Does Stamped Concrete Hold Up Or Will You Regret It?

If you're redoing your outdoor space, you may be interested in using stamped concrete to enhance your property, especially if a patio is involved. As you choose the best finish for your concrete patio, you might wonder about the longevity and durability of this type of project. Yes, stamped concrete is popular since it's more affordable than pavers, making it a less expensive way of elevating your outdoor space. It can also last upwards of 25 years, provided you maintain it. However, does stamped concrete fall under the "you get what you paid" category since it has a lower price tag? The good news is that with proper maintenance, you can enjoy this decorative exterior element for decades. You just might need a few tools in your shed to keep it looking its best. 

Aside from longevity, stamped concrete allows you to add pops of color to otherwise dull concrete. When installing stamped concrete, choose from various shades in the beige, red, and gray family, to name a few. You can also install stamped concrete to create different surface areas, such as a driveway, patio, or walkway. Even better, you can create intricate designs with stamped concrete — something you can't achieve with pavers without shelling out some serious cash. With stamped concrete, the sky is the limit with exterior design, which understandably makes it one of the most popular design ideas for your concrete patio

Caring for stamped concrete

Yes, there are tons of unnecessary home maintenance projects you don't actually have to do, but caring for stamped concrete isn't one of them. To keep your stamped concrete looking fresh for decades, begin by purchasing the appropriate tools to care for it. To start, you'll need a good garden hose with plenty of water pressure, and you'll also need a push broom. Ideally, you only need to maintain your stamped concrete once a year, which means there's minimal time invested, but don't think about neglecting this chore. First, remove any dirt, debris, or caked-on grime with your garden hose. If need be, you can pressure wash stamped concrete, but the humble garden hose should do the trick. Combine soap and water in a bucket, and use your push broom to clean your stamped concrete. 

Although there are many on the market, you don't need any fancy soap; a mild cleaner will do. This could be dish soap or laundry detergent — whatever you have available. If you don't have a push broom, you can use a regular broom, but be mindful of using anything too harsh or abrasive — chemicals included. You don't want to risk damaging the surface of your stamped concrete. Once you've cleaned everything, rinse away the debris with your hose. If you see any cracks, chips, or other signs of damage, have your stamped concrete immediately repaired, preventing any further damage from occurring. 

Be mindful of damaged stamped concrete

When you leave cracks in concrete for too long, you're compromising the integrity of your entire project. A small crack can expand, creating an uneven surface and a dangerous hazard. A small crack also lets water settle, affecting your stamped concrete's durability and, eventually, its integrity. Unfortunately, constant repairs can become costly, and you may even need to replace your stamped concrete in its entirety. Proper maintenance is an excellent — and affordable — way of circumventing early replacement of an otherwise durable home project. 

If you notice cracks, contact your contractor; some offer limited warranties. Even if you're out of warranty, your contractor can still complete repairs before this molehill becomes a mountain, a more expensive issue. For example, cracks might easily be filled with grout or caulk in a similar color to your current stamped concrete. You should also talk to your contractor about resealing your concrete, which is recommended every three to five years. Although the price for this type of maintenance varies based on surface area, you can expect resealing stamped concrete to cost an average of $1,500. Other factors affect the price, but since a new stamped concrete driveway can cost over $10,000, maintenance is worth considering. With proper care, however, stamped concrete is a worthwhile investment you'll appreciate for decades to come.