods though I am going for a little different "Look". The construction method I think results in a deck that is both low maintenance, good looking, and resistant to damage from hurricanes. I think that it will compliment ICF construction methods nicely as well. I'm thinking of using a slightly different forming material than what this company uses. Specifically cement composite form boards (like hardiboard), ICF, support colums, and topping off all with an EIFS sythnetic stucco to match and blend in with the house decor. I'd like to hear from anyone who has done something similar. I know I have not been able to find anyone in my area, they all look at me a little funny when I tell them what I want to accomplish.

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By Andrew in Corpus Christi, TX on 1/10/2005


I just found an illustrated wow-to book on concrete stamping here:

bobharrisguides.com

I bookmarked it and may purchase to find out just how involved doing this myself might be. I could possibly do a "trial run" on the patio of my present house that is just plain old gray concrete. This now has me curious, especially since Ken stated that the concrete contractors seem to think that it is easier and cheaper to finish than just plain old concrete. Can't be that hard to learn, especially with a good comprehensive guide. Ken, this might your opportunity!

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 1/11/2005


My flatwork crew uses a roller to finish stamped concrete. I am guessing this is a pretty specialized piece of equipment you don't just run down to the local rental yard and get.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 1/11/2005


Here is a picture of a roller finishing system for garden paths.  Now imagine a machine large enough to do things besides garden paths.

tygarmfg.com/garden_paths


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By Andrew in Corpus Christi, TX on 1/11/2005


Paulita in the post above stated that she bought her forms (stamps) for $108. I am assuming that you would require at least two forms depending on the complexity of the design. I am assuming that it's fairly easy to do assuming that one sticks with a simple pattern and does not try to get real fancy with multiple colors or the like. I'm giving some thought to buying the book and maybe trying it out on my front walkway and/or back patio. A couple of small areas to experiment and learn on before deciding whether to do it on the new house.

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By P in North, FL on 8/11/2005


I have found a website with lots of photos and info. Some really neat stuff.

Decorative Concrete


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By Jon in Ellicott City, MD on 8/15/2005


Here's a place that offers workshops for those who would like to learn to stamp and stain concrete. I was particularly interested in the concrete countertops. Pretty cool stuff!

Decorative Concrete Institute

Stamped Concrete Countertop


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By Marc in Defuniak Springs, FL on 8/30/2005


I have entertained the idea of having stacked stone for the basement walkout wall. Looking into it I found the stone to be more than the budget could stand including labor, (I just could not see me stacking stone)

More searching brought me to Flex-C-Ment by Yoder & Sons. They have a distributor in Athens, AL, Dennis Adams. A wonderful person to talk with and probably to do business with. He was johnny-on-the-spot with his literature and I have signed up for a class which will make me trained for installation. The cost for his system is very reasonable and from the looks of the brochure pictures I think you could not tell it from real stacked stone. On top of the walls looking awesome, the cobblestone floor overlay looked great as well. 

Give Dennis a call @256-232-1363 or look up their site flex-c-ment.com


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/30/2005


Recently did a house with exposed concrete floors. The homeowner wanted to go with colored concrete, as they had heard too much about stains that chipped and left ugly scars. Okay, sure we can do that.

Client picked out a nice color. Added $35 per yard of concrete. Ohh, by the way can we inlay a tile border? Sure... And the field should look like giant tiles, troweled joints with grout.

As project manager, I was beginning to worry. Found a small crew that was willing to tackle the job. All total it cost about $10/sf. for the slab.

The part that ruined the budget was getting a decent sealer applied. It took three coats and two months to come out right. Worst part about the looks was the way the concrete cracked. 90% was in the joints prior to grouting. We had one crack run the other way, and this was a completely non-structural slab...

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