Posted on: 4 March 2016Share
The look of a natural stone patio, garden walkway, or even driveway doesn't have to be an overly expensive or time consuming endeavor. It's possible to use concrete to create the look you want both quickly and for less cost than sourcing the natural stone of your desires. The following methods will illustrate your options for installing stone-look concrete.
Method #1: Dying
Dyed concrete is the coloring method of choice for most new installations. A dye is mixed into the concrete before it is poured, resulting in a consistent color throughout. This means that even if the concrete gets chipped, the color won't chip off so the damage is less noticeable.
Method #2: Staining
Staining can be done to existing concrete or it is sometimes used in conjunction with dying. The concrete stain is sponged onto the exterior of the paving, resulting in a natural finish with the same uneven color wash one can usually see in natural stone. It is also used over dyed concrete so the color isn't as uniform and has the look of natural color variation. Although durable, it will show chips since it is only the surface of the concrete that is stained.
Method #3: Stamping
Stone isn't just about color. In new installations, stamping is the method of choice for giving the concrete the shape of stone bricks or flagstones. A stamp is pressed into the concrete after it is laid, creating the look of joint lines. A rubber mold is often also used over the joints, to give texture to the concrete so it looks more stone-like. On existing paved areas, it is sometimes possible to recoat the pavement with a thin layer of concrete and then add texture or stamped joints to this.
Method #4: Hand-Cutting
For existing concrete, a common option for creating joint lines to emulate stone is to use hand-cutting tools. Concrete saws are used to cut shallow joint lines over the concrete. You can opt for uniform bricks or irregular flagstone. The joint lines are then stained a slightly lighter color than the rest of the pavement to complete the illusion of stone. The staining method used can also give the illusion of depth so the concrete doesn't look to smooth, or a thin layer of concrete can be overlaid so that texturing can be added for a more stone-like appearance.
If you are interested in any of these methods for your pavement, contact a paving contractor to learn more.