Stenciled concrete is a design technique that aims to transform dull, grey floors into stunning features. The method, which has been available for more than a decade, is a good way to jazz up a concrete patio or concrete driveway and provides unlimited design options for style-conscious homeowners. Depending on the type of stencil, it can be used on both new and old concrete, but requires skill and patience to get right.
Pros of Stenciled Concrete
One of the main advantages of concrete stenciling is its relatively low cost. The technique can give the appearance of real stone, tile or brick on concrete patios or concrete driveways, but without the hefty installation fee and maintenance associated with that kind of flooring.
In terms of design, there are a large number of patterns and colors to choose from which should not fade as long as a UV protection sealer is used. If it's an intricate design you are looking for, stenciled concrete is likely to be more appealing than the stamped variety, thanks to the virtually unlimited design options, including complicated graphics.
Stenciled concrete also has other advantages. For areas where people regularly walk or run, such as a poolside, it is important that there is no risk of tripping. Stenciled concrete can be made to look like stone or brick work without posing the hazard of cracks to those using it.
Installation of stenciled concrete is straightforward and only requires the paper stencil to make the pattern, a color hardener and a sealer. Most people with DIY experience will be able to achieve a good outcome the first time around, as the process is relatively uncomplicated. However, when stenciling a large area it is recommended two or more people work on the project. Compared to stamping, stenciled concrete settings can also be created in less time and with less effort and can even include a realistic grout line to make it look more authentic.
Cons of Stenciled Concrete
For many homeowners, a stenciled design is simply no replacement for authentic brick, tiles or stone. Although it is relatively easy to install yourself, appropriate timing is critical for concrete stenciling. Removing the stencil too early (while material is sticky) will result in a messy pattern and breakage. Removal too late (after extended period of curing) will make it very difficult to remove.
When installing the stencil, small adjustments may also need to be made accordingly to match your surroundings. For example, if it is a very hot or very rainy day, these conditions will have an impact on the outcome of your design. Further, although stenciled concrete will give you the look of your choice, it will not endure as long as the stamped variety. All decorative surfaces also need to be sealed occasionally to keep the surface looking new.
You will need to consider the pros and cons before deciding whether or not stenciled concrete can prove to be a welcome addition to your home.