Why would I choose decorative concrete over natural paving materials?
There are many reasons why stamped concrete makes more sense. The first
is cost – stamped concrete is almost always less expensive than the materials for which it substitutes. Next is maintenance – natural materials, concrete pavers and unilock will heave over time and replacing sections can become a nightmare. Eventually, weeds and moss will grow through the grout lines and become a problem. This will never happen with stamped concrete. Finally, stamped concrete offers so many different patterns and color variations which simply aren’t available elsewhere – it can truly satisfy anybody’s demanding taste.
Will the finished product experience any cracking over time?
Any poured concrete, whether it’s decorative or otherwise, can
experience some cracking – this is the nature of concrete. However, when installed properly, cracking can be greatly reduced or even eliminated entirely. A top quality mix must be used and the concrete would need to be further strengthened with the use of properly spaced rebar. Quality concrete work will cost a bit more up front. However, the long term peace of mind of never having to hassle with it again will pay for itself year after year.
How do I best care for my finished decorative concrete work?
The final step we take when installing a decorative concrete
hardscape is to coat the finished work with a high quality sealer. The sealer should be reapplied every two years. If the concrete work is in an area that will require snow removal such as a driveway or front walkway then please follow these guidelines carefully: 1) if shoveling, always clear the area with a plastic shovel only 2) if plowing, make certain the bottom of the plow has a rubber squeegee that runs the entire length 3) if using a snow blower, make sure the height is adjusted to clear the concrete’s surface. Finally, never use any calcium, salt or other chemicals on the surface. We recommend that you spread only sand or cat litter across the surface.
How long before I can walk/drive/etc. on my stamped concrete?
Following sealing of the concrete you can walk 1 day after and drive 7 days after the concrete was poured.
What patterns are there to choose from?
Please view our patterns under the exterior concrete textures link.
Where can I use stamped concrete?
Stamped and decorative concrete is great for so many different
applications. It can be used for: walkways, patios, pool decks, garden pathways, driveways, basement floors, garage floors, lobbies, stores and restaurants, steps, courtyards, plazas, platforms, porches – you name it!
Will stamped concrete be harmed under freeze/thaw conditions?
No, provided you maintain the sealer. A good sealer is the key to protecting your concrete from ice and salts.
Will the color fade?
Square Prairie uses a UV stable sealer on all exterior concrete work
which slows fading considerable compared to lesser quality sealers. As the sealer wears the concrete may begin to look faded but another coat of sealer and your concrete will look as good as new.
Concrete offers many advantages over other surfaces allowing each counter to be a one of a kind creation – made just for you. Concrete can be molded into complex three dimensional shapes that cannot be easily manufactured using other materials. Integral concrete sinks are an example of the many things you can do with concrete that make it look custom and unique. Colour options are endless and pieces do not need to be laminated together to make thicker edges. This allows the designer and homeowner a larger degree of freedom in creating inspiring designs.
HOW MUCH DO CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS COST?
Our concrete surfaces vary in price from 35 per sq ft (tiles) to over 150 per sq ft (complex 3D pieces). The best way to get an accurate estimate is to send us details about your project. We are able to give estimates from architectural drawings, or a hand sketch will do for simple projects. Standard 1.5” thick countertops begin at 95 per sq ft or 2” at 100 per sq ft making concrete competitive with many other high end surfaces. Integral concrete sinks or custom inlays can be added in a variety of designs for an additional cost.
WHY ARE CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN GRANITE
There is much more handwork involved in creating concrete countertops than there is to manufacture granite countertops. Our concrete products are made from raw materials, as opposed to a slab of stone cut by a CNC machine. We hand build all the molds, batch the materials, cast, and process each piece by hand.
WILL MY CONCRETE COUNTERS STAIN?
Our counters are sealed with a two component hybrid water based sealer, which is made specifically for countertops. It provides a dense, stain-resistant surface that cannot peel. As it penetrates into the concrete, it makes the sealer difficult to scratch. Moisture trapped under items (coffee makers, soap dispensers, etc) can leave marks over time if not allowed to evaporate. Sealer for countertops has come a long way from the days of poorly sealed concrete counters ending up with cup rings and etch marks. We believe you shouldn’t worry about spilling your wine and staining your countertops. With a little care your concrete countertops will be the heart of your kitchen for many years. However, if you are looking for a no maintenance surface that will look like the day it was installed a year ago, consider one of the mass produced products on the market, artisan concrete may not be for you. Our concrete countertops can be cleaned with standard non abrasive household cleaners but we’ve found that standard soap & water is sufficient.
WHAT COLOURS ARE AVAILABLE WITH CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS?
We have a variety of standard colours to choose from. If what we have isn’t the colour you desire, we can make custom samples for an additional cost.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FOR BEGINNING A PROJECT?
Upon confirmation of a project we will come and template your cabinetry to ensure the best fit possible. If templating is not performed, it usually results in a fit that’s not visually pleasing. Items that are not touching walls and need to align with work performed by others will require a template that needs to be manufactured and sent to us, the job site and any other company whose work it touching ours. This is to ensure that all items will properly align once installed. Templating and installation is included in projects that are $2500.00 and within 100 km from our shop in Steinbach. Projects that are smaller in scale or exceed travelling distance will be priced on a per job basis.
WHAT IS THE LEAD TIME?
Typically, bathrooms and kitchens take 3-4 weeks from the time of templating to installation depending on current production volumes. Larger projects can take 6-8 weeks depending on current production volumes and project size. If you contact us with your construction schedule we can discuss our current delivery schedule.
WHAT IS THE THICKNESS OF YOUR CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS?
Our typical countertops have a thickness of approximately ¾”. All exposed edges will be manufactured to the visual thickness specified (typically 1 ½” to 2” for kitchens). We can also manufacture any desired thickness to fit your visual needs. Backsplashes are typically ¾” but can be manufactured to whatever thickness to accommodate your project.
HOW LARGE OF A PIECE CAN YOU CAST?
If the building allows for manoeuvrability we can cast very large pieces. (We’ve done some commercial vanities 22’ long and large boardroom tables). Typically though, manufacturing pieces around 8’ long that can be handled in our shop, delivered and installed in the space provided is ideal. You can contact us to see what is possible based on your project.
WILL IT HAVE SEAMS?
Seams vary depending on the kitchen/project layout. If seams are needed we will advise you on the best placement for visual appearance. In most cases, the seams are filled with a color matched grout or clear silicone.
CAN I CUT DIRECTLY ON THE CONCRETE?
No. Our concrete is very durable but cutting on the concrete will certainly ruin your knives as well as damage the sealer. We highly recommend using a cutting board to prevent this.
ARE YOUR COUNTERTOPS HEAT RESISTANT?
Yes however with almost all types of countertop surfaces, you should use trivets. Concrete can micro crack if exposed to high heat, and the sealer is not elastic enough to “absorb” these micro cracks. In this case, the surface may appear “crazed” if wetted.
HOW MUCH DO THEY WEIGH?
Typically our countertops weigh between 10-12 lbs per square foot but can vary depending on the application. Your cabinets will be more than sufficient to handle the weight.
HOW ACCURATE ARE YOUR COLOURS FROM PROJECT TO PROJECT?
Our concrete products are hand made using natural materials. These materials vary in shade and cause our finished products to vary from our samples. Over the years we’ve spent much time adjusting our mixes and measuring our batches to the gram but found there will always be a slight difference caused by the temperature, materials and process used during production.