Stamped Concrete Project Highlands Ranch

This project was completed at the end of last season (July 2018). The customer wanted to replace the existing deck with a stamped concrete patio. Not only was the deck to be torn out and replaced with a slate colored and textured patio, but the patio was going to extend around the side of the house where eventually a hot tub would reside.

The new proposed concrete patio would have two new landings that would be formed and poured at each of the back entries (one sliding rear door as well as one other regular door) with half-moon landings and steps that would land onto the patio.

A couple of challenges with the project is that there is limited access to the back yard with equipment, so this means that the grading of the new patio would need to be completed with out the use of heavy equipment. Additionally there would be some other "regular concrete" that needs to be poured and finished same day, so the colored concrete for the patio would have to be added into the batch after the regular concrete is poured.

The new patio was about 600 sq ft altogether. Below the former deck can be seen as it is demolished and disposed of, making way for the new patio forms. The new base for the patio is compacted before the forms are set for the new patio.

The Deck Before Demolition

The owner elected to remove the old deck himself and allowed us to take some before and during photos so we could document the progress of the project.

Above, the old deck has been completely removed and disposed of. After this, Denver Concrete Inc crews came out and graded the new patio area as well as formed for the new patio.

Stamped Concrete Patio Prep & Form

Like any concrete install, the new base needs to be prepared and formed for the concrete. Below are the initial stages of forming the new patio and preparing the base for the new concrete patio install.

Many patios and other concrete installations in this area of Denver really require the installation of road base or recycled concrete, this is largely due to the expansive soils in the area. By installing road base or recycled concrete and compacting the material, the new concrete patio will have a solid base and the movement underneath the road base will create less movement for the concrete pad. This means that cracking in the new pad will not be so drastic.

As the new concrete patio is being formed and prepared, a load of road base is being delivered in the front driveway. This road base will be used to compact the "base" of the new patio and form a solid base for our team to install concrete on top of.

Pour Day

Above and below are images of the forms that were set for the new concrete patio. In the image above, this is the far side of the home where a new pad has been formed for the future hot tub. Hot tub pads must be poured level so that the jets of the hot tub can perform correctly, if there is a slope in the pad the jets of the hot tub will have lopsided levels of water which can create a horrible hot tub experience.... who wants that?

Anyway, this hot tub pad was definitely level and formed correctly. The rest of the concrete patio has been formed at a 1% - 1.5% slope throughout.

Above, a pipeline from the cement pump can be seen. This patio was poured using a concrete pump for two reasons, the first and most important was in an effort to protect the landscaping. Wheeling the concrete across the yard can tear up the sod and other landscape, there is not a customer in the state that wants that!

Also seen above, in the lawn are four blue stamps, these will be used as the concrete is setting in order to impress a "slate" texture for the new look and feel of the patio.  Adjacent to the stamps (just to the right of the blue stamps) is a tamper that will be used to tamp the stamps onto the concrete while it is setting. With stamped concrete patios or any kind of stamped concrete installation it is important to stamp the concrete at just the right time while the concrete is setting. If this is done incorrectly the new patio will either have too much texture from the stamp or too little.

Above the crew can be seen pouring the colored concrete into the forms using the ground pump that is bringing the concrete from the truck seen in the street (background). This particular patio was about 9 yards of concrete or a complete barrel truck full of concrete, this entire patio was "poured" within 45 minutes thanks to the ground pump that the forman ordered for this project. The pump accomplishes two things, it allows us to use our manual labor for longer and not work them so hard while also allowing us to preserve the landscape that is already in place. So for the small investment of a pump we are able to get a lot more done in a shorter time.

As the pump is bringing concrete from the truck to the forms, the crew is raking and adjusting the concrete for a consistent and "void" free pour. As the concrete is poured crew members vibrate forms and strike the concrete in an effort to force any bubbles formed by the concrete pour to surface. It is important to knock out air bubbles as it will effect the finish of the concrete faces for the patio as well as effect the overall integrity of the concrete.

After the concrete forms have been completely filled and the concrete has been raked into place, the finishers are finishing the concrete for the initial finish before the stamps are applied. Above finishers are working against the clock to set the new patio.

As soon as the concrete is "ready", this is right after the concrete is set, the finishing crew must come out with the stamps and tamp them into the surface of the new patio in order to create the texture of the desired look and feel for the new concrete patio. Once the design has been tamped into the surface of the new patio, then the concrete forms are removed and the new patio is ready to set for the day.

Below is a short video showing the tamping of the stamps on the new conrete patio that has been set and finished, ready for the stamps. Before the stamps are tamped in a hardener or release is applied over the patio. During the video the hardener or release is the dust that you see coming up from the stamps as they are being lifted and stamped onto the new patio surface.

Once the entire patio has been tamped with pad, the forms are removed from the patio and hardener or release is applied to the patio once again. This hardener/release will set for the next two or three days. This will allow the second color (the contrasting color for the new patio) to set for a couple of days. This will give the dimensions in the concrete better and higher contrast so as to give a more natural look and feel.

After a couple of days, the release or hardener can be removed with a pressure washer. This is typically a convenient time to seal the new patio as well. Below are several pictures of the patio after the forms had been removed and before the sealer has been applied.

Above, the forms have been removed and the concrete set with hardener for the next couple of days. During this period the concrete is not at all complete, the color and "look and feel" of the concrete will not be revealed until the patio has been sealed (this is a couple of days away). As you might see through each of the images, the project site is continuously cleaned for construction debris and other trash so that the workspace is always tidy.

Below, the entire patio has been prepared to set for the next few days now. The forms have been cleared and the crew is getting all of the equipment and job debris cleaned up. Denver Concrete Inc. will be back in a few days to power wash the new concrete patio and seal the patio with a "matte" finish so as to give the new patio a "natural" look and feel.

Final Stamped Concrete Patio Install

Below are the final pictures of the patio after it has been completely cleaned of all construction debris, the hardener or release has been power washed from the surface of the patio and the new concrete patio has been sealed using a "matte" sealant. Most of the decorative or stamped concrete projects completed by Denver Concrete Inc use matte finish in an effort to give the finished product a more natural look and feel.

We have most recently been in touch with the home owner and are expecting to update this post with some additional "up-to-date" shots of the project to show how it has weathered over the past few years now. In speaking with the customer, they have explained that they are use their new patio at least every week as opposed to the old wood deck and they have really enjoyed the added real estate (the enlarged patio). They have referred 10 additional customers to Denver Concrete Inc. since the installation of this patio. It is exactly this kind of service and communication with our customers that has allowed us to continue earn the business of our customers' friends and family.


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