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  • These homeowners were able to achieve the upscale appearance of a natural bluestone patio for about half the cost by using stamped concrete in an ashlar slate pattern. Custom-blended accent colors, applied both during and after the stamping process, closely replicate bluestone’s natural color variations.
  • The seat walls and fireplace have a cinderblock core with a natural stone veneer. Natural bluestone wall caps were added to complement the colors in the patio.
  • A close-up of the fireplace.
  • The faux grout lines between the stones were colored a light gray shade, resulting in a beautiful, natural grouted appearance.

When choosing a patio material, many homeowners opt for stone over concrete, preferring its natural color variations and traditional look. The drawback of natural stone is the price, which can run more than $25 per square foot including materials and labor. These homeowners in Nokesville, Va., made the perfect compromise, getting the look of natural stone along with the cost and performance benefits of concrete.

“They were initially interested in natural bluestone, but when they saw our multicolored, grouted stamped concrete they quickly changed their mind,” says patio installer C.J. Salzano, owner of Salzano Custom Concrete, a local contractor specializing in decorative stamped concrete. “This version of stamped concrete is unique and provides a nearly indistinguishable surface to real bluestone for about half the cost, and they never have to worry about a weed or a loose stone. (Read more about Salzano’s stamped concrete process: Tiered Concrete Patio Mimics Grouted Stone.) In addition to the patio, the homeowners wanted a stone sitting wall and matching stone fireplace, so they could entertain outdoors and take advantage of the beautiful view.

The 900-square-foot stamped concrete patio was designed to have a separate eating area and separate sitting area near the fireplace to accommodate guests. Salzano used a traditional ashlar slate pattern, and replicated bluestone’s natural color variations using a custom-blended color hardener mix. “Accent colors were also custom mixed and applied, some during the stamping process and some after stamping,” says Salzano. “We typically use three or four accent colors to produce a multicolor flagstone or bluestone style. We also apply tan or gray grout in between the ‘stones’ to give a stunning and beautiful natural grouted appearance.”

This attention to detail is one of the hallmarks of Salzano’s work and what makes his stamped concrete virtually identical to real stone. “Our customers are always particular, they always want every detail done perfectly. They are spending a lot of money, and we try our best to get every detail right,” he says.

Materials used:
Concrete coloring products supplied by Brickform and Increte Systems

Concrete contractor:
C.J. Salzano
Salzano Custom Concrete, Centreville, Va.

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