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  • Stamped concrete? Yes, please.
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Stamped concrete? Yes, please.

When you want your home to look beautiful, it overflows to the outdoor areas, as well. Landscaping and hardscaping help set the tone for all the indoor work you’ve done. When you want your patio, driveway, and pathways to look great (and hold up for decades), you can’t go wrong with stamped concrete.

Stamped concrete is a durable, versatile, and above all beautiful material that can serve all your hard-surface needs. It’s exactly what it sounds like - concrete that has designs stamped into it. It’s been around for about half a century but is still gaining popularity. And some of its slow growth is because people don’t even realize what they’re looking at!

That’s the beauty of stamped concrete - it’s not the same old, boring, grey concrete. Sure, that will hold up, but it has a “meh” appearance. On the other hand, stamped concrete is dyed and patterned to look like other surfaces. Among the most popular are hewn stone, cobblestone, brick, running bond and stack bonds patterns. You could even choose to go for a great patio or concrete deck that looks like it’s made of wood planks!

Let’s consider some of the great uses for stamped concrete around your home. Hopefully, it’ll inspire your creativity and help you realize what you can do.

Pool Deck

When the weather warms up, a dip in the pool is a great way to stay cool. Of course, your pool and the area around it should look great, too.

If you’re looking for a fantastic pool deck, stamped concrete is worth considering. It has a fantastic appearance, and it’s cool under your feet. It’s textured and provides a bit more grip than a smooth surface. All stamped concrete has a sealant applied, and the sealant used here will use an additive to create more traction.

One great but unexpected design that works great around a pool is wood. Real wood doesn’t usually work well with so much water. However, you can keep a rustic look by choosing stamped concrete. Kids can pretend they’re walking the plank or you can just enjoy the surroundings imagining you’re beside a mountain lake.

Stamped concrete_pool deck

Stamped concrete holds up well to all the splashing you can toss at it. It won’t suffer damage from chlorine or bromine under normal conditions. Of course, you don’t want to pour out a bucket of chemicals on it, but no surface will hold up to that! The same is true with salt water pools - under normal conditions the concrete holds up perfectly well as long as you don’t apply high concentrations of salt in one spot.

Driveway

A driveway is so functional that it’s easy to overlook the fact that it should be beautiful, too. But there’s no need to settle for something as drab as asphalt or plain concrete here.

Stamped concrete_cobblestone

Concrete will hold up under any normal vehicle unless you have a Sherman tank at home. And no matter the size of your driveway, stamped concrete can help make it look better. Just keep an eye out for any oil or gas spills or other marks that might arise. Cleaning them up early will help lengthen the lifespan of the surface.

Cobblestone is one great look for driveways since it’s so associated with streets. Another popular suggestion is plain concrete with stamped concrete borders that look like red brick.

Patio

Your patio is a great place to spend time alone or with a group of family members or friends, or even to throw a larger party. You want it to stay in great shape and look fantastic, too.

Pavers go great, but real ones can work loose and become uneven. However, you avoid that risk with stamped concrete.

The look of these larger squares is a marvelous way to design your patio. They break up the space without being too “busy.” It’s definitely a choice that draws a lot of attention.

Walkways

Whether your walkway goes to your front door, around your garden, or anywhere else on your property, it can make a statement. Even though it’s usually a smaller area, it can help set the mood.

For instance, a running bond pattern features small squares with straight lines. It helps create a sense of purpose and direction. When you want visitors to feel right at home and lead them to the door, it’s the perfect pattern for you.

On the other hand, if you want something more relaxed and unhurried, you could choose the look of hewn stone. It looks like it was hand-carved and carried right from the quarry! The irregular lines and edges present a quaint, rustic feeling. When you want to convey that there’s time to stop and smell the roses, this is a great option.

Stamped concrete_cut stone

Of course, there are many other ways you can use stamped concrete, including porches, decks, and even indoors. And there is a huge variety of patterns and colors that will suit your tastes as well as the architecture and style of your home. 

Installation and Maintenance Of Stamped Concrete

Before closing, let’s take a quick look at how stamped concrete is prepared and what’s required for its maintenance.

The process of preparing stamped concrete is pretty easy to explain, although it’s not a job most DIYers will want to try for themselves. It does require a lot of experience with concrete and an understanding of how fast it dries and how to best manipulate it once it’s poured. The difficulty arises because it’s time-sensitive - you have to be able to stamp the whole surface before it hardens.

However, it’s still easy to understand. Your contractor will mix concrete in the usual way. Some may add dye during the mixing process, while others “cast” the dye onto the surface once it’s poured but while it’s still wet. This dye serves as the base color for your project. 

After the coloring is added and as the concrete starts to dry, large stamps are pressed into the surface. These create the design and the depth of the final image. There are generally several stamps in a set so that it doesn’t look repetitive.

Once the pattern is added, any secondary colors are mixed into the surface. For instance, this could be to create the look of mortar between bricks.

After the concrete hardens completely, they’ll apply a sealant that helps protect it from the elements.

That’s all there is to it! You end up with the strength of concrete and a beautiful design.

Maintenance is even easier. You can sweep it off or use a power washer to keep it clean. If anything drops on it, try to wipe it up as quickly as possible. If there are stains, though, you can use a mild detergent to get rid of them.

Like most concrete products, the surface needs to be resealed every two to three years. This creates an impermeable layer that prevents water from seeping into the concrete. Water is one of concrete’s worst enemies because it can erode the material. Even worse, it can freeze and crack the surface.

All in all, it’s low-maintenance and will hold up for several decades if you follow this simple plan.

Conclusion

When you want a beautiful hardscaping, you’ll love stamped concrete! It can be done in the look you’re looking for and will hold up in the face of sun and snow. When you want to give your patio, driveway, porch, or pool deck a facelift, it’s the way to go!

About the Author

Bill Michaels works for Patterned Concrete, a pioneer in the stamped concrete industry. From their start in Toronto, they’ve grown to have franchises across Canada and the US.
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