IS STAMPED CONCRETE THE RIGHT CHOICE?
To start, here’s a quick pros and cons list:
- Less expensive than the material it imitates
- Increases home value
- Makes spaces more aesthetically pleasing
- Color and pattern choices are nearly endless
- Can be made slip-resistant
- Durable, long-lasting
- Easy maintenance if done right
- Not easy to DIY
- It could crack
- Needs to be maintained
- Vulnerable to weathering
- Not always easy to repair
Stamped concrete is a great way to create an eye-catching pattern and color scheme. The possibilities are practically endless. If you like your house’s brick exterior, for example, you could add a brick-patterned border. Or, you could select a pattern and color scheme that blends with your surroundings.
Stamped concrete is usually patterned as natural stones, such as flagstone, fieldstone, and slate. But wood patterns, brick, and cobblestone are also very popular. Some designs are continuous all the way across without dividing parts like with bricks. They can also be used in more complex projects, such as stairways and decorative pieces.
Because the popular textures usually imitate natural objects like stone, the colors tend to follow suit. But because brick patterns are also popular, you will also see red or russet hues in that type of pattern. Just like paint and stains, colors can be mixed, layered, or given special effects with tints or stains – so the possibilities are truly endless. Multi-colored looks can make the surface look even more realistic or extra aesthetically pleasing with decorative patterns.
Stamped concrete can be combined with other decorative techniques, such as acid staining or exposed aggregate. It can also be used for:
- Creating a continuous style in different places throughout a home
- Revamp existing concrete floors
- Enhance fireplaces and walls
- Beautifying countertops
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Stamped concrete often isn’t cheap, and the price depends on the complexity and local costs for materials and labor. It’s worth every penny, though – stamped concrete tends to require less maintenance and last longer than most other mediums, which saves you money long-term. You’ll also get a great return on your investment by increasing your home’s aesthetic value with the upgraded look and curb appeal. We spoke with a top rated stamped concrete contractor out of Olympia Wa, this group Olympia Concrete Contractors 360-469-6382 or 215 Columbia St NW #221 Olympia Wa 98501, they perform foundation repair, concrete steps, concrete driveways and most of all stamped concrete patios!
Basic single-color and pattern designs are about $8 to $14 per square foot, mid-level jobs that include borders and contrasting patterns run $12 to $18 per square foot, and the high-end, most complex projects run even higher.
HOW DOES IT HOLD UP TO STONE AND OTHER MATERIALS?
Stamped concrete wins out in many ways when compared to similar options:
- Customizability: Stamped concrete offers more options than any other surface regarding color choices, patterns, and complete customization.
- Maintenance: Stamped concrete lasts for decades, even with minimal maintenance. Other materials need more care. Surfaces like natural stone and precast pavers need the joints periodically filled with sand and regularly weeded.
- Installation: Installation is much quicker and easier than precast pavers or stones.
- Price: The materials and labor for stone usually cost more. Though some low-end precast pavers can beat the cost of stamped concrete, they’ll end up costing more in maintenance in the long run.
Does it look unnatural?
The design that stamped concrete replicates is molded from the original material and colored with integral or dry-shake color over top of the usual color medium. This results in an incredibly realistic finish that often looks even better than the real thing. That’s because it’s invulnerable to problems like the authentic materials have, such as invasive weeds or splintering. You would be surprised how many stamped concrete surfaces you may have seen without realizing it!
Is stamped concrete slippery?
Stamped concrete is usually textured, which makes it generally less slippery than regular concrete. But, like natural stone, it can become slippery if wet or sealed with certain types of sealers. This can be easily mitigated by choosing certain kinds of textures or adding non-slip additives. Let your contractor know about your concerns so they can work with you on it.
How long does stamped concrete last?
Just like standard concrete, these stamped surfaces last for decades – even in harsh weather, as long as it’s installed and maintained correctly. Sometimes, it’s even sturdier than conventional concrete, primarily if it was used in conjunction with a color hardener when poured. Most stamped concrete has had a sealer applied to make maintenance easier and protect it from wear and tear.
WHAT DOES INSTALLATION LOOK LIKE?
Several steps must be carefully and quickly executed before the concrete sets if uniform results are achieved. Everything must be planned and diagrammed, with all materials ready to go.
After the concrete is poured, it must set to the proper consistency. Then, color hardeners and release agents will be applied. This is all before the stamped pattern – it must then be tested again beforehand. To finish the project, detailing and cutting contraction joints are the last step.
Stamping is usually done on newly poured concrete, but sometimes it can be done as an overlay on existing concrete if it’s in good condition. The end results would look the same on both.
Is it possible to DIY?
While it’s technically possible, it’s not recommended – you have to get it exactly right on the first try. You have to finish quickly before everything sets, and there are no re-dos. There are far too many things that could go wrong from start to finish that takes a professional eye to be able to gauge what to do and when. Furthermore, the materials that you’ll most likely use only once are pretty expensive, so you’ll still have some significant expenses overall.
How do I find the right person for the job?
As with any job for hire, you should carefully check their references and get multiple written estimates. Always ask for a portfolio; a reputable contractor will have one and provide actual samples of the colors and patterns offered. Some contractors will even have a showroom with models on display. You could also visit their website, where you should find several photos of projects and a description of all the different types of decorative concrete they’ve specialized in.