What Is A Stamped Concrete?

One of the best things about having a home is the fantastic driveway you can enjoy all by yourself. If you are looking to install new pavement for your driveway, walkway, or patio without spending excess money, you should consider using stamped concrete. 

What Is A Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is a type of concrete that is patterned, imprinted, and textured to closely resemble brick stone, tile, wood, slate, flagstone, and other types of pavement. It is also known as textured or embossed concrete. 

It is commonly used for patios, pool decks, driveways, sidewalks, and interior flooring sometimes. It is quite popular mainly because it looks strikingly similar in appearance to other building materials. This makes it an attractive yet inexpensive option to use in your home. 

History of Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete first came into existence in the 1950s but didn’t gain recognition until the early 1970s when it was introduced in the World of Concrete. Since then, it has gained a tremendous amount of popularity thanks to builders who saw it as a great way to satisfy customers while still maintaining a low budget. 

When this style of stamping first started, there were minimal choices of design or colors, but that all changed as the industry grew. 

Pros and Cons of Stamped Concrete

There is a variety of options to pick from when it comes to picking the suitable flooring materials for your home, so is stamped concrete the right choice for you? Decide after reading this.

Pros:

  • It is affordable. 

The very first thing that gains customers’ attention is the price of stamped concrete. Everyone wants to have quality for less, and that’s exactly what stamped concrete offers. Going for this style of pavement will save you a reasonable amount of money.

  • It is easy to customize.

The main idea of stamped concrete is to mimic other building materials. This means you can design it to look any way you want it to. You have a variety of style options to choose from. 

If you wish to take it a step further, you can paint it as well. It offers limitless color choices. You might be interested in the types of paint you can use.

  • It is durable and easy to maintain

When it comes to sustainable building materials, one of the most durable ones you can opt for is concrete. It is a long-lasting and easy-to-maintain material when it’s correctly sealed. Unlike other types of pavement, you won’t need to repair it as much if it’s done correctly.

  • It is aesthetically pleasing.

Nothing exudes more class than a house that’s easy on the eyes. If you are particular about giving your house character, stamped concrete is the right way to go. It makes your driveway or patio pleasing to look at and hang out in.

  • It adds more value to your house.

If you would like to sell your house or rent it out in the future, installing stamped concrete will add a few extra dollars to your account. Its aesthetic qualities can increase your resale price and give you maximum return on your investment when you are ready to sell.

Cons:

  • It isn’t easy to repair.

You don’t need to worry about damages like stripping because stamped concrete does not spoil quickly, but when it does, it tends to be much harder to fix. The most common damages it can have are cracks. 

Even if you try to repair it, it might never look like the pattern on the rest of the slab.

  • It needs frequent resealing.

It needs to be cleaned and resealed periodically to keep its integrity. The recommended resealing interval is every 2 to 5 years.

  • It is not DIY-friendly.

When it comes to DIY-friendly home construction, stamped concrete isn’t among them. It would be best if you were a professional in handling building materials and pavement construction techniques before you can think of installing stamped concrete pavements. It involves much more than just stamping a pattern, so it is best to let professionals handle it.

Cost of Making and Installing Stamped Concrete

Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of getting stamped concrete, you need to know precisely how much it costs to get one. As mentioned earlier, it is quite an inexpensive option compared to other building materials, which is why it got so popular in the first place.

Generally, you have to consider the size you want your stamped to be, the type of pattern, how many of those patterns and colors you want. Multi-pattern styles and designs with special coloring effects cost much more to install. You also have to think about the materials needed and the price of labor in your area. 

However, you can break down the cost into three categories, basic, mid-range, and high-end costs.

  • Basic Costs

The basic category is a cheaper option where you use only one stamp pattern and color. It ranges from $8 – $12 per square foot.

  • Mid-range Cost

This option costs more than the basic one. It includes two or more patterns, multiple colors, and borders in the design. It costs $12 – $18 per square foot.

  • High-end Cost

The high-end option allows you to add more customization to the stamped concrete. It features multi patterns and colors, special coloring effects, specialty scored designs. It costs $18 and above per square foot.

Cost By Location

Below are the average prices for different parts of a house where stamped concrete can be used.

  • Stamped Patios

The average size of patios is 168 square feet. Going by the basic to high-end categories above, it could cost anywhere from $1300 to $3000+.

  • Stamped Driveways

The average driveway size is 640 square feet, so average costs are $5000 to $11000+.

Concrete Stamping Process

Again, it is not advisable to DIY stamped concrete. It is better to spend a couple of extra dollars for well-made and installed pavement than try to do it yourself and end up destroying your pavement. You will eventually spend more to repair it, but here is a summary of how it is done. 

  • Prepare the Subgrade

The subgrade is the first determinant in having a long-lasting pavement. It must be prepared correctly to prevent drainage problems and soil erosion beneath the concrete.

  • Place the Forms

It can be made of metal, wood, or plastic. The forms are attached to contain the concrete in the desired area. They must be in good condition and erected to form clean corners or structures. 

  • Install Reinforcements

To provide structural function and support in the slab, it is essential to use proper reinforcements like welded wire meshes or reinforcing bars. It helps to control cracking, increase resistance and reduce joint maintenance. 

  • Place the Concrete

For this step, a truck is required. The premixed concrete is placed inside the truck and then poured from it to the prepared area. The concrete is placed very close to the desired area to avoid moving it too much as that can cause segregation.

  • Finishing the Concrete

This step needs to be taken seriously as this is where the canvas for stamping is prepared. There are only two main things that must be done here; the canvas must be leveled appropriately, no high or low spots, and cement paste must be brought to the surface to allow a defined stamping.

  • Add Base and Accent Color

Adding a base and accent color is one step that separates other forms of concrete pavements from the stamped concrete. The base color is the primary color used. It is chosen to reflect the natural color of the building material it’s going to imitate. 

It can be applied in two ways; integral color or cast-on color.

  1. Integral color is a method that involves dying the whole concrete with the base color. This is done by adding a color hardener to the concrete truck, allowing all the cement to get dyed.
  1. Cast-on color is the method where the surface of the concrete is dyed the base color. The color hardener is spread over the entire concrete surface, and the powder floats to the top layer of the wet concrete.

The accent color is a secondary color used in stamped concrete. It is used to produce texture in stamped concrete. It is produced by adding color release to the concrete before it gets stamped. 

  • Stamp the Concrete

The process of stamping the concrete is typically short, especially during warm seasons. The concrete is stamped in the same pattern it was placed. The stamping alignment should be checked frequently to verify the correct pattern is being followed.

  • Cure the Stamped Concrete

Curing means allowing your concrete to be totally dry. The process ensures that the stamped concrete retains enough moisture to allow the essential properties in it to develop. When cured properly, the concrete becomes stronger and gets increased durability.

  • Install the Joints and Seal the Stamped Concrete

This is the final step in installing your stamped concrete. Cut off contraction joints to prevent cracking, and apply your sealer. Not only will it help to enhance the color of your concrete, but it will also block the penetration of dirt stains, chemical stains, etc.