A concrete release agent prevents stamping mats from bonding to fresh concrete and ruining the imprint. The agent also provides a subtle tint that adds depth and a rustic look to stamped concrete.
There are two basic types of release agents used by stampers: powdered and liquid. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the right one for your job.
The most common form of release agent is a powder that’s brushed onto the surface of fresh concrete. It’s a cement-based material that’s tinted with iron oxide pigment for color and contains moisture repellant to keep water from clinging to the stamp.
For some contractors, a liquid release agent may be the better choice for stamped concrete projects because it can be applied directly to the concrete with a pump sprayer. However, some liquid releases take time to dry, so you can’t cure-seal the job on the same day as you stamp it.
Many contractors are now using tinted liquid release agents, but they need to be mixed a few days before application, so that all the pigment particles can dissolve. You can also strain the release through cheesecloth or a strainer to eliminate any clumps of pigment that may have settled to the bottom of the container.
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