Small Stamped Concrete Project Turned Large

Stamped concrete patio and fire pit in muted slate colors.
Another Salzano Stamping Project Took Second Place in the ASCC DCC Contest

Salzano Custom Concrete also won second place in the Cast-in-Place, Stamped, Under 5,000 Square Feet category from the ASCC DCC in 2013. This award-winner is a multilevel patio with spa, pergola and fire pit at a residence in Centreville, Va., owned by Sue and Leon Blondin.

What began as the customer’s modest plan for a concrete slab to go under a jumbo-sized hot tub morphed into a three-tier, 2,700-square-foot stamped concrete patio that integrates a spa with two other focal points: an eating area with wood pergola to house an outdoor kitchen, and a recessed fire-pit area with sitting wall. The hot tub was to be recessed into the patio.

What began as the customer’s modest plan for a concrete slab to go under a jumbo-sized hot tub morphed into a three-tier, 2,700-square-foot stamped concrete patio that integrates a spa with two other focal points

Right from the start, Salzano’s crew needed to address the substantial slope of the backyard — a more than 2-foot elevation change from the house to the back end of the yard. This was solved by installing a three-tier patio, with the upper tier near the house, the middle (main) tier near the hot tub and grilling area, and the lower tier for the fire pit area.

The design included electric conduits for power to the outdoor kitchen and about a dozen cast-in-place low-voltage light fixtures integrated into the front face of the two-tier patio steps, producing an elegant glow over the patio in the evening.

The process for construction and decorative treatment closely mirrored the Manassas project, but here Salzano Concrete used a color hardener from Increte Systems called Philly Blue. The stamping tool, also from Increte — Olde English Slate — gave the effect of natural Pennsylvania bluestone cut slate with a blue-gray color and natural-looking tan grout.

Coloring of the individual stone impressions was straightforward, as the customer was sold on earth-tone colors of brown, a rusty bronze, and gray. “I personally feel those produce the most natural color tones,” Salzano says. “So we start with these three colors and tell the customer, ‘You can say it’s OK or you can chime in with other ideas.’ Eight times out of 10, they like it. Maybe two times out of 10 they ask for more options. It’s very customizable and based on individual preference.”

Also as part of the job, Salzano’s crew built the fire pit with CMU construction, stone veneer and flagstone cap.

Clients Leon and Sue Blondin said they considered several options for construction of their new patio, including natural flagstone and brick pavers as well as stamped concrete. Initially they were leaning toward the flagstone, but the contractor won the day. “C.J. Salzano was a great resource in providing the benefits of stamped concrete versus other options,” the Blondins say, in written comments provided to Concrete Decor. “C.J. developed a unique design for our yard and provided a cost that was much more competitive then the paver options.”

Salzano and his crew also get high marks as “true professionals,” and the Blondins single out the coloring artistry in particular as “fantastic.”

“We had some contractors price some other work around the house and one of them did stamped concrete,” the Blondins’ statement continues. “We were on my deck looking down at the patio and he asked about the construction of the patio. I told him it was stamped concrete and he replied, ‘That is not stamped concrete, I do stamped concrete. Whoever did that is a true artist.’”

Salzano says the project presented a number of challenges, beginning with the objective of creating four distinct patio areas: the hot tub area, the pergola area (roof added later) for grilling, an eating area, and finally a recessed fire pit area.

Also a challenge was integrating the sunken hot tub — 8 by 15 feet — into the patio design. Salzano Custom Concrete was able to raise the patio level around the tub by about 16 inches and add two long L-shaped steps around the patio for easy access into the tub.

In addition, Salzano was required to integrate the existing concrete under the deck into the design. The solution was leaving that concrete in place and applying a decorative polymer overlay to the surface in a “spiral tile” style. The result is the appearance of ceramic tile, with small and large squares. The product used was a white cementitious polymer overlay from Pure Texture, colored by Salzano Concrete to a terra-cotta shade.

In summary, Salzano says, the client wanted the “upscale” look of bluestone for the cost of concrete, and “our multicolor grouted stamped concrete was the perfect answer.”

Project at a Glance

Client: Christine and John Krepsky

Decorative concrete contractor: Salzano Custom Concrete, Centreville, Va. |

Designer: C.J. Salzano

Mix design: Vulcan Materials, Springfield, Va. |

Scope of project: Create a two-level cast-in-place patio with flagstone stone stamp pattern, treated with color hardener and custom stains of various shades

Most challenging aspect: Reaching consensus with the owners on the footprint and visual aspects of the patio, with extensive discussion and customization of stain colors for the stamped elements and a perimeter wall.

Tools and materials used: Increte Systems Large Random Flagstone stamping pattern; Brickform color hardener in Weathered Sage; Euclid Chemical Co. Super Diamond Clear curing and sealing compound; Increte Systems Shur-Grip skid-resistant additive; Charles Luck Stone Center Oak Ridge decorative stone (a blend of weathered face and split-face stone); custom-blended water-based stains

Got more questions about your project?

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
      Allowed formats: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf
    • How would you like us to respond?

    • Note: Some questions will be published anonymously with their answers at the end of this story to share with other readers.