How to Make Slate Stamped Concrete that Looks Like Real Stone

See examples of stamped concrete that resembles real slate, plus learn more about your pattern and color options, how it’s done, and the many benefits of slate-stamped concrete.
By Anne Balogh,

Texian Concrete in Houston, TX

Slate is undeniably one of the most beautiful paving materials for patios, walkways and other outdoor surfaces. But slate can be very expensive and isn’t the most durable choice. So how do you get the gorgeous look of natural slate without suffering sticker shock or sacrificing performance? The solution is slate-stamped concrete, a cost-effective alternative that replicates the patterns and natural color variations of real slate while giving you all the durability of poured-in-place concrete.

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What Is Slate-Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is a versatile material that can recreate the look of many different types of stone, slate being one of the most popular. What makes slate-stamped concrete look so realistic are the coloring methods used to replicate the earthy tones of natural stone. Coloring agents can be mixed into the concrete, applied to the surface, or added to the sealer (see this guide to coloring concrete). A skilled decorative concrete contractor can even custom blend colors so that only the most discerning eye will notice the difference between stamped concrete and natural slate.

What Patterns Are Available?

Slate stamp patterns are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures as well as a wide array of patterns, including herringbone, running bond, basketweave, and random stone. There are also special seamless stamps, called texturing skins, that allow you to replicate the texture of slate without creating distinct pattern lines. Textures range from smooth and lightly sanded to chiseled, which gives the surface a hand-tooled look.

Stamped concrete patterns are used to create the look of brick, slate, flagstone, cobblestone or other patterns on your concrete patio, driveway or other surface. These patterns are a cost-effective way to achieve realistic looking textures.

Ashlar Cut Slate

Brickform, a division of Solomon Colors, Inc.

Grand Ashlar

Brickform, a division of Solomon Colors, Inc.

Fractured Cyprus Slate

Brickform, a division of Solomon Colors, Inc.

Sanded Slate Texture

Brickform, a division of Solomon Colors, Inc.

Ashlar New England Slate

Proline Concrete Tools

Herringbone Belgium Slate

Proline Concrete Tools

Rotating Ashlar Italian Slate

Proline Concrete Tools

Hexagon Roman Slate

Proline Concrete Tools

Sources: Brickform and Proline.

How Much Does Slate-Stamped Concrete Cost?

For many homeowners, budget is the factor that tips the scales in favor of slate-stamped concrete versus real stone. Not only are slate paving stones expensive, costing anywhere from $18 to more than $40 per square foot, they are labor-intensive to install because every piece must be laid by hand, which adds significantly to the overall cost.

In comparison, pouring, stamping, and coloring concrete will cost around $12 to $18 per square foot, or about half the price of installing real stone (see Stamped Concrete Cost). With stamped concrete, there is also no material waste because stones don’t have to be cut to create the desired pattern.

How to Stamp Concrete with Ashlar Stamps

Watch this video from Brickform to see slate-stamped concrete being installed, from start to finish.
Time: 02:44

How Is Slate-Stamped Concrete Installed?

Concrete that mimics slate can be poured new or you can resurface an existing concrete slab with a stampable overlay. Although stamped concrete is often faster and less labor-intensive to install than real slate, it's still a complicated process requiring the expertise of a decorative concrete contractor to ensure a successful outcome and realistic results.

Where Can I Use Slate-Stamped Concrete?

The answer is simple. Anywhere you would use real slate, but without the same concerns for weathering, heavy traffic, and freeze-thaw exposure. You might even consider mixing and matching materials, blending natural stone and stamped concrete on the same project, such as a slate-stamped concrete patio surrounded by a border of real stone.

Slate-stamped patios

Tiered Concrete Patio Mimics Grouted Stone

These homeowners wanted the look of a natural stone patio, but didn't want to pay the high price. Concrete stamped in an Old English slate pattern was the perfect solution. To give the patio natural color variations, the base concrete was colored with a pale blue color hardener and then accented with custom-mixed highlight colors.

Concrete Patio Designed for Outdoor Entertaining

Equipped with an outdoor kitchen, a pergola, and multiple areas for dining and conversation, this two-part stamped concrete patio is ideal for outdoor entertaining. A concrete walkway, stamped with the same ashlar slate pattern used for the patio, leads down to a second more-secluded patio with an outdoor fire pit.

Stamped Concrete Patio Replicates Ashlar Slate

The concrete patio for this outdoor entertaining area was stamped with a basic ashlar slate pattern and colored by hand to replicate the look of Pennsylvania bluestone, but at a much lower cost. To add to the natural stone appearance, grout was applied within the lines of the pattern.

See more design ideas for faux-stone concrete patios.

Slate-stamped sidewalks

A Grand Entrance

The front porch and steps of this upscale home feature an ashlar slate pattern in silvery gray tones. The pattern and color scheme closely match the manufactured concrete stone covering the porch pillars and walls.

Hand-Carved Slate Concrete Overlay

Slate stamps aren’t just for new concrete. They can also be used to add pattern and texture to concrete overlays when resurfacing existing concrete. On this project, the overlay was stamped with a seamless Italian slate pattern and then hand scored to create random grout lines.

Slate-stamped pool decks

Two-Toned Ashlar Slate Pool Deck

The main fields of this residential concrete pool deck were stamped with an ashlar slate pattern, and then a seamless slate stamp was used to outline the pool and create a contrasting pattern. Using two different shades of gray helped to define the areas of contrast while imparting the look of natural stone.

Slate-Textured Pool Deck

Here’s an example of how attractive the texture of slate can be, without obvious seam lines. The look was created using seamless slate-textured stamps and two coloring agents: a buff-colored hardener and darker terra cotta release agent. The concrete coping around the adjacent spa was also stamped and colored in the same manner.

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