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Who here does stamped concrete, in-house?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    And by in-house, I don't mean indoors. I mean, you do it yourself and don't sub it out.

    I have always subbed out any concrete work to specialists. But I am considering trying to learn stamped concrete. There is an inordinate amount of demand for it. I'd like to be able to meet that demand in-house.

    If I read up on it, got some good on-site help from our rep. (I have a local company here that I work with who sells the mats and is knowledgeable in how to do it.) and did some trial work here at my own house, do you think it's something that could turn out fairly decent on my first try? Or is it something you REALLY need to be experienced at?

    We've been very successful teaching ourselves how to do other work (e.g. pavers, fences) in the past. But the thing with concrete is if you screw it up, you can't just take down part of it and redo it like you can with a fence or pavers. So I am extremely reluctant to even try because of that. Nobody wants to have to jackhammer it all up, haul it all away, and try again..... :( :( :(
  2. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    I do it.

    Yep, you screw it up you're busting it out.

    Is it hard? Not really. But you have to work fast when it's poured. Everything is in the set up. Once the pour starts you better work fast. Oh, you need to know when to stop floating. It can also look great and 2 months later the top pop off.

    I'd take a class or 5 in it. Or hire someone that already knows how to do it and pay them well. Learning from them. You have equipment, they have the know how.

    I simply wanted to be able to provide anything for our customers. From in home remodeling to pressure washing to concrete curbing to stamped and stained concrete to landscaping work. Excavating and bobcat work also. Just did a house where we put out concrete curbing. Installed 20 ton of rock and framed there drive with cobblestone look colored stamped concrete. Also, fixing some light switches as there house just had lightning strike it. And pressure washing there drive and walkway. Plus building shorter height steps out of there home. About a $500,000 home. Old retired couple. They are cheap though. LOL
  3. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    We can do it in house, but I prefer to sub out or at least hire out most of our concrete. I am extremely picky about the quality of the finish, so I have used a lot of guys before I have found a few I trust. I will usually have my guys form up the job and if we have a lot of work ahead of them (which we almost always do), I will call up the guys I trust and if one is available I sub it out. I sometimes will just hire a finisher or two for the day and have my foreman oversee the job if it fits in with the schedule. I prefer not to have to be on the job all day so it's worth it to me to hire it out. I can still make a few bucks per sqft and I don't have to be there all day.
    It is definitely worth learning to do it though, that way you know when you are being buffaloed. I would check with your supplier and find out if they are having a deminar soon. Those are a great place to get your feet wet. Another thing you can do if you don't know any finishers who will work for a few hundred a day, is to call a pump truck operator and ask him for the name of a couple of finishers. Make sure you see their work first - don't believe them if they just show you a photo album - it may not be their work.
  4. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Jim hire an experience mason. Pay him 25 bucks a hour and you will be set.

    Personally i have no interest in stamped concrete. Heck i get disappointed in jobs i have to use pavers and not natural stone!
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    It's not what I am interested in. I'd rather be doing pavers or flagstone. It's what my customers are interested in. The demand for stamped concrete is strong. I get asked if we offer it about every day or two. And sometimes we lose big jobs because we don't do stamped concrete in-house to other companies who do.

  6. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    Take some classes and look for a stamped concrete finisher/laborer as stated above. I jumped head first in the stamped concrete curbing business and took a few lumps in the learning stages. Stay away from darker colors until you can master the art. Lighter colors tend to stay true if you over work the concrete. I try to direct the customers to pavers if they mention stamped concrete since I can do pavers cheaper than SC. Around here a good stamped concrete job is more than pavers for the most part.
  7. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Stamped concrete is more profitable. I can set up an do a pour much quicker then I can lay a walkway in pavers with all the cutting and prep. Dig out with a mini x and lay in 3/4 clean. Pour on top and stamp. All can be done in one day with a walkway. Next day break out the forms and install rock around it. Don't forget to leave runs under it for lighting.

    Same with concrete curbing. I can lay it much faster then I can lay pavers.

    But I do what the customer wants. Lot wanting the red lava now. Which I don't like. But, hey, they want it I lay it. Just put in 20 ton of iowa and they love it. Want red lava in front of the house. Which I think won't look as nice. They had red mulch there before. Just put it in and we're ripping it out.
  8. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Me to sort of. I like natural stone. Hate pavers although they look good. But so does stamped concrete. But for me to lay a natural stone patio or walkway. It's gonna be expensive. Because that's a lot of hand work.
  9. dallas05

    dallas05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 82

    i've been wanting to get into stamped concrete. any suppliers names that might have a division in nc to take the next step in stamping such as training. thanks

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