Why You Should Know How to Stamp Concrete
Adding new skills and “tools” to your repertoire is key to staying competitive in business. Potential clients often seem more aware of what’s available than we are, and they may look elsewhere if we can’t offer what they’re looking for.
Stamped concrete isn’t exactly new, but in its relatively short life, it’s grown rapidly in popularity. This technique can add beauty to a home or business at a reasonable price. More and more people are looking for it. So it can really help increase your potential client base.
Installing stamped concrete is definitely something that you should add to your services. The increased profit you can make far more than offsets the effort and tools you need to install it.
What Is Stamped Concrete, Exactly?
Stamped concrete is concrete that’s been given a decorative appearance, basically.
The final product can look like almost anything: pavers, granite, bricks, even wood. It gives all the quality of concrete but with an enhanced “look.”
Outdoors, it can be used for patios, walkways, entryways. It goes great as the surface of an outdoor kitchen or a pool deck. Even if the client doesn’t want to do their whole driveway or patio in it, you could suggest just adding borders and outlining to break up the ordinary surface.
Stamped concrete can be applied indoors. In fact, it works anywhere concrete does. Basements or garages are great locations where you can apply an upgraded appearance.
The finish provides a fantastic new look to a plain concrete surface. And we have to be honest – plain concrete can be just plain boring.
Why It’s Important for a Contractor to Know
Stamped concrete can open plenty of new opportunities for the contractor. More and more people want not just the basics. They want beautiful homes that have a finished feel.
In many cases, stamped concrete is cheaper than doing “the real thing” when it comes to stone or wood surfaces, too, so it’s accessible to a wider audience.
The origins of these techniques go back to the 1950s. It began to grow after being shown at World of Concrete in the 1970s. We’re glad to say we’ve been part of it since then!
By 2016 stamped concrete had become an $8.77 billion industry (USD) and is expected to grow to $12.78 billion by 2022, according to Markets and Markets. That’s not an amount to ignore. While Europe actually has the biggest market share, that still leaves a lot for North America.
More and more people are looking for stamped concrete, so it’s important for contractors to be prepared to offer it. That’s going to be a key to the future of your business.
You might worry that you’ll have competition from do-it-yourselfers. While it is possible for an ambitious amateur to successfully complete a project, it does take skill, time and planning. Those are all aspects we handle on a daily basis. But we know how tough it is to pour concrete and have it harden right. It gets even more complicated when you’re adding the coloring and patterns.
So it’s not something where you’ll have to worry about too much DIY competition. In fact, you’ll probably get more calls to fix projects gone wrong where they poured too much cement and couldn’t color it in time.
How Hard Is It To Do?
Having said that, we should talk about the difficulty level.
Yes, this is a bit much for all but the best DIY-ers. However, a great deal of that has to do with learning how to pace yourself. But if you’ve already been laying concrete, you’ll have a huge head start.
The issue is that there are basically three steps that have to be done before the concrete dries.
The first step is to apply a base color. The preferred way to do this is with a cast-on color hardener. As you know, this gives a better, more durable surface.
Afterword, you add an accent color. This would be any kind of trim or secondary color. For instance, it could be the color of mortar if you’re creating a brick pattern.
Finally, you stamp the content. This is basically what it says: a stamp with a special design is stamped onto the concrete. This is what gives it its special texture. We should mention that Patterned Concrete franchisees use our exclusive trademarked stamps to create a wide variety of awesome patterns.
So you can see, it’s not overly complicated. Not to take away from the work we do – it does take practice and skill. And, of course, timing. But the work you’ll need to do isn’t so burdensome that it would make it too hard to be worthwhile.
It’s also worth noting that stamped concrete is perfectly compatible with other elements like heated concrete.
Profit vs Effort
As we’ve shown above, stamped concrete does take some extra effort but it’s not overly difficult once you learn the process.
Of course, you have to look at how well that balances against what you can earn. Costs to the client can vary, but the most basic jobs usually cost about $8 per square foot. That can go up to over $20 per square foot. The complexity of the pattern plays a large part in the cost. Other factors involved are about the same as any concrete project, like excavation and leveling.
Basic ongoing maintenance is simple. The surface can be cleaned normally, so there’s really no need for a contractor in that area. However, it should be resealed every two-three years.
While some homeowners may elect to do this themselves, it’s also a great opportunity for ongoing business for us.
Plus, there are so many opportunities around a property for further projects. So keep your eyes open and looking for ways to sell other installations – whether it be a backyard bar or a charming new set of front steps.
Working with Patterned Concrete
If you’ve been interested in stamped concrete and are looking for a great support system that wants to help you succeed, working with Patterned Concrete is a great opportunity. Franchises are available across North America. We’d love to help you get your feet wet and build your business! Give us a call or drop us a line so we can talk more about it.