Stamped concrete: an introduction

Stamped concrete is the forerunner of modern reinforced concrete, which used to be everywhere where reinforced concrete is used today. How stamped concrete is manufactured, and what properties and strength it has, you can read here.

Stamped concrete today

Stamped concrete is today only used for special projects and special architectural projects. As a building material, it has lost its importance with the introduction of reinforced concrete. The last buildings were built in the second half of the 19th century. In earlier times, however, stamped concrete was mainly used because of its high strength for bridge structures, some of which are still unscathed. They are clearly recognizable by their archaic look.

Composition of stamped concrete

Stamped concrete consists essentially of three components:

  • natural stone
  • Cement and
  • water

The type of natural stones used can be different, formerly was mostly selected according to regional availability. In modern architectural projects, the concrete composition can sometimes vary significantly. In a current project, for example, sand, river gravel and white cement were added to the stamped concrete in order to achieve a special coloring of the concrete surface.

Derivation of the name

Stamped concrete got its name from its manufacturing process. Since the concrete is unreinforced, it also had to be densified for high strength. This happened through the "pounding" of the concrete. As a result of the impacts during pounding, the concrete was highly compressed and was therefore also suitable for bridging larger spans.

The concrete mixture used must be very stiff for this, the mixing ratio must be maintained very precisely. The concrete mixture must be relatively dry, otherwise the strength of the concrete is not given. However, compared to modern reinforced concrete, stamped concrete is far inferior, especially when tensile forces occur.

Layered construction

Stamped concrete can only be built up in layers. The individual layers must not be thicker than 15 cm. Only when one layer has cured, the next layer can be applied. This means a very slow construction progress compared to modern techniques. Each old layer must be moistened, roughened and cleaned before applying a new coat.

The pressure of compaction must not spread to the underlying layers. The surface must be compacted until it forms a plastic, smooth surface. Properly executed stamped concrete is extremely durable and stable.

Pisé technique

The origin of the stamped concrete lies in the so-called Pisé technique, which was widespread in France at the beginning of the 18th century. While in earlier times mud was used primarily to create stable, load-bearing walls, the technique was transferred to a natural stone mix with different binders, and the first stamped concrete was developed.

The technique of rammed clay building is revived today in ecological construction, but is usually not very suitable for our humid climate. Stamped concrete, on the other hand, is a weatherproof alternative that is manufactured in the same way.

Tips & Tricks

Houses made of crushed clay are already being offered by construction companies today - with stamped concrete, on the other hand, nobody today builds anymore, although it would be quite suitable as a building material.

Video Board: Introduction: StoneCrete Stamped Concrete Tile System