Imprinted concrete: what it is, advantages, molds, colors and price
The popularity of imprinted concrete is not a coincidence. Its countless advantages make this decorative coating one of the most used for all types of works. A building material that is the result of the combination of different elements: binder, aggregates, water and some additives.
The result of their mix results in imprinted concrete pavements and vertical walls that stand out for their great hardness and
resistance, but also for their showiness. A most attractive aesthetic that is given thanks to the wide range of designs offered by the
imprinted concrete molds that are stamped on the surface that is desired to be renewed.
What is imprinted concrete?
The imprinted concrete is a decorative technique that consists of stamping molds on the surface of fresh concrete that perfectly mimic all types of materials. The drawings, textures and colors that can be obtained are endless.
Stamped concrete, as imprinted concrete is also called, is a continuous low-relief pavement with a pigmented surface capable of simulating the most varied pieces and textures: cobblestones, brick, stone, slate, tiles and even wood, among others.
A construction material that is used especially in the field of paving sidewalks, terraces, parks, gardens,
garages, shopping centers, entrances to residential homes or around pools. Hence it is known as imprinted
pavement, as this decorative technique is mainly used on horizontal surfaces.
The versatility that this continuous decorative pavement allows and its durability, are some of the keys to its success. An imprinted concrete that is
applied both on interior surfaces and on exterior surfaces. However, it should be noted that molds can also be stamped on vertical walls.
This other technique is called vertical imprinted concrete.
Advantages of imprinted concrete
The imprinted concrete has no limits in terms of shapes and colors. A customization in the design that not all materials can boast of. Also, thanks to its ability to imitate parquet, stone, brick or wood, among others, unique projects can be created.
To these advantages of imprinted concrete flooring, we must add its malleability, resistance and durability. That's why it has such varied
application fields. Garages, terraces, shopping centers, homes and many other surfaces. Facades, walls and floors of imprinted concrete that do not
require special cleaning and maintenance.
Durability and resistance
Imprinted concrete is one of the most durable pavements that exist thanks to its high resistance to traffic. Hence
it is so much bet on this material to cover roads, parks, garages or entrances to residential areas. It is also a decorative coating that
withstands continuous changes in temperature and UV rays. It adapts to different weather conditions, even
to frosts. If a correct application and appropriate use is carried out, an imprinted concrete floor can last more than 20 years.
Great variety of finishes
Imprinted concrete is highly customizable. It offers a multitude of finishes, shapes and textures depending on the imprinted concrete molds used. But also on the pigments chosen to color the mold in question. There is the possibility of combining several pigments to obtain even more spectacular final results. A versatility thanks to which it is used as pavement but also as wall and facade cladding.
The installation of imprinted concrete is quick and simple. Being a continuous mortar, execution times are reduced compared to
other market alternatives. The most complex geometric shapes will require a longer period.
Preserving the optimal condition of imprinted concrete is not as demanding as other materials. It is enough to wash the surface from time to time to
avoid the accumulation of dirt. And renew the layer of varnish every 2 or 3 years, especially on pavements that suffer quite a bit of wear
from vehicle traffic.
Benefits of imprinted concrete
Imprinted concrete molds offer infinite combinations and textures.
Cold-heat cycle resistance
Extreme temperature changes do not affect the imprinted pavement.
Waterproof and anti-slip
With the use of specific molds and varnishes, stamped concrete guarantees a waterproof and non-slip finish.
Does not fade
The colors of imprinted concrete are composed of inorganic pigments resistant to sunlight. Therefore, over time they will not degrade or discolor.
The imprinted concrete fits perfectly to all terrains, even those that present irregularities or varied shapes.
Avoid the growth of weeds
The imprinted concrete, by forming a slab-style pavement and not having joints and spaces, prevents the growth of weeds.
Versatility in interiors and exteriors
It can be used in many ways indoors and outdoors. Both as a paving system and as a cladding for walls and facades.
Long service life
The imprinted concrete floor has greater resistance and durability than many other materials.
Molds for imprinted concrete
The molds are a basic element to carry out this decorative technique. Their stamping on pavements and vertical coatings is what
allows obtaining textures and drawings of the most varied.
The decorative solutions offered by our more than 150 molds of imprinted concrete are unlimited. A range of fans,
cobblestone molds, tile molds, driveway molds, brick molds, slab molds or stone molds.
Imprinted concrete molds constantly being created to offer increasingly creative patterns and designs if possible. Achieving finishes like irregular stone,
classic cobblestones and even wood could not be easier than with IMACEM.
Meet them all and let your imagination run wild.
Colors of imprinted concrete
Imprinted concrete is a continuous coating in which all conceivable colors can be combined. From neutral colors such as white, black, gray or beige, to more intense and daring shades like red, green or blue.
Inorganic pigments are used to color imprinted concrete because they are resistant to alkalis, solar radiation, and weather. Climatic factors to which this construction material is exposed. That's why it's so important to have quality colors that prevent unpleasant surprises such as discoloration over time of the pavement or facade.
At Topciment we have created four different lines of imprinted concrete colors. Pigments that give color to the mortar transforming its appearance and that can be used without worries outdoors. Arcocem, which is the name of our family of pigmented pastes, are very resistant to the effects of sunlight as well as cleaning products.
With our colorants, you can color the imprinted concrete with full guarantees. White, gray, silver, black, brown, blue, green or red are just some of the many colors of imprinted concrete that we can offer you. Likewise, many of our products have their own color chart. See colors
Renew multiple spaces with imprinted concrete
Imprinted concrete is a alternative to more traditional architectural materials. We refer to wood, terrazzo, ceramics. A decorative technique that makes a more economical choice to carry out and also to maintain over time.
A coating that enables playing with relief and stamping and is more suitable for placement in outdoor areas, especially in floors of public areas. Depending on the application method and the practice to be given, there are four types of stamped concrete.
Imprinted concrete floors outdoors: driveways, sidewalks, parks, terraces, gardens, patios, shopping centers, parking lots, entrances to residential areas, etc.
Imprinted concrete floors in interiors: although they are less common, in recent years their use in homes, sports centers, restaurants, hotels and commercial premises has skyrocketed.
Imprinted concrete in swimming pools: the resistance to moisture of imprinted concrete, its non-slip character and a unique decorative touch make it one of the most recommended materials for covering the pool environment. That's why imprinted concrete in swimming pools is so popular.
Vertical imprinted concrete: we find it in facades, walls and walls of residential houses and heritage buildings such as museums. The aesthetic contrast of vertical imprinted concrete is spectacular. Its execution process differs slightly from the paving system.
Create dream spaces with imprinted pavements. Bet on this decorative technique and innovate in common areas and residential houses. Renew parks, gardens, squares, terraces, shopping centers, parking lots and much more.
Who said that stamped concrete is just for floors? Renovate vertical surfaces of private homes and businesses, facades and even historic buildings like museums. Achieve the most unique final finishes with vertical stamped concrete.
Few decorative solutions are as outstanding for renovating the pool deck as stamped concrete. Not only because of the wide variety of designs and textures available, but also because of the possibility of waterproof and non-slip finishes that the stamped concrete for pools offers.
How to apply imprinted concrete
1. Prepare the surface
2. Pour the concrete
3. Smooth, level and trowel
4. Sprinkle the color hardener
6. Apply the release agent
7. Prime the imprinted mold
8. Remove the release agent
9. Clean the surface
10. Apply the varnish
Frequently asked questions about imprinted concrete
In addition to being a very aesthetic construction material, stamped concrete stands out for its versatility.
Imprinted concrete is mainly applied on floors. Some of the most common imprinted pavements can be found on roads, sidewalks, shopping centers, parks, squares, gardens, outdoor parking lots, patios or entrances to residential areas.
But there are also imprinted concrete floors inside large warehouses and surfaces such as sports centers, commercial premises or restaurants. Not to mention the imprinted concrete for swimming pools, one of the most recurring types of application of stamped concrete.
Although not as well known, this decorative solution can also be applied to facades, walls and interior and exterior walls. This is what is commonly called vertical imprinted concrete.
The application of imprinted concrete varies depending on the surface to be coated. The application of imprinted pavement, both interior and exterior, is carried out in a certain way; while the application of vertical imprinted concrete is executed in a different way. Inthis page we explain the step by step of each one of them.
The application of imprinted concrete varies depending on the surface to be coated. The application of imprinted pavement, both interior and exterior, is carried out in a certain way; while the application of vertical imprinted concrete is executed in a different way. On this page we explain the step by step of each one of them.
It is not a coincidence that more and more people are opting for imprinted concrete in swimming pools due to its non-slip condition. One of the most advisable options to cover both the edge of the pool and the surroundings and prevent falls. As long as it is used, of course, a
varnish that gives it this finish.
In addition, aesthetically it is more striking since the imprinted pavement is capable of imitating stone or wood, among other noble materials.
Impermeability is one of the peculiarities of imprinted concrete pavements, so it can be applied in areas exposed to rain as it does not let water pass through, thus avoiding leaks and related problems. A quality for which imprinted concrete pools are on the rise. However, it is very important to apply a varnish that gives it this property.
The price of imprinted concrete depends on multiple factors. From the quality of the materials used or the imprinted concrete molds, to the chosen colors, labor and the complexity of the work to be done. But also from the textures and final finishes. In this way, the price per square meter of imprinted concrete varies greatly depending on these elements. Approximately, in Spain the cost per m2 is between 40 and 100 euros.
Resistance and durability are two characteristics shared by imprinted concrete and polished concrete. Both are ideal pavements for high traffic surfaces due to their great resistance and unalterable to extreme temperature changes. Depending on the use, the surface to be covered and the particular needs of each person, it is more
advisable to use one type of concrete or another. These are the main differences between imprinted pavement and polished pavement:
- In the print, molds are used to stamp different drawings and textures on the surface, so the shapes that have been applied with these molds are found in the surface layer of the stamped concrete. On the contrary, the surface layer of polished concrete is completely smooth and continuous as molds are not used.
- The thickness of the polished concrete layer is slightly greater than that of the imprinted concrete.
- Polished concrete is a material with high demand for interior surfaces, especially in private homes. On the other hand, we find imprinted concrete pavements both outdoors and indoors and even vertical imprinted concrete on walls, facades or walls.
- The finishing techniques are totally different. While imprinted pavement has a finish with relief and textures, polished concrete offers a much smoother finish without textures as it does not require molds.
Although it is not usual, because the use of imprinted concrete is more widespread in outdoor surfaces, it can also be used without problems indoors in two ways. The first, as pavement; and the second on facades, walls or walls.
If over time you get tired of the imprinted concrete, you will be able to remove it without problems. The most practical way is to use the existing surface as concrete pavement and put whatever you want on top. For example, you can place cobblestones, stoneware, slab, tile or microcement, among others.
Another way to remove imprinted concrete, although somewhat rougher and mainly used in large works, is to destroy the surface with a compressor hammer or drill.
The duration of an imprinted concrete installation depends on multiple factors: square meters to cover, the finishes that are sought to achieve, the surface on which the stamped concrete is going to be poured or the degree of inclination of said surface, as it is necessary to level it. Taking into account all these elements, the installation of an imprinted concrete floor can last approximately one week.
The imprinted concrete does not require exhaustive cleaning, although it depends on the degree of dirt on the pavement or vertical wall. In principle, it will be enough to clean the surface every 3 months. We recommend using our detergent cleaner for this.
Ecoclean Pro . Rinse off with pressurized water below.
The maintenance of imprinted concrete does not require much complexity, as it is a very resistant type of coating whose durability can even exceed 20 years. In the event that over time the imprinted pavement has lost some color or the cement begins to show, it is advisable to apply a resin mixed with the pigment of the floor.
Although this is the most used option, we as specialists recommend applying Covercem® Stone. An aesthetic renovation mortar with a very natural look that is ideal for renewing concrete that has lost its old color or some hardness. In addition, it offers greater resistance than applying only a resin.
Cracks or fissures in imprinted concrete can appear for various reasons. From an excess load on the ground, a poorly placed steel mesh or the absence of it, to the deficient compaction of the ground before concreting, among others.
Next, we explain the step by step to repair a crack or fissure in the imprinted concrete:
- Deep clean the area of the pavement or vertical wall that needs to be repaired, with special emphasis on the inside of the crack or fissure. If necessary, vacuum the dust that may have accumulated inside it.
- Generously fill the crack or fissure with a repair putty for concretes. This can be flexible (acrylic or polyurethane putty) or cementitious. If necessary, open the crack well to allow the entry of the repair product.
- The time has come to renew the surface finish of the imprinted concrete. To do this, apply Covercem® Stone or Covercem® Monocrom in the color we want.
- In the case of using Covercem® Monocrom, it is necessary to previously carry out a stripping of the surface with our Ecoclean Stripper. Afterwards, the pavement will need to be cleaned with pressurized water.
- When the Covercem® is completely dry, immediately apply the Sealcem® WT or Sealcem® DSV sealers depending on the desired shine or finish.
Although stamped concrete is a very resistant continuous decorative pavement, over time there can be a loss of color or shine in its finishes due to erosion, rain, sun or misuse of it.
A problem that has an easy solution. Next, we explain how to restore the color or shine of the imprinted concrete:
- Clean the area you want to renew the imprinted concrete well. For this, the use of the Ecoclean Pro detergent cleaner is recommended, following the instructions given above.
- Once the floor or wall are completely dry, apply the Sealcem WT T or Sealcem DSV sealers depending on the desired shine or finish. At least two coats of the chosen sealer will be applied. Specifically for the Sealcem® WT varnish, it can be pigmented with our range of Arcocem® colorants.
The last step of the decorative technique of imprinted concrete consists in the application of a varnish. A fundamental product that will not only protect the new coating from impacts and weather conditions, but will prolong its good appearance.
A varnish that, on some occasions, enhances the color of the floor or vertical wall while increasing its resistances. As a general rule, this resin is applied every two or three years. The purpose is none other than to recover the lost shine over the years and reinforce the resistances.
At Topciment we have developed a line of specific varnishes called Sealcem®. On this page
we explain how to varnish the stamped concrete, step by step.
As imprinted concrete is a textured surface, to remove the sealer or varnish from the surface it is necessary to strip it. For this, use our Ecoclean Stripper product. The steps to follow are:
- Firstly, it is necessary to strip the imprinted concrete coating to leave it in the best possible conditions. With a roller or brush apply our Ecoclean Stripper gel stripper until the surface is well covered.
- When the surface is perfectly stripped, it will be completely covered with plastic for 1 hour. This is a period that must be guaranteed to prevent the stripper from drying out and to promote its deep action.
- Once the plastic is removed, the surface will be cleaned with pressurized water.
- After checking that the imprinted concrete is dry, it is time to seal the surface again with our Sealcem® WT or Sealcem® DSV varnishes or with our range of Covercem® products.
Improper use of imprinted concrete can cause significant deterioration over time. In the event that substantial repair is needed, this is the protocol to follow:
- Clean the area to be repaired well. It is recommended to use the Ecoclean Pro or Ecoclean Construction detergent cleaner. Depending on the degree and type of existing dirt, use one or the other. Let the specialized cleaner act between 5 and 15 minutes. Brush afterwards with a bristle brush and then rinse with pressurized water.
- When the surface is completely dry, it will be time to repair the imprinted concrete. We recommend Covercem® Stone mortar in the chosen color. Apply two coats, allowing a drying time of between 4 and 8 hours between each coat, covering the surface well. Allow to dry for between 24 and 48 hours after applying the second coat.
- In the case of wanting a finer finish, it would be necessary to apply the mineral consolidants Covercem® Monocrom or Covercem® Restaura to repair the damaged imprinted concrete. Previously, we would strip the floor with our Ecoclean Stripper. After cleaning the surface with water, we would proceed to coat the surface with two coats of Covercem®. Allow to dry for 2 hours between each coat, 24 hours after the second coat and just before applying the sealer.
- Once the Covercem® Stone, Covercem® Monocrom or Covercem® Restaura is dry, apply the Sealcem® WT or Sealcem® DSV sealers next, depending on the desired shine or finish.
- If in addition to repairing the imprinted concrete, the aim is to provide a waterproof character to the coating, apply two coats of Covercem® Xtrem. Allow to dry between 4 and 8 hours between coats. Then, polish. This mineral consolidant, ideal for polishing, will improve the surface protection against water and atmospheric agents.
In the case of a deteriorated stamped concrete coating and lack of color, painting it may be the best solution for it to look like the first day again. It is very important to assess the damage to get the right treatment.
If for example the imprinted pavement or wall has only discolored or you want to change the color for whatever reasons, we recommend two methods to paint the imprinted concrete. Use our Sealcem® DSV Colour paint or our Arcocem® pigments and pigment pastes.
Now, if in addition to the loss of color the surface shows greater damage and therefore requires repair, the method would be very different. In this particular case, the Covercem® family would have to be used. These are mineral consolidating coatings that not only
remedy the defects of the imprinted concrete floor or facade, but also give it color to recover the vigor of the initial stamped concrete.