How to Keep Stamped Concrete from Cracking

May 29, 2018 7:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You likely love the look of a stamped concrete patio, driveway or overlay. It looks like real cobblestone, brick or weathered wood, but comes at a fraction of the price. Or perhaps you’re interested in having an array of custom patterns stamped into the concrete that will fit your property perfectly.

Stamped concrete is a low-maintenance option that many people enjoy. But if the stamped concrete isn’t installed properly, it will wear down quickly. One of the most persistent problems for stamped concrete in Wisconsin is the appearance of cracks. These then become wider and more noticeable as moisture gets in, expanding the crack and damaging the once-beautiful surface’s appearance. The good news is that it’s possible to avoid all these problems by doing the installation properly. Here are some tips for proper stamped concrete installation:

  • Measure right: First you’ll need to accurately measure around the edges of where you want the patio to be.
  • Start digging: Then, you’ll need to dig around the perimeter at eight inches deep, making sure that you remove any blockages like rocks and tree roots. Don’t forget to contact utility companies before you start—you don’t want to accidentally strike a water main or other utility line.
  • Calculate for drainage slope: Lay the patio, making sure that you’ve planned for drainage slope by tilting it one quarter inch for every four feet. You will also need to direct drainage away from the home so water doesn’t seep into your foundation.
  • Compress the subsoil: At this point you’ll need to compress the subsoil under the patio by using a compactor. Then you’ll add sand and concrete four inches deep and compress that as well.
  • Use the right amount of water with concrete: You want to make sure that you’re using a mix of 45 percent water. This will create a surface that’s stable and able to withstand the elements. For larger patios, it will be necessary to use a cement mixer to get this done.
  • Add joints to compensate for expansion and contraction: These are thin grooves created to permit the concrete to adjust based on the weather conditions. Typically it’s recommended that you use isolation joints around the edges of the patio, which separate it from the dirt, then control joints that are designed to compensate for freezing weather conditions. A grooving tool is used to create these joints after you’ve poured the concrete.
  • Maintain moisture levels after pouring: A great way to prevent cracks is to keep the concrete damp for five to seven days afterwards to ensure that the concrete cures completely. This can be done by using a hose and then placing a cover on top that is held down by heavy objects, like stones or bricks.

As you can see, building a patio is a complex and demanding task best handled by the professionals. For over 40 years, Kwiatkowski Construction Co., Inc. has been a family-owned business that has served customers’ needs for stamped concrete in Wisconsin. Our extensive experience in the industry means that we’re prepared for the challenges of every job. We are also a fully insured and licensed concrete contractor.

Kwiatkowski Construction Co., Inc. offers friendly and professional service in everything from setting foundations to building patios. We’re also happy to provide you with free estimates on site or over the phone. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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