Concrete — Less than Meets the Eye

If you are thinking of installing a concrete driveway, you may notice that it can get a bit drab. Functional, yes, pretty, no. That being the case, you need to ensure you try a stencil concrete surface before you totally give up on the material. How does stencil concrete work exactly? What makes it so much better? There are a few things, actually.

First of all, stencil concrete can make a plain concrete surface look like virtually anything. The stencil is something you have seen before, even if you do not realize it. For example, many sidewalks in high income neighborhoods use stencils, and patio bricks are often stenciled to provide a better aesthetic. You can do it to your own driveway too with the right materials. If you want, you can even make your plain walkway look like a cobblestone walkway, and no one would be the wiser!

The biggest decision you will have to make in stencil concrete, aside from the design itself is whether to use paper or plastic. While most people admittedly prefer plastic, both are good stencil types. Something to keep in mind however is that paper stencils are much cheaper than plastic. While a paper roll will cost $250-$300, a plastic sheet will cost about $80. If you are going to stencil your own driveway once, then paper is the solution. Plastic should only be necessary if you plan to reuse your stencils.

As you are placing your stencil, you will work with one strip at a time. Your stencils will be die cut and aligned in a particular manner. Two people will be needed to place the stencils while the concrete is still wet. One person will hold the stencil roll while the other holds the rolled end on the other side of the slab. Once the stencil is properly placed, you will use a stencil roller.

Keep in mind that you will require two people to effectively install the stencil, and this something that you should not ignore. In the stencil concrete business, you only have one chance to get it right. After the concrete dries, you will not be able to attempt a stencil again. Despite that, this is a great DIY project. Now would obviously be a great time to start looking at different stencil materials. You never know how it might turn out.

As you can see, stencil concrete is easy and does a lot of good! You absolutely must try it on your next renovation. Don’t leave it out!

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