FAQ

Please find useful frequently asked questions below!

Stamped Concrete


What is stamped concrete?
Stamped Concrete is also known as architectural or decorative concrete, which is a unique way of installing concrete to create an atmosphere of beauty, elegance, class and charm to any location. The concrete is poured in the same traditional way, which the concrete can be colored through the entire pour. After the surface has set some, it will be stamped with special stamps that have the desired pattern molded in it. There is a wide variety of patterns and colors available to fit your needs.

Is there any chance that stamped concrete will crack?
Concrete, by nature, will crack. However, numerous measures can be taken to highly reduce cracking. Control joints (saw cut or tooled joint) are designed and placed within the concrete to create a plane of weakness to help control where the crack will occur. Concrete Masters also recommend adding Polypropylene Fiber mesh Reinforcement and/or Rebar reinforcement. By adding a little additional cost up front, can add years to the life of your decorative concrete.

Is stamped concrete slippery when wet?
In the process of applying the sealer to the concrete, we can add an anti-slip additive directly in the sealer. This anti-slip additive does not alter the beauty of the finished product and is highly effective in helping to eliminate slipperiness.

Can I use salt in the winter?
No! No! No! Use sand only. Remove snow with a plastic shovel or a snow blower that does not have metal blades. Never use an ice pick to chip away ice.

Does stamped concrete fade?
If recommended maintenance is not keep up, your decorative concrete can appear to fade. But just like waxing your car, reseal your stamped concrete and the color will be as vibrant as the day it was installed.

What kind of maintenance is necessary?
Concrete Masters recommends resealing once every 2-3 years to reinvigorate the colors to a level of beauty to match the original installation. You can do this yourself, or we can provide the service for you. The process is simple: Rinse dirt/debris off of stamped concrete surface with a garden hose or pressure washer
Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap to surface and scrub with a push broom.
Rinse well with a garden hose or pressure washer until there is no sign of soap suds.
DRY surface completely by using a leaf blower or by waiting 24 hours to air dry.
Important: Do not apply sealer to a damp/wet surface. Once the surface is completely dry, apply the sealer as follows:
Stir in one jar of Anti-Slip additive to a 5 gallon pail of sealer.
Important: Apply sealer using a 2 to 1 (depending on roughness of pattern)
nap roller only. Anti-Slip material will not transfer through a typical sprayer. Apply
sealer in approximately 2 x 4 sections. This will ensure full coverage without missed
spots. Keep stirring sealer while applying to keep the Anti-Slip additive suspended in
the sealer.

Sealer should be applied when air temperature is above 55? F. Best results will be
obtained by applying sealer during cooler temperatures fall and spring or before
10 am and after 4 pm in summer months when surface temperatures should be Under 90? F.
A second coat can be applied after the first coat is tack free (not sticky to your touch).
You should wait 24 hours before regular traffic is on resealed areas.
One 5 gallon pail of sealer will cover approximately 1,000 S.F.

What makes stamped concrete better than interlocking pavers?
First, interlocking pavers have the flaw of dramatically settling within only a few years time,
resulting in an unsightly wavy, up and down appearance. Second, and most criticized by
homeowners, is the fact that grass, weeds and ant hills grow between the unit no matter
what precautions are taken resulting in hours of regular maintenance. Stamped concrete
does not have these issues, you get a long lasting beautiful product with minimal
maintenance.

Concrete Overlays


What is a concrete overlay?
A concrete overlay, or surface overlay, is a concrete like product (1/8" to 1" thick) that has polymers and proprietary additives added that enable this product to be overlaid or spread over surfaces like wood, concrete, plaster, and cement board. This product can be textured or smoothed to resemble any product like: marble, slate, flagstone, fieldstone, or even wood plank, which is available in any color imaginable.

How durable are concrete overlays?
A concrete overlay is a very durable material and it actual has a higher PSI strength than concrete. Overlays on wood surfaces are reinforced with metal lathe or cement board.

What if my concrete is cracked?
We can attempt to repair cracks per the customer's request by grinding them out and re-bonding them with an epoxy crack filler. The crack is then covered by the overlay. However, there is no guarantee that cracks will not return.

Is indoor concrete flooring difficult to maintain?
No, this flooring is no more difficult for the homeowner to maintain than a hardwood or tile floor. It can be cleaned with any floor cleaning product like Mop & Glo. The floor can also have a wax finish applied if the homeowner wants.

Does an overlay ever need to be resealed?
Yes. We recommend resealing every 2-3 years or as needed. (Interior floor maybe longer).

Concrete Countertops


Why should I use concrete for an interior applications like kitchen or bathroom counters?
Concrete is an extraordinary material that is practical, expressive, and aesthetic all at once. From a primal and formless slurry, concrete can be transformed into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. The possibilities for creative expression are endless. Concrete can be grinded, polished, stamped, or stained. Meaningful objects can even be embedded within.

What are the advantages of concrete countertops over marble or granite?
The biggest advantage of concrete is that it is completely customizable: it can be sculpted, molded, and textured to the homeowners desires.

Can I use concrete countertops as a cutting surface?
As with marble or granite, we do not recommend cutting directly on a concrete surface, as it could result in scratches and gouges in the finish of your counter.

Can I put a hot pot directly onto a concrete countertop?
Concrete is heat-resistant but is subject to thermal shock if a red-hot object is placed directly upon it. Like granite, the exposed area may flake or chip away if too much heat is applied. In addition, the heat could damage the sealer and wax applied to the surface.

Is the surface of a concrete countertop safe for food preparation?
Yes, there are sealants applied that have FDA approval.

Do concrete countertops stain?
Concrete has approximately the same porosity as marble. Acids (especially red wine, lemon juice, and vinegar) can etch the surface if not cleaned up right away. Keeping your counter properly maintained will help resist stains, but they aren't acid-proof and won't make your counter impervious to stains. Luckily, like aged butcher block or marble, a patina on concrete countertops can actually enhance the character of the surface, so a spill is not necessarily a disaster.

How do I clean concrete countertops?
Washing your countertop with mild soap and water is the best method of cleaning. Be wary of cleansers and abrasive pads as they may have solvents and abrasives that can harm, scratch, or etch the surface of your countertop.

What sort of routine maintenance is required to keep a nice finish on my concrete countertop? How often do I re-apply the finishing wax?
Ideally, for maximum protection and beauty, we recommend that wax be reapplied every month. With each coat of wax, your countertop will develop a naturally hard, protective coating to help repel against staining as well as remove fingerprints and add a lustrous sheen. Realistically, many owners only wax there countertops once a year or less, and some never do at all. Without upkeep and maintenance, your countertop will patina and stain but this is only cosmetic and will not affect the durability of your countertop. As long as you like the aesthetics of your countertop, the countertop itself can be virtually maintenance-free and provide many years of enjoyment.

Acid Staining


What is acid staining?
Acid staining is a permanent coloration process where a low acid based solution combined with natural metallic salts reacts with the lime present in the concrete. Unlike paint, these stains chemical reaction with the concrete is permanent and will not peel off. Like stains for wood, acid-based stains are translucent and the color they produce will vary depending on the color and condition of the substrate they are applied to. Each concrete slab will accept the stain in varying degrees of intensity, creating natural color variations that bring character and distinction to each project. Colors vary in an array of earth tones, such as tans, browns, terra cottas, and soft blue-greens.

Will colors fade with time?
Exterior projects are exposed to the sun and other elements and are more susceptible to fading unless properly cared for. We do have UV resistant sealers that aid against possible color fading. Sometimes colors may get a little darker with time but overall there will be very little change. Proper maintenance of the surface is critical to keeping it in pristine condition.

What is concrete engraving?
Concrete engraving, or scored joints, is the process of making decorative cuts into the concrete to create patterns, lines or designs. The engraving joints are 1/16" to 1/8" deep. Enough to simulate a nice uniform joint or grout line, to give the full effect of the desired look without being a heel catcher.
What about durability and maintenance?
Acid stained floors should be considered maintenance free. They will need to be kept clean and clear of any debris that may scratch the surface. For interior floors you will have a clear wax, also called a wear coat that will need to be reapplied based on the traffic and wear of the floor. For exterior projects a new coat of sealer will need to be applied every 2-3 years.

How do I know if stained concrete is right for me?
If you love their look, stained concrete floors are the perfect choice. However, if you object to imperfections such as hairline cracks, uneven tones and blemishes (also found in many natural materials), then you may prefer a more traditional floor covering. Our clients believe these flaws add character. Some people deliberately chip, hammer, pour rock salter press leaves on newly poured concrete to add interest or to achieve a distressed Old World look.

Fireplaces


What kind of fireplaces do you offer?
We can install full masonry fireplaces using fire bricks to build the firebox, full masonry fireplaces with Acucraft Fireplace Systems, or we can just install a stone or brick veneers around your zero clearance unit and wood chase.

What is the difference between a zero clearance and a full masonry fireplace?
A zero clearance fireplace has an insulated metal jacket around the fireplace that allows it to be placed right up against interior or exterior walls with 0 inches between the fireplace and combustible materials. Heated air is circulated within the fireplace unit and blown out into your home. A full masonry fireplace uses masonry block around the unit which creates a heat chamber. The heat chamber then has a vented area which allows the heated air to circulate into the room.

What is the difference between using fire bricks or an Acucraft Unit for a firebox?
Using fire bricks to make a fire box gives your fireplace an older traditional look and is more customizable as far as dimensions go. The downside is that it is not as efficient because it does not have a heat chamber and blowers like the Acucraft units has.

Stone Veneers


What type of stone do you install?
We are able to install just about any type stone, whether it is a full thickness stone veneer (or brick), natural cut thin stone, or simulated stone. Just link to some of our suppliers on the contact page or links on the stone pages, to find something to fit your needs.

Do I need foundation support ledges for the stone?
If you would like to use a full veneer stone or brick (4" to 6" thick), you will need foundation
support. However, most of the stone and brick can be purchased in a natural cut thin veneer or a simulated stone if you do not have the foundational support.

What is cut thin stone?
Cut thin stone is a natural stone that is cut to a thickness ranging from 3/4" to 1 1/2" as compared to full veneer which has a thickness of 3 - 6 inches. In many cases, it can be installed without a foundation ledge making it especially good for remodeling projects and fireplaces.

What is simulated stone?
Simulated stone, also known as manufactured stone or cultured stone, is a man made stone. It is basically concrete mixed with aggregate and color pigments and shaped in special, detailed, molds to produce a real stone look and feel. Just like cut thin stone, a foundational support is not necessary in most cases.

Can stone be installed on the interior and exterior of a home?
Yes, any of the stone choices can be installed on the interior or exterior. The only thing to think about before construction starts, is that if you would like to use a full veneer stone, remember to have a foundational support ledge installed.

Is my stone required to be sealed?

Sealing the stone is not required. However, using a high-quality, breathable concrete sealer will reduce water penetration into the stone. Breathable sealers will extend the life of the product by reducing freeze/thaw stress and blocking contaminants from entering.

Is there any maintenance required with stone?

It's basically maintenance free, occasional cleaning may be desired to remove dust, dirt, webs or stains, etc.