The Best Stamped Concrete Installation Process

Split-Rok Construction has been in the Stamped Concrete business for the past 26 years and we are recognized as not only an Industry Leader in this field but recognized both Nationally and Globally as an Authority in The Decorative Concrete Industry.
Although there are many articles that promote the idea of using Integral Color as the type of concrete to be used for Stamped Concrete for the following reason I am writing this to inform those who are thinking of using it as to its Limitations.
Statement of Installer:
The color mixed throughout the entire load insures that should you get a chip or gouge
in your Stamped Concrete will not be that noticeable since the color goes all the way through.
Although the color does go all the way through the mix there are many downsides to its use and disadvantages long-term that may insure that what you paid for today might and will likely not be even close to what it will look like in the future.
ADVANTAGES OF USING COLOR HARDENER vs. INTEGRAL COLOR
Color Hardener as its name implies is a Hardener with Pigment added to give you a more dramatic Artistic and Realistic look that will be able to last and be repaired should that be necessary to do so should some mishap such as Chipping, or gouging occur.
This is possible since we at Split-Rok Construction Company document all colors used on your projects and can easily match colors years later if a repair is needed. Usually at no cost to you if it is minor.  THIS CANNOT BE DONE WITH INTERGRAL COLOR. You have to live with imperfections.
Ask yourself?
Do you expect your Stamped Concrete to look as great years later, provided you maintain it? Of course you do. You spent your hard-earned money for something that should last the test of time. Unfortunately the truth may come to visit that Integral Colored Concrete fades more dramatically than Color Hardened Concrete and if you have any damaged areas like chips or gouges you likely have to live with them due to the inability to match the color to repair them.
It’s next to impossible to match Integral Color years later if not only weeks later.
The use of Color Hardeners remove the following possible problems that may occur in installing Stamped Concrete with Integral Color.
1.      Mismatched Colors from load to load due to improper mixing of Integral Color
2.      Colors that fade. I have installed jobs 10-15 years ago with Color Hardener with little or no fading.
3.      Hardened Surface due to surface strength being about 7,000-8,000 PSI   (L.M. Scofield Company.
4.      Easily repaired if necessary
5.      We can provide a LIFETIME WARANTEE since we are confident that you will not have problems and if you do they can be and will be addressed.
6.      During the Stamping Process things happen since this is a manmade product not factory manufactured should accept as a consumer. Chips from incorrect lifting of stamps and poor placement. Cannot be fixed due to the inability to match the color using Integral Color.
Many in my field do not use Color Hardener due to contractors never taking the time to learn the proper use of Color Hardener and also due to it being harder to do. There is a definite technique to using Color Hardener. There are those who are committed to providing the best Stamped Concrete Installations possible. They are the Contractors that you will see using Color Hardeners.
Using an example at today’s prices and using 500 square feet for this discussion. Assume that you paid $8.00 per square foot for a job that could have been Color Hardened and would have likely cost .50-$1.00 per square foot more. Wouldn’t it pay to spend a bit more to get a better job that has all the Advantages listed above?  
We use only the Highest Quality Color Hardeners by L.M. Scofield Company. One of the reasons we use them is because they are the ones who have been in the Color Concrete business the longest and are committed to providing the best product.
We use their Color Hardener because we have tried others and have found that they lack the consistency that we require.
We use their Integral Color when we are doing a Colored Concrete application due to them providing a Product called Color wax that assures a better match of color.
Let’s assume that we are pouring an Integral Concrete job using either a Magnesium Finish or Broom Finish that needs multiple loads of concrete delivered. Ex. 60 C.U.Yards.
Assuming that all loads were 10 yards the chances of getting a good match from load to load are decreased due to human error or just plain not caring enough to mix each load uniformly. It’s all about consistency.
There are many out there who even though they have a License in the State of New Jersey have never had to qualify at any level to do this type of work. They have been taught and in most cases incorrectly, the wrong way to install Stamped or Colored Concrete.
We at Split-Rok Construction are not only recognized for the quality of our work but for our in-house training given all employees and my ACI (American Concrete Institute) Certification that I must qualify for by retesting every 5 years along with our Membership in ASCC (American Society of Concrete Contractors).
If you were building a High-Rise in Manhattan or a Large Project that required someone who had a good grasp and knowledge on the proper installation procedures that are required to install good concrete you would specify on those who were ACI Certified.
Over my 26 years in business and over 35 years total in the Business of installing both Decorative Concrete and Concrete in general I have always put quality at the head of the list.
My intent here was only to clarify what the reasonable expectations are in using Integrally Colored Concrete as a media for the Installation of Stamped Concrete. There are those who are skilled as we are in the proper mixing procedure and the correct method of installation using Integrally Colored Concrete.
If after reading this you are still skeptical or on the fence as to what media to use please ask those who you are thinking of working with to see some large projects that they have done using Integrally Colored Concrete. Ask to see some that are a few years old. If you can see a mismatch of colors or excessive wear you might want to consider hiring a Contractor that uses Color Hardener instead.
Ted Mechnick
Split-Rok Construction Company
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