Stamped Concrete: Pros and Cons

Stamped Concrete: Pros and Cons

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If you are planning to build a deck or patio out of concrete, a new driveway or walkway, or anything else involving this material, something you might want to consider using is stamped concrete. If you don’t know what this is, don’t worry because this is the first thing that we’re going to explain.

Not only are we going to explain exactly what stamped concrete is and how it is made, but we also want to talk about what’s good about it and what’s bad about it. Let’s get to it and find out whether or not stamped concrete is right for you.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is also often referred to as imprinted concrete or textured concrete. The main point of stamped concrete is to replicate the look of stones, tile, brick, and sometimes even wood too. Simply put, it’s about using concrete, but making it look much better than it usually would.

Stamping concrete simply refers to the process of first pouring out the concrete, such as you normally would when using concrete, and then using special kinds of stamps to imprint both a color and a pattern onto the surface of the concrete. Whether you want to imprint color too, or just a pattern, is up to you.

There are special chemicals and dyes that are used to make sure that the colors adhere to the surface of the concrete. It’s really not all that much different from stamping a piece of paper.

Pros of Stamped Concrete

There are many different reasons why you might choose to use stamped concrete versus regular concrete or other materials such as real stone. Let’s take a look at all the pros that you get with stamped concrete.

1. It’s Affordable

One of the main reasons why people use stamped concrete is because it’s much more affordable than natural stone, brick, and other masonry materials. It’s an easy way to replicate the look of natural stone without paying a fortune for it.

2. It Looks Excellent

Another main reason why people use stamped concrete as opposed to just normal concrete is because it just looks a lot better. Stamped concrete is all about engraving various patterns and colors onto the surface of the concrete, so it looks much nicer than it otherwise would.

3. It Increases Property Value

Although we suppose this is subjective based on the quality of the work, realistically speaking, a good stamped concrete driveway or patio could increase the value of your home quite significantly. Simply put, people are always willing to pay more money for houses that look good.

4. It Comes in Nearly Unlimited Colors and Patterns

Yes, this also has to do with the look of it all, but the point that we’re making is that stamped concrete allows you to choose from nearly unlimited patterns and colors. As long as there is a stamp with that pattern on it, then you can use it, and yes, in many cases you also may be able to create custom stamps. Moreover, as long as the paint or dye exists, then you can choose it as a color. It’s just a great way to bring boring old concrete to a new level.

5. It Can Be Slip-Resistant

There are special coatings that can be applied to stamp concrete that allow for great slip resistance, so you don’t slip in the winter time when it’s wet or frozen. In other words, stamped concrete (depending on the exact type of finish) can be quite safe to walk on.

6. It Can Be Long Lasting

What you do need to know is that stamped concrete does need to be sealed with a special sealant, but that said, when it is sealed with that high-quality sealant, it is going to be much more durable and long-lasting than plain concrete. A high-quality stamped concrete surface can last up to twice as long as a normal concrete surface.

7. It Can Be Easy to Maintain

If the stamped concrete has been well built and is well sealed, then it should be quite easy to maintain. It’s easy to scrub dirt and stains off of the material.

Stamped Concrete

Cons of Stamped Concrete

Just like with everything else out there, although stamped concrete does have many pros, there are also some cons that you need to consider.

1. It’s More Expensive Than Regular Concrete

Although stamped concrete is of course much less expensive than natural stone, it is more expensive than normal unstamped concrete. If you’re going for the most cost-effective option, then it’s plain concrete that you want.

2. It Doesn’t Handle Extreme Cold Well

Although stamped concrete is considered very durable and long-lasting, one of the things that it has trouble with is extreme cold, particularly when freeze and thaw cycles occur. Freezing and thawing of water and those cold temperatures can cause cracks to occur.

3. It Requires a Good Deal of Maintenance

In order for stamped concrete to remain in prime condition, it needs to be regularly cleaned and re-sealed. Cleaning should be done at least once per month and re-sealing should be done at least once per year.

4. Making Repairs Is Not Easy

If a part of the stamped concrete happens to break or has a huge crack in it, repairing it is not going to be nearly as easy as if it was unstamped concrete. With normal concrete, more or less, just pour some more concrete in there, but with stamped concrete you have to account for creating the new pattern.

5. It’s Not Something That You Can Really DIY

When it comes down to it, those stamps as well as the dyes and other chemicals needed for this application are not very affordable. These are not materials that you were going to buy if you are just doing one single surface.

Only large concrete firms and companies are going to purchase those stamps. Custom-made stamps and patterns can cost many thousands of dollars, and moreover, it’s just not an easy task. A stamped concrete driveway is not going to look nice if it is your first time trying it. Working with stamped concrete is difficult, quite so.


The bottom line is that if you want a unique, good-looking, and durable concrete surface that is easy to maintain, then stamped concrete is a great way to go, particularly if you want to replicate the look of natural stone or brick without paying a fortune for it.

That said, stamped concrete is usually not something that you’re going to do yourself, so you will need to hire professionals to do it.