On their first pattern-stamping job, inexperienced contractors can prevent problems by avoiding seven common pitfalls. These include: 1. Ordering too much concrete. When too much concrete is placed, it's hard to get uniform embedment depth with the stamping tools because workers must start stamping while the concrete is too soft and complete stamping when it's stiff. Don't try to place and finish more than 400 square feet of concrete with a crew of four to five workers. 2. Ordering the wrong concrete. Concrete that's too wet slows production while crews wait for bleedwater to evaporate, and concrete that's too dry or made with aggregate that's too large makes it difficult to maintain a consistent stamping depth. 3. Forgetting to Square Up Form Corners. More hand tooling is needed when formed corners for a rectangular pour are out-of-square. 4. Placing concrete before tools and supplies are laid out. When workers spend too much time looking for tools or supplies after concrete arrives, the concrete is less likely to get stamped at the correct time. Lay out all the stamping tools, tampers, floats, and trowels the crew will be using. Also, have enough color hardener and release agent on hand. 5. Laying out stamps after concrete arrives. Planning the stamping tool layout after concrete is on the ground burns up valuable time and increases the chances of making a mistake. Do a dry-run stamp layout before concrete arrives. 6. Doing too much hand tooling. Minimize time spent hand tooling to fill in the pattern near the edge of a form or building by laying out dimensions of areas to be stamped in even multiples of the tool size. 7. Failing to joint the slab. Even slabs with a deep-cut pattern must be jointed to control cracking. Use sawed joints to divide the stamped concrete into roughly square panels.