When you’re designing a patio, you want it to be practical and stylish at the same time, making it an enjoyable place to entertain or relax on your own.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make about the patio layout is the flooring style you’ll go with, as it can determine the overall cost, functionality, and the final design of your outdoor area significantly.
Stamped concrete patios are become more popular than ever, thanks to the unique ability of this surface to create a textured effect that looks a lot more expensive than it is. With a stamped concrete floor on your new patio, you can get virtually any look you’re after and stay well within your budget.
What is a stamped concrete patio and how does it work?
Stamped concrete, also known as textured concrete or stamped impression concrete, is a method of laying concrete and then applying special texture molds to the surface.
The result is a stylish patio floor that can look like any type of material you want, whether it’s granite, stone, or timber, and in any color and with special patterns also possible.
If you’ve been looking for an affordable way to add some wow factor to your outdoors, a stamped concrete patio is a great option.
These floors add texture and color, are durable enough to last for many years, and reasonably priced, so it’s worth diving in to find out more about what makes them so special.
- 1 What Is Stamped Concrete?
- 2 Stamped Concrete vs. Other Patio Pavements
- 3 The Pros and Cons of This Design
- 4 Can You DIY Stamped Concrete?
- 5 The Costs of a Stamped Concrete Patio
- 6 Color Choices of Stamped Concrete
- 7 Stamped Concrete Patio Trends to Follow
- 8 Related Questions
What Is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete is another term for regular poured concrete that might have had color added to it and a texture stamped onto it before it dries.
This stamping is done with a special texture mold, and it can resemble anything from the outline of pavers to flowers and other intricate patterns, so the results can vary quite a lot.
Once the concrete has dried, the textured effects can dry to look like tiles, timber, stone, slate, and brick, depending on the style and pattern you chose, or a consistent and simple concrete finish.
Not only is it versatile, but this unique floor surface is known for being one of the more affordable options, especially when you have a larger space to cover.
Stamped concrete can be used for either domestic or commercial applications, and it’s a popular paving choice for people who are renovating or building a patio.
With a specially textured surface, it not only looks like more expensive materials have been laid, but it’s also safer to walk on regardless of the conditions outside, which is especially handy when it’s wet out.
Stamped Concrete vs. Other Patio Pavements
When it comes to outdoor flooring options, there’s a lot to choose from, but how do these favorites stack up against stamped concrete? These are some of the popular choices for patio floors and what they have to offer compared to this textured concrete effect.
If you plan on building a deck, wood is a great choice visually, but one that can cost a lot of money. Using hardwood floors outside means it’s opened up to the elements as well, and you’ll have to commit to a lot of maintenance like sanding and oiling just to keep it in good condition.
For the wood effect on a budget, you might choose a wood-look option for the floors, like vinyl planks or composite wood tiles. They give a more expensive and rustic look to the patio but won’t last as long as concrete, so be prepared to replace some boards now and then.
Tiles are one of the best flooring options for inside and outside, but the costs can add up especially in a larger space. Tiling the patio gives you lots of choice for how it looks and you can get some sturdy surfaces that protect against slipping, but it must be in your budget first.
Artificial grass was a big hit back in the day, and it’s still found on the floor of some patios in modern times. Made to resemble real grass but with a lot more durability, this might not be a contemporary look that everyone aims for with their patio design.
If your patio is covered and there’s no risk that water will come in, you might choose to cover the floor with carpet. Although somewhat dated now and with the ability to absorb some exterior smells, outdoor carpet is soft on your feet and good for those with issues walking on harder surfaces.
Although it might sound absurd, rubber flooring is used on many patios, thanks to its slip-resistant and shock-absorbing properties. It’s not the nicest to look at but if you’re concerned with comfort rather than style, it might be a good option.
The Pros and Cons of This Design
Stamped concrete as a patio floor choice makes sense for most homes, but before you can decide whether it’s the right fit for yours, you’ll want to weigh up the good and the bad. Check out our list of pros and cons when it comes to stamped concrete to determine if it’ll work at your house.
- A cheaper alternative to brick and pavers
- Long-lasting flooring option
- Versatile design and color choices
- Slip-resistant and durable
- Adds value to your patio and outdoor areas
- Requires professional installation
- Hard to repair when cracked
- Ongoing maintenance needed to seal and clean
- May be damaged by freeze/thaw cycles in cold climates
Can You DIY Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete is a flooring option that should only be completed by a professional, due to the complexity of the steps involved, so it’s not ideal for those wanting to cut costs by doing it themselves. Here’s what’s required to lay stamped concrete by a professional concreter, so you can see what’s involved:
Preparing the base
Before the concrete is laid, a sub-base must be put down first. This foundation is made up of between two to four inches of stone or a special material that must be compacted tightly and spread evenly before the concrete goes down.
Forming is the process of setting up the frame of where the concrete will be poured and it’s essential to prevent slopes, standing water issues, and low spots.
A professional will survey the area, prepare a form to lay the concrete into, and take into account the angles and existing landscape to ensure it’s done correctly.
The job of mixing concrete isn’t so hard in smaller spaces but working with a patio sized area requires a lot.
A professional will have all of the tools required to mix large quantities of concrete as well as choosing the right colors and mixing techniques to get the desired effect. The labor involved in this step alone is tremendous, with just one cubic foot of concrete weighing 150 pounds.
Once the concrete has been mixed, it has to be poured and finished evenly. This process is crucial to the final look and durability of your patio floor, and it’s an art that takes years to perfect. When concrete isn’t placed properly, faults will start showing up after just one year.
The trickiest part of the process is stamping the concrete, and this step alone is what makes it a potential DIY nightmare. The imprinting process is done with professional concrete stamps that must be applied at the right angle and pressure, which is why expert help is so important.
Depending on the method you choose for coloring the stamped concrete, this is the part of the process where it might be done. For post-applied color, you need a professional to understand how the shades work and what impact the concrete and seal used might affect them.
Curing and sealing
Curing, cleaning, and sealing the stamped concrete is the last part of the job, but just as important as the rest. This ensures its longevity, gives it anti-slip properties and makes sure the finish is perfect.
The Costs of a Stamped Concrete Patio
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to spruce up your patio, stamped concrete is one of the favorites.
There are varying price levels depending on the finish you want, the type of concrete, the stamping pattern, and the experience level of the contractor installing it. However, these are some rough estimates of what you might pay per square foot:
- Single color with accents: $2 – $5 per foot
- Basic stamping pattern and one color: $6 – $7 per foot
- Textured stamping pattern with one color and distinctive border: $8 – $12 per foot
- Two or more colors and patterns used at once: $12 – $18
- Chemical stain accents (applied by hand): $18 per foot
The best way to estimate how much your new stamped concrete patio will cost is to measure up the intended space you want it laid. For the average patio, you can expect to pay between $3,751 and $8,540 for all materials and installation, according to Home Guide.
There are some additional costs with stamped concrete to be aware of, more to do with maintenance and fixing repairs that come up.
The sub-base may need to be refilled to prevent sinking spots, or you can have the patio surfaced with overlay and a new layer of concrete, costing around $3 per square foot. For individual cracks, you’ll need to spend around $300 if you want them fixed.
Color Choices of Stamped Concrete
With a few minor changes to the composition of the materials, you can completely transform the look of stamped concrete, making it a top choice for any type of backyard style.
There are several ways you can customize this flooring choice to suit exactly the look you’re going for, with the variety of colors being the most important.
The three main methods used to change the color of the concrete will alter the boldness of the color, giving you a different result depending on what you select.
Some options are cheaper than others and others have more of a dramatic effect on how the color appears, so there’s a lot more to consider than just the tint you want.
- Integral coloring: This method occurs when the color is mixed into the concrete before it’s laid. The result is a more subtle look that is better suited to earthy tones and textures that aren’t stamped to resemble other materials.
- Dry-shake color hardener: This is applied once the concrete has been laid and it’s similar to painting the surface. With a dry-shake color hardener, you’ll get much more vivid color and it’ll last longer, particularly for patios that are directly affected by the elements.
- Surface-applied color hardener: As the name suggests, these colors are applied to the surface of the concrete. They feature released agents that work with the previous two potions to make a more natural finish. If you’d rather choose something that resembles stone or raw materials, it’s the best option.
Stamped Concrete Patio Trends to Follow
A well-appointed patio is the easiest way to make the most of the outdoors, and whether you’re entertaining friends or enjoying it with family, you want to make sure it looks amazing.
If you’ve settled on a stamped concrete patio for your base, it’s a smart design trend, thanks to the oodles of different styles you can achieve with just a few small changes in this textured pavement.
- Wood: This type of concrete features the impression of several wood grains running through it to look like a hardwood plank. The planks are sized around six inches wide and can be colored and textured to look like a range of wood varieties.
- Cobblestone: A cobblestone stamped concrete patio is lightly textured and features two or more colors to give it an authentic look. This is also ideal for pathways leading away from the patio area.
- Brick: Designed to look just like brick pavers, these can be either matte or with a high gloss finish. They feature sharp corners and random irregularities in the pattern to make it similar to a brick surface.
- Stone: Textured concrete can be colored and stamped to appear like popular stone choices including marble, granite, and limestone. This is a cheaper way to get an expensive look without having to purchase tiles or blocks.
- Rough stone: Heavily textured stamped concrete designed to look like a rough, unfinished stone. This type of concrete is ideal for wet areas as it has a good non-slip surface.
- European fan: This popular choice of texture is made to replicate tiles that have been laid in the European fan style. The colors can vary depending on the style of brick you want to emulate and it gives an expensive-looking finish.
Stamped concrete is the easiest way to combine the beauty of indoor flooring with the durability needed in the outdoors. When it comes to your patio specifically, these are the two worlds that we want to merge, so it makes sense that this has become such a popular choice.
If you have questions about concrete flooring and need answers, we can help you out with some common FAQs about this textured pavement.
Is Stamped Concrete Cheaper Than Pavers?
One of the reasons for stamped concrete’s popularity is its low price point, and when compared to traditional pavers, it’s slightly cheaper to lay but just as long-lasting.
The biggest cost comes from labor, but it’s worth spending the money to have a professional install it. If you’re after the look of pavers and want a wide option of colors and patterns, stamped concrete is a more affordable way to pave your patio.
How Long Will Stamped Concrete Last?
When installed correctly by a professional and receiving regular maintenance, treating, and cleaning, stamped concrete can last up to 25 years.
The process of laying stamped concrete is the same as other types of solid concrete, which is known for its durability and long life, especially as an outdoor surface option.
Does Stamped Concrete Crack Easily?
The longevity of a stamped concrete floor will depend entirely on the quality of materials used and the installation processes taken to lay it, which is why it’s advisable not to attempt the job unless you’re experienced.
Although it won’t crack easily, one advantage of stamped concrete is that even if cracks start to show, they blend in well with the surface pattern, so they’re harder to detect.