Why is My Stamped Concrete Chipping? |Why Is My Stamped Concrete Flaking?

Why is My Stamped Concrete Chipping?

Stamped concrete is a wonderful decorative surface, but often it does not hold up well. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with stamped concrete, and those factors can cause the surface to chip. Some factors that can lead to stamped concrete chipping include:

  • The quality of the concrete mix or concrete was not mixed properly
  • The method used to apply the stamped concrete
  • The surface that the stamped concrete is applied to
  • How concrete stamping was done
  • How deep the stamping is done
  • The finishing coat wasn’t applied properly
  • The amount of moisture is in the environment. The weather was too hot or cold
  • How much traffic was on the surface of the stamped concrete before it chipped
  • The surfaces of the concrete aren’t completely clean which can cause the concrete to have air bubbles
  • Poorly sealed stamped concrete surfaces
  • Stamped concrete surfaces that are not completely clean before being applied. This can cause air bubbles in the concrete that will lead to chipping.

Once you have determined the factors leading to stamped concrete chipping, you will need to treat the problem area of the stamped concrete. There are several steps you can take to make sure that the stamped concrete will not chip again.

  1. Clean off the damaged area of the concrete. Scrub the surface so that all dirt and grime is removed from the area.
  2. Once the surface is clean, use a pressure washer to rinse off any soap from the stamped concrete and make sure it is cleaned. Pressure washing will help remove loose debris that can cause problems later on with your stamped concrete chipping or peeling off of your cement surface.
  3. The next step is to repair the chipped areas. Start by using a cement admixture, adhesive or grout filler to fill in any cracks and chips in the surface of the stamped concrete. The grout filler can be a very strong type for chipped areas, or if it is small, you can use concrete grout to repair it instead.
  4. Once you have filled in any chipped areas, you want to seal the stamped concrete. Sealers will protect the surface of your stamped concrete from exposure to UV light which can cause chipping. There are two types of sealers you can use for this process. You can use a sprayable sealer or a brush on sealer.
  5. Once you have applied the sealer, let it dry and then apply a finishing coat over it to protect from moisture and air bubbles that could lead to chipping.
  6. Let the surface of the concrete dry for at least a week before you put any heavy load near it. Heavy loads near your cement surface is one of the leading causes of chipping and peeling.
  7. Once the chipped area has dried, you can apply another color to it or leave it as is with one color over it. This will help to keep your stamped concrete looking new and clean for many years to come.

Note:  The stamping is usually done individually by hand and often come with a sealant or release agent to ensure adhesion and easy removal.

When not cleaned up properly, the stamps can cause the concrete surface to chip. There are a few common causes for the chipping.

  1. If the stamp has not been removed properly, it will leave a raised edge on the surface of the concrete, and when later exposed to pressure it will leave a small indentation.
  2. Another reason for the chipping is the release agent that is left on the surface of the concrete after application. The sealant can be difficult to remove, and when a hard object is accidentally dropped on the surface, the items will show a pattern. Clean up all work areas and dispose of all sealant. Make sure that there is no debris or grit in the stamping area.
  3. If the stamp is too large for the concrete surface, it can cause a raised edge to form and when someone later steps on it or puts pressure against it, it will leave a pattern in the concrete.
  4. As the concrete hardens faster than the finisher can finish his work, more water is applied to the surface to prolong the working time. The addition of water weakens the surface of the concrete, reducing its strength and toughness. This harm is normally not apparent until the first freeze/thaw cycle of the year. Damage will appear when the concrete is exposed to ice or snow, which melts and penetrates the concrete until freezing. Frozen water expands by around 10%, forcing the thin, porous top layer upwards and allowing it to peel off (known as spalling).
  5. Another cause of chipping/peeling is when the surface of the concrete dries faster than the layer underneath it during construction. This prevents the concrete from completely curing and results in a porous surface. When subjected to high use, stress, or freeze-thaw cycles, the surface peels. A particularly harsh winter and a greater frequency of freeze/thaw cycles will hasten the peeling issue.

Why Is My Stamped Concrete Flaking?

Stamped concrete is a popular construction material for driveways, walkways, and other outdoor surfaces for which a durable, low-maintenance surface is desired. It can be created by applying wet concrete to an area and then using a concrete stamp to create the desired pattern. After the concrete dries, it can be sealed.

It is not uncommon for newly-stamped concrete to have some flecks of concrete come off or to have small imperfections in the surface of the concrete. However, if your stamped concrete is flaking, there may be a different problem.

Possible Causes of Stamped Concrete Flaking

  1. The concrete was not properly mixed. When the concrete is not properly mixed, it will have a tendency to crack. The concrete needs to have the proper mix of cement and water for it to cure properly.
  2. The concrete was not given enough time to cure before it was sealed. The following link explains the proper curing time limits for various concrete mixes.
  3. The concrete was not given enough time to cure after it was sealed. After it has dried, it needs to be maintained to prevent cracking and chipping. To keep the soundness of the surface, seal it every 6 months or so.
  4. The sealant has failed and the concrete is exposed to the elements. If the sealer on your concrete has failed, you will have to hire a professional for a new one.
  5. The concrete was exposed to high temperatures like those from a heat lamp or an open fire. If this is happening regularly, you may need to seal the surface more often and/or change the heat source to something less damaging.
  6. The concrete was exposed to water and freezing temperatures. This type of damage is typical in concrete driveways that are next to sidewalks or driveways. If one freezes, the other will usually freeze as well. In these cases, you should try changing the slope of the driveway so it does not drain into your sidewalk or driveway.
  7. Cracks or holes in the slab that absorbed water from the ground underneath and caused a chemical reaction with the concrete, which caused it to come off or crumble away.

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