Written by Bill Michaels
When you’re looking to improve the look for your home, sometimes you just want to start from the group up. With stamped concrete, you can take that literally and add beautiful new surfaces outdoors – and even indoors, sometimes. You can achieve a sensational look for your driveway, walkway, patio, pool deck or even your basement floor!
What is Stamped Concrete
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term stamped concrete, you’ve seen it without even noticing. It’s basically concrete with a decorative finish. It can look like a variety of other surfaces. These include natural stone, pavers, cobblestone, brick, and even wood planks.
Stamped concrete gets poured much like any concrete. However, the concrete mason adds dye to it to create the base color of the design you want. Some add the dye wile mixing, while others hard cast it once the concrete is poured. Next, they add any secondary color – for instance, the color that will create the appearance of grout between bricks.
Finally, an actual stamp is applied to the surface. older stamps were metal, but polyurethane stamps are increasingly common now. These stamps create the appearance you’re looking for. They can vary in size based on the type of pattern.
Once the stamping is done, the surface is sealed to protect the cement and the design.
You end up with all the durability of concrete but a special appearance that adds character to your home. It’s easy to maintain – sweep it off or use a mild liquid detergent when needed. Getting it resealed every two to three years will preserve the appearance for years to come!
Home Stamped Concrete Can Beautify Your Home
Stamped concrete has applications all around your home. The ones we tend to first think of are outdoors, but there are even some indoor possibilities. Let’s talk about a few of each – but remember, these are just few suggestions. The possibilities are nearly endless!
“Curb appeal” usually comes to mind when you want to sell your property, but really it’s a goal for all the time. It’s simply a matter of making your home look great from the street. Stamped concrete is another element that could be added to the list of ways to achieve that goal.
Tired of a boring asphalt or concrete driveway? Would you prefer a new look? You can match your home’s architecture and your neighborhood’s history by using decorative stamped concrete. Cobblestone could go well. Or maybe red brick. You can do the entire surface with this appearance, or simply add trim to the edge of a plain concrete surface.
The walkway and front entryway of the house can also take on a new, fancier appearance. Hand-cut stone can give a pastoral feel. Pavers or flagstone are other favorites.
And remember that you’re not limited to just the “underfoot” area itself. Flower boxes, steps and more can continue the design, even on their upright surfaces.
Even more ideas present themselves when you think of using stamped concrete behind your house. It’s great for patios, outdoor kitchens, paths and even pool decks!
Do you have a particular mood or purpose in mind for your patio area? Help highlight it not only with your garden and furniture but with the patio itself. Various stone surfaces make great options. Natural stone has a rough-hewn look. But those appearances can be replicated with stamped concrete. And concrete has the advantage that it is less likely to settle as much or as quickly and becoming uneven.
Outdoor kitchens have grown in popularity over the years. They can be more difficult to pull off in northern climates, but it can be done. And if you’re in a more temperate climate, even better! You can create the look you want for the surface area as well as the sides of your counter space. We do recommend going with real granite for the counter surface, though. It does hold up better to the type of use.
Creating Unique Spaces
If your yard is big enough, you might want to have a few different areas. Maybe right outside the back door, you want a general area for socializing. Over to the side, you could have a dining area. Another section could have a fire pit and serve for just sitting around with guests chatting. It’s easy for each of these areas to have its own surface appearance to highlight that it’s a distinct “room”. You could even leave some space between each, with short walkways connecting them!
The idea of different spaces also works really well if you have a sloped yard. Create different levels with steps between them. They can all have the same pattern or be set off more by going with a different look for each.
Another outdoor option is your pool deck. One big advantage here is that stamped concrete stays cooler than many other surface types – important when you’re walking about with bare feet!
Yes, stamped concrete is mostly an outdoor surface. But it can be great indoors, too, especially for basements where you might worry about moisture damaging other surfaces. How about extending the look of your fireplace to the whole room? A simple polished cement surface can make it look like your billiards table is part of an exclusive cigar club. Whatever the feel you want for your man cave, playroom or den, there’s a great stamped concrete look for you.
What about the Cost?
Stamped concrete is reasonably priced compared to other surface materials. Generally it’s equal to some while beating out most when it comes to installation costs. And long-term, it normally requires lower maintenance, so it’s a better investment. While getting “the real thing” in terms of a material can also have its advantage, stamped concrete is an awesome and more reasonably priced alternative that’s easy to maintain.
Wrapping It Up
When you’re looking to add to the beauty of your home, stamped concrete is a great alternative. Whether it’s for a driveway or patio, pool deck or basement floor, it’s a wonderful choice. Don’t ignore these areas when you’re remodeling.
About the Author
Bill Michaels works for Patterned Concrete as a media outreach specialist. The company is an expert and pioneer in stamped concrete since 1972. It has grown from its Toronto area roots, to have franchises across North America.