Imitation stone imprinted concrete: discover the types and their advantages

Both in a new construction and in a renovation and rehabilitation, natural stone constitutes one of the most desired materials of any architectural and interior design project. A coating with an enveloping aesthetic finish, almost hypnotic, that hides behind it numerous benefits from the perspective of functionality.

Aesthetics and practicality combine in a natural stone that can be used in any area and whose versatility significantly increases the value of the space. Exterior facades, outdoor pavements and interior walls as well. More authentic spaces that exude a natural, sophisticated and elegant essence.

The constant evolution of the sector encourages the emergence of alternatives that are equally efficient but faster and cheaper to execute. In this sense, the stone imitation imprinted concrete stands as the ideal substitute. A technique that imitates with all luxury of details the appearance of natural stone at a lower cost and that, in addition, maintains its superb performances intact.

Next, we will analyze point by point the most significant issues about imitation stone imprinted concrete that you should keep in mind. We will delve into what this material consists of and its primary virtues, how it is made and correctly installed, what is the price per square meter as well as what are the most requested molds to acquire such a prized finish.

What is imitation stone stamped concrete?

Imprinted concrete is a decorative technique that has the ability to faithfully, quickly and easily mimic the textures and colors of other materials. To do this, a special stamping and texturing process is carried out through different molds that trace the appearance and shape of the material that is sought to be simulated.

The imitation stone stamped concrete is obtained by stamping a mold that reproduces the appearance and shape of natural stone on the surface of fresh concrete. Depending on the type of stone you want to obtain, as well as if you want to apply it on a pavement or vertical wall, one mold or another will be used.

The stone effect of imprinted concrete is highly demanded, in all its aspects, for the aesthetic quality it confers to the surface. Spaces are conceived with an overwhelming visual force. A material of proven resistance and durability that do not go unnoticed and are the architects of the success it treasures.

house porch with black stone imitation imprinted concrete pavement

Why choose imitation stone stamped concrete?

There are plenty of arguments for why the choice of imitation stone imprinted concrete, compared to the rest of the materials that exist in the market, is an absolute success. An innovative and highly demanded technique since it speeds up the tedious processes of renovations and provides sensational finishes. We proceed to detail some of the reasons why this coating stands out and will continue to do so in the future.

Customization, above all :

The variety of molds, colors and textures allow for exclusive custom finishes. The result is a very accomplished stone finish that will capture all eyes wherever it is located. With imprinted concrete you will find the decorative style that best suits you. Rustic and rural environments, more elegant and sophisticated environments...

Valid for numerous environments and areas :

Floors and walls; interiors and exteriors; facades of residential houses, interior walls of a restaurant, terrace pavements, area around the pool, patios, parks, gardens... The possible uses of imitation stone imprinted concrete are as numerous as the available molds.

Faster to apply than it seems :

At first glance, it may seem that implementing this decorative technique is complicated. Not at all. A trained professional will easily and in a short space of time install your stone effect imprinted concrete pavement.

Infinitely cheaper than stone :

Quality is paid for. And those who persist in their determination to put natural stone in their homes or businesses are willing to pay whatever it takes. With imitation stone imprinted concrete, not only is this desire satisfied, as the finish is identical, but it is much more economical. One of the greatest virtues of this technique without a doubt.

Durable, but really:

The durability of the imprinted concrete that imitates stone is exceptional, infinitely superior in fact to other products on the market. The high resistance that these coatings guarantee, even outdoors, is reflected in their lifespan. And if there is a determining factor in the dilemma of choosing between one building material or another, it is this. It will remain intact for a very, very long time.

Adaptable to any shape and terrain :

It doesn't matter the shape or size of the surface to be transformed with the imitation stone imprinted concrete. This material fits perfectly to any terrain and irregularity of it.

Advantages of stone imitation imprinted concrete

The imitation stone imprinted concrete hides many more virtues that justify its increasing popularity year after year. A low relief coating with which surprising effects on floors and walls are guaranteed, but above all practical and functional. The peace of mind of having a material with such conditions is priceless.

1. Enjoy non-slip floors

Slips have no place on a pavement configured with this material. The relief of its specific molds gives it an enviable anti-slip property. An advantage that makes the stone imitation imprinted concrete perfect for decorating areas exposed to water such as gardens, parks or the area around the pool.

2. 100% waterproof finishes

A non-slip condition closely linked with the waterproofing that it provides to treated coatings. The varnish or resin to seal the floor or wall gives it total protection against water and other external products.

3. Minimal maintenance, without special care

Exhaustive and constant care belongs to other materials, not the case of imitation stone imprinted concrete. You will only have to clean it from time to time with water, sweep with a broom and renew the varnish every 2-3 years so that it shines like the first day. Zero complications and full comfort.

4. Superior mechanical resistances

If there is one advantage to highly value about this material, it is its resistance to multiple factors. It resists wear by abrasion, high traffic, erosion, temperature changes, sun exposure, and rain, etc. outstandingly. The overall calculation of these resistances motivates that the imitation stone imprinted concrete is suitable for outdoor spaces.

Types of stone imitation imprinted concrete and their molds

As we detailed earlier, at the beginning of this news, the imprinted concrete needs molds to imprint the desired designs on it.

In the case of moldings that imitate stone, there are different models to make floors and walls much more special, resistant and decoratively versatile thanks to the different models that exist and that allow achieving different stone finishes.

Waterproofing and originality in design come together to create a material that perfectly combines with any type of environment, providing that natural appearance that is demanded, especially, by outdoor spaces although it is also starting to be seen more in those located indoors.

English Stone Imprinted Concrete

Seguro que has visto el típico adoquín londinense conocido como piedra inglesa, pero ahora no hace falta que viajes hasta la capital de Inglaterra para verlo. Esto es gracias al hormigón impreso que imita este tipo de piedra. Gracias a este tipo de molde, el material es mucho más versátil decorativamente hablando y combina muy bien en cualquier espacio y/o situación ya sean aceras, jardines, plazas, parkings, parques e incluso piscinas. Esa versatilidad aumenta todavía más si le sumamos la gran cantidad de colores en las que puede colorearse.

house terrace with gray stone imitation imprinted concrete floor

Irregular Stone Imprinted Concrete

The irregular stone, despite not having the adaptability to spaces and surfaces as high as the imitation of the English stone, is the most successful mold. This demanded model consists, basically, in the reproduction of the stone in its natural state, which gives places a more authentic touch that perfectly combines with any type of environment. In fact, we are convinced that if the mortar is pigmented in gray or black colors, similar to those of a stone in full nature, it is difficult to realize that we are facing an imitation. Its resistances do not vary with respect to those of other molds, being very high in any case, withstanding, as if it were a real stone exposed in full nature, any weather condition such as rain, wind, hail or sun.

At Topciment we have a range of molds imitating natural stone and others with which a multitude of different finishes can be achieved on both floors and walls.

Imprinted Concrete Ashlar Stone

Ashlar Stone forms another of the most coveted imprinted concrete stone molds. And also one of the most current. A mold that presents a much more regular shape, combining square and rectangular tiles. This highly combinable pattern and intrinsically rustic design allows to create the most unique and elegant compositions. A current and distinguished touch whatever the color in which it is stamped on the concrete surface.

See imprinted concrete stone molds

How to make imitation stone stamped concrete?

Now that we have seen the peculiarities of this very peculiar decorative finish, it is time to explain in detail what are the phases of the installation of the stone imitation imprinted concrete. A procedure that can only be carried out by a professional who guarantees an optimal result.

1. Project what you want to achieve. For this, you just have to make a sketch of how you expect the work or renovation to look, whether it's a garden, a terrace, a patio or a path.

2. Cleaning of the support. As a preliminary step to the application, the surfaces that are going to be coated must be cleaned so that everything turns out perfectly afterwards.

3. Prepare the ground. It's time to prepare the levels and slopes to ensure the planimetry of the future imitation stone imprinted concrete pavement.

4. Space delimitation according to thickness. The thickness will depend on the weight we calculate the surface will have to support. Normally, the layer of imprinted concrete is 10 centimeters thick, but if we anticipate that it will have to support much greater weights, it is advisable to make it 15 cm. Remember that the surface must be properly compacted.

5. Place a plastic over the surface. To prevent the ground from perspiring and that moisture is transmitted to the concrete, it is necessary to place a plastic after compaction. To avoid dehydration of the concrete, we recommend a policret gauge 400 film sheet.

6. Pouring of the concrete. Add polypropylene fibers to the concrete to increase its mechanical resistance and spread evenly over the support. It will also be essential to place a steel mesh before dumping the product.

7. Spread the concrete. With the concrete still fresh, rule and smooth the pavement with the help of a trowel, float or leveller.

8. Coloring the concrete. This point is essential, as it will give the final color to your imitation stone stamped concrete. It can be done with two different procedures. The first one consists of sprinkling the color hardener or imprinted mortar, which is already pigmented, like our Stonecem® Floor. The second, more modern and that speeds up the application process, lies in coloring the concrete in bulk with quality pigments like ours Arcocem® Fast.

pavement with imitation orange stone imprinted concrete

9. Troweling and smoothing. This part of the process is carried out to obtain a smooth surface, without irregularities or porosities.

10. Application of the release agent. This is essential if we want to imprint the concrete since in this way, by sprinkling the release agent, we allow the molds to be easily removed. We have theDesmocem® release agents.

11. We apply the molds. This process of using the molds must be carried out with a constant rhythm and pressure. If we act in this way, we will obtain the finishes we want. We have many imitation stone molds for imprinted concrete in our Imacem® family.

12. Remove the release agent. If the expansion joints had not been planned from the beginning, it will be time to make the cuts according to the project. 48 hours later, remove the release agent that has been used: powder version or liquid version.

13. Clean the imitation stone imprinted concrete pavement. After a period of 72 hours, clean with water any possible product residues that may have remained on the support. For a deep cleaning, we recommend using a specific detergent such as our Ecoclean Pro or Ecoclean Construction and let it act between 5 and 15 minutes.Discover them here.

14. Application of varnish. To finish, we apply the varnish that will protect the surface and help keep the area in the best conditions. A resin whose purpose is none other than to safeguard the durability and resistances of the imitation stone imprinted concrete. Water-based varnishes, solvent-based, acrylic... Take a look at the Sealcem® family.

Price per square meter of stone imitation imprinted concrete

To calculate the cost of the stone-imitating imprinted concrete per square meter, different factors must be studied individually, and then collectively. What you need to know is that there is no standard price, as depending on the company you consult, they will give you one budget or another. Therefore, it is very important that you know all these variables so that you can evaluate them conscientiously and make the final decision.

Regardless of this, we can emphatically state that it is an affordable alternative. The best proof of this is that it is a material increasingly used by professionals and demanded by end customers. The quality of the materials, the extent of the surface to be decorated with such a finish as well as the complexity of the work and, of course, the particular rate of each applicator will reduce or increase the bill.

So you can get an idea, before we analyze each of the variables point by point, the price per square meter of imitation stone imprinted concrete can range from 20-30 euros to 100 euros.

The price per m2 changes according to the geographical area

The cost of applying this material varies depending on the geographical location where the work is carried out. Although the price range is quite similar and there is not a huge difference, it is not the same to ask for a quote for a job in Madrid as in Valencia, nor in a small municipality than a larger one.

imprinted concrete molds imitation stone

The price per m2 fluctuates according to the complexity of the work

Not all works or renovations are carried out under the same conditions. Depending on the location of the surface to be worked on, whether these have curves or water drainage, the difficulty can increase which will increase the final cost of the project.

Similarly, the thickness given to the imitation stone imprinted concrete influences the price per square meter. As a general rule, it usually has about 10 cm, but for those pavements more exposed to vehicle and heavy machinery traffic, it is advisable to slightly increase it to 15 cm. This increase is reflected in the cost.

The price per m2 is higher if a repair is made

Before starting the installation process, it is necessary to ensure that the support on which the work is going to be carried out is in perfect condition. To do this, in the first instance, it is necessary to check that it does not have cracks or fissures and, in the event that there were any, repair them until the surface is completely regular. These possible repairs increase the price per m2 of the imprinted concrete that imitates stone.

The price per m2 reflects the quality of the materials and professionals

As is normal, the better the material we are going to use, the more expensive it will be. The same happens with professionals, the more experience and technical skills they have, the more this item's price will increase in the budget.

The more m2, the price will be more economical

This is because when ordering materials in large quantities, they are made more profitable. On the contrary, although it may not seem so, when ordering smaller amounts of imprinted concrete, to cover smaller sized surfaces, the budget figures are increased.

There are also other variables that can alter the final price of a work, for example, how far the professionals have to travel from their base, the further away the application site is, the higher the price to pay.

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