Whenever any client approaches us for any project related to custom concrete design, we have found that most of them are completely oblivious to the fact that the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun are slowly but undeniably wreaking havoc on things both inside and outside your home. That includes the extremely attractive stamped-concrete patio, driveway, or sidewalk that you invested in and installed a few years ago.
Cause of the Problem
So, have you ever introspected the reason? Did you ever wonder why your stamped concrete, which you were possibly assured by the concrete contractor that would look good for decades, deteriorated and appeared dull after as little as three to five years? The reason is due to a small percentage of the sun’s UV rays that contain active photons. Surprisingly, these photons are almost similar to miniature cruise missiles. If they strike paint, fabrics, wood, and a few soft metals, then they can blast apart molecules. They can even break atomic bonds. But we don’t make such false commitments being a reputed brand with immense goodwill. The solid pigments utilized by professional stamped-concrete installers with expertise are child’s play for the UV rays striking your pavement directly. The photons simply ruin the pigments over time.
The color even after an effective concrete stamping is derived from pigments that have the evenness of cake flour. What the concrete finishers do is scatter these dry pigments over the wet concrete. Then they apply a wide float to blend them properly with the Portland cement paste that covers the particles of sand and gravel in a thin top layer of the concrete.
This cement-paste covering happens to be extremely thin. Though the cement paste can be a bit adhesive and glued well with the sand and gravel, after being dried it can be worn off with usual foot traffic and frequent rainfall. Pressure washing all pigmented concrete slabs is the kiss of death.
After you get rid of this ultra-thin coating of colorized cement paste from the sand and gravel in the concrete, then you will start seeing the original color of those components. Whenever you closely look at these stones, then you will find that they are often smooth enough. Now, can you imagine how poorly a liquid stain adheres to a piece of glass? It isn’t good. Right! The same logic is applicable here.
Two methods can help you to restore some color to concrete or earlier stained stamped concrete. You may apply reactive or nonreactive stains. Reactive acid stains comprise metallic salts that can effectively react chemically with the Portland cement paste and add color. Nonreactive stains happen to be the films that adhere to the concrete, sand, and gravel.
You will have to manage your expectations while you are using either of these products, though. You should never forget that the photons are still going to do what they are habituated to do, as will any high-pressure, concentrated streams of water. Subsequently, this will lead to the restoration stains fading and not appearing as impressive. Now, if you ask us how long it will take, then we must say that it is a million-dollar question!
If you wish that your paving has got the best possible chance to maintain its beautiful color for the long haul, then we always recommend proper utilization of conventional paving bricks or natural stone. The color of the clay applied to make paving bricks will remain solid throughout each brick. Whereas, bricks that have an impressive rating of extremely severe weathering would be able to defy decades of abuse by Mother Nature.
When it comes to a natural stone, then you will find that the color range might not be as wide as with paving bricks. However, it can stand up to the elements like nothing else. Granite is an amazing example. Have you ever imagined how the color of granite never changes over time? The most ideal example would be the granite headstones at a cemetery. Granite cobblestones are also available in a plethora of muted colors. However, what we most often find is that white or light gray is in sufficient stock at stone supply businesses.
We can assist you any time with the best concrete services and design for you as we put in a lot of effort to make your stamped concrete look better.