- Stamped Concrete Home
- Stamped Concrete Pictures
- Popular Patterns: Stamping concrete to create the look of stone, brick, and other popular designs
- Color Chart: Coloring options for imprinted concrete
- Stamped Concrete Design Ideas
- Stamped Concrete Applications
- Stamped Patios
- Stamped Driveways
- Stamped Pool Decks
- Price and Performance
- Stamped Concrete Costs
- Stamped Concrete Installation Process
- Stamped Concrete Maintenance
- Compare Stamped Concrete: The advantages of stamped concrete versus pavers, asphalt and stone
- Related Information
- Stamped Concrete Overlays
- Concrete Products: Concrete Stamps
- Design Ideas: Stamped Concrete Info
Learn about Stamped ConcreteBy imprinting patterns in freshly placed concrete, you can achieve the high-end look of stone or brick pavement-and often at a lower cost
Stamped concrete, often called textured or imprinted concrete, replicates stones, such as slate and flagstone, tile, brick and even wood. The wide variety of pattern and color choices make it popular for beautifying patios, pool decks, driveways and more. Additionally, it’s an affordable paving option that requires less maintenance than other materials.
Because of its superior durability and weather resistance, colored and stamped concrete is the perfect choice to bring the high-end look of stone, brick, or wood to patios, pool decks, driveways, walkways and courtyards.
IS STAMPED CONCRETE RIGHT FOR ME?
Considering stamped concrete? Compare the pros and cons below to decide if it's right for you.
- Is more affordable than natural stone, brick or pavers
- Enhances outdoor spaces and adds to your home value
- Offers nearly limitless pattern and color choices
- Slip resistant when treated with a non-skid additive
- Is durable and long-lasting
- Easy to maintain when sealed
- Not very DIY friendly
- Can develop minor cracks
- Needs periodic cleaning and resealing
- Can be damaged by freeze/thaw cycles and deicing salts
- Repairs can be difficult
Read on to learn more about each of these pros and cons and how to get your own stamped concrete installed.
Stamped Concrete Patios
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From an aesthetic standpoint, stamped concrete is hard to beat when it comes to pattern and color options, which are virtually unlimited. Many people get inspiration from their surrounding landscape or home's architectural style and choose patterns and colors that blend with existing stone, tile or textured concrete elements. For example, if your house has a brick exterior, consider echoing that theme with a simple brick-patterned border, or choose a pattern and color scheme that ties in with your surrounding landscape.
Natural stone patterns such as slate, flagstone, and fieldstone are the most common, followed by brick, cobblestone and wood. Patterns can be pressed into the concrete even in complex projects with steps and fountains.
See examples of stamped concrete patterns.
The most popular colors tend to be grays and earth tones; however, brick patterns are often colored in red or russet hues. Colors can be mixed, layered or antiqued with stains or tints, creating a virtually endless list of possibilities. Multiple colors can be used within the same project for realistic stone coloration, decorative borders or a contrasting color pattern.
Discover the color options for stamped concrete.
Related: Stamped Concrete Infographic
Stamped concrete can also be used in conjunction with other decorative concrete elements such as exposed aggregate or acid staining.
Stamped concrete can also be used in the following ways:
- To get similar looks for kitchens, bathrooms, entryways, family rooms or basements in new homes.
- Stamped overlays enhance walls or fireplaces or rejuvenate existing concrete floors.
- Stamp patterns can be imprinted on concrete countertops for an added design element.
WHAT DOES STAMPED CONCRETE COST?
Stamped concrete can be expensive depending on the costs for materials and labor in your local market and the complexity of the job, but the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” really holds true. With stamped concrete, you’ll get a surface that lasts longer and requires less maintenance than most other materials, which can add up to big savings over its lifetime. You’ll also add curb appeal and aesthetic value to your home, allowing you to maximize the return on your investment. Basic stamped designs with one color and pattern run $8 to $12 per square foot, mid-range jobs with borders or contrasting patterns can be $12 to $18 per square foot, and high-end custom projects $18 or more per square foot. For more pricing information, see our stamped concrete cost chart.)
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO STONE OR OTHER MATERIALS?
When compared to similar options, stamped concrete excels in many categories:
- Customization: No other surface offers the numerous pattern and color choices and complete customization that is possible with stamped concrete.
- Maintenance: With minimal maintenance, stamped concrete can last for decades, while other surfaces such as precast pavers or natural stone need ongoing maintenance to keep weeds from growing between them and to keep the joints filled with sand.
- Installation: Stamped concrete installation is faster than setting natural stone or precast pavers.
- Price: Pouring stamped concrete will usually cost considerably less than installing natural stone surfaces; and although some lower-end paver options may initially have a lower price than stamped concrete, they may end up costing more in the long run for maintenance, repair or replacement.
See this chart comparing stamped concrete with other paving materials.
Does it look fake?
Stamped concrete looks very realistic because most stamping mats are molded from the actual materials they are designed to replicate. To achieve natural-looking color variations, such as you would see in real stone, stamped concrete contractors often use integral or dry-shake color in conjunction with surface-applied coloring mediums. If anything, stamped concrete looks better than the real thing, because you won’t get weed or moss growth in between the joints, and it won’t rot or splinter if you are mimicking wood planking.
Is it slippery?
Because stamped concrete is a textured surface, it is often more slip resistant than conventional concrete. However, just like natural stone, it can become slippery when wet or if a film-forming sealer has been applied. If stamped concrete will be installed in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway or pool deck, there are a number of things you can do to increase its slip resistance such as using a heavier texture or adding non-skid additives. Talk to your contractor if you are concerned.
How long will stamped concrete last?
Like conventional concrete, stamped surfaces will last for decades when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to harsh winter weather conditions. In some cases, stamped concrete can be even more durable than standard concrete, especially if a color hardener was used when it was poured. Most contractors also apply a sealer to stamped concrete to protect it from wear and abrasion and make it easier to maintain.
HOW IS STAMPED CONCRETE INSTALLED?
There are many steps involved in stamped concrete that must be executed carefully and quickly to achieve uniform results across the entire slab before the concrete sets. The pattern must be pre-planned and diagrammed, tools and labor ready to go. After the concrete is poured and allowed to set to the proper consistency, color hardeners and release agents are applied. The concrete is tested again before applying the stamp patterns. Finish work, detailing and cutting contraction joints finish the project.
Most often, stamping is done on newly poured concrete. However, existing concrete that’s in good condition can be covered with a stamped overlay, which gives you the same look as conventional stamped concrete. Learn more about stamped concrete overlays.
Can I do it myself?
We don’t recommend installing stamped concrete as a DIY project, and the main reason is that you only have one chance to get it right. You can’t finish it later if you run out of time and you can’t take it apart and re-do it. With all of the things that can go wrong from sub-base preparation and concrete mix, to gauging the proper time to start stamping and actually finishing before the concrete hardens, and everything in between, it’s really a job best left to the pros. What’s more, the stamping tools and materials you’ll need can cost hundreds of dollars and aren’t really worth the investment unless you plan to use the tools on multiple projects. Read the nine reasons stamping concrete is not for do-it-yourselfers.
How do I hire the right contractor to install my stamped concrete?
As when choosing any contractor to do projects around your home or business, you should get several written estimates and check their references carefully. With stamped concrete, it’s especially important to find a contractor who can show you a portfolio of their work and provide actual samples of the patterns and colors they offer. Some decorative concrete contractors have showrooms with all their samples on display. Another option is to visit the contractor’s website, where you’ll often find photos of their projects and a description of the types of decorative concrete they specialize in.
HOW TO MAINTAIN STAMPED SURFACES
Stamped concrete is one of the most durable and long lasting paving materials available and requires less maintenance than the materials it regularly replaces. Regular maintenance of cleaning and resealing stamped concrete should be done every 2 to 3 years on average, but will depend on the use the area is subjected to, car or foot traffic, chemicals, weather, etc. Basic cleaning with a garden hose or pressure washer, some mild detergent and a push broom is all that is needed before resealing. Color hardeners and sealers make the surface stronger, more resistant to abrasion, and help block the penetration of water, stains, dirt and chemicals. However, it’s still a good idea to remove oil, grease and other spills immediately. For more information on how to clean and reseal your stamped concrete, read How to Protect and Maintain Stamped Concrete.
Will it crack, and can it be repaired?
Stamped concrete is highly resistant to cracking when installed correctly. Even if stamped concrete experiences minor cracking, the cracks are often hard to detect because they will often blend in with the pattern and joint lines. If the cracks become an eyesore, there are methods you can use to disguise them. See Why Concrete Cracks for basic steps you can take to minimize cracking and ensure good performance.
Will the color fade?
Efflorescence, weathering, dirt and traffic can take their toll on the color of stamped concrete. You can minimize any color change by periodically cleaning and resealing the concrete. Even if the color has faded due to years of neglect or lack of maintenance, it can often be restored to its original state by cleaning and resealing.
Can I use salt on it in the winter?
You should avoid using deicing salts on stamped concrete, especially during the first winter after the pavement is installed. Using deicers can cause surface damage—primarily scaling and spalling—by forcing the thawing and refreezing of moisture. Products containing ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulphates are especially harmful because they will actually attack the concrete chemically. Rock salt (sodium chloride) or calcium chloride will do less damage, but they can harm vegetation and corrode metal. As an alternative, use sand for traction. For more on this, see How to Maintain Your Concrete Driveway and The Effects of Deicing Salts on Sealer Performance.
Last updated: August 26, 2019
Stamped concrete on Wikipedia.