Written by Casandra Maier and published on https://homeguides.sfgate.com/
Many people prefer to have a stamped concrete patio or driveway because it is faster to install and more convenient compared to stone or brick installations. However, the process is much more complicated and contractors carrying out the work need to be well prepared and have the right expertise and the correct on-site equipment.
When it is time to pick a finished surface for your patio, driveway, or walkway, it is likely that you want a product that is aesthetically pleasing, durable, and cost-effective. Stamped concrete is an ever-growing popular choice due to the fact that it can be made to mimic higher-end materials such as brick and stone pavers at a fraction of those products’ cost. Before you make your final decision, however, consider the advantages and disadvantages of stamped concrete.
Stamped Concrete: Advantages & Disadvantages
When it is time to pick a finished surface for your patio, driveway or walkway, it is likely that you want a product that is aesthetically pleasing, durable and cost-effective. Stamped concrete is an ever-growing popular choice due to the fact that it can be made to mimic higher end materials such as brick and stone pavers at a fraction of those products’ cost. Before you make your final decision, however, consider the advantages and disadvantages of stamped concrete.
Choices and Aesthetics
There certainly isn’t a lack of choices when it comes to picking a stamped concrete surface for a landscape. Stamped concrete comes in many colors, patterns and textures. Mimicking almost any surface from marble to stone to weathered lumber, stamped concrete provides and aesthetically pleasing surface that adds to the value of a home and property. Stamped concrete is a budget-friendly way to add a decorative touch to a landscape.
One of stamped concrete’s advantages is its ease of installation. It is far less labor-intensive to install a stamped concrete surface than one made of pavers, for which each paver needs to be hauled and set. Installing stamped concrete is a matter of mixing, pouring and stamping. With the ease of installation, however, comes a large room for error.
Concrete is a mixture of water and cement powder. If the mixture contains too much water, a risk of rough edges and a poor finish exist because the concrete easily adheres to the stamp. Bulging and premature cracking is a problem with stamped concrete if the mixture is too dry.
Although stamped concrete may be simple to clean and requires no maintenance to retain its patterned appearance, one of its major disadvantages is that it lacks durability compared to other finished surfaces.
It is important to be careful where you install stamped concrete because it easily cracks and scratches under a heavy load. Stamped concrete is a poor choice for a driveway and any area on which cars are driven or parked. On a foot path, walkway or patio, stamped concrete is less likely to crack under pressure; however, it is still susceptible to cracking with weathering and time.
Cracks and Repair
When it comes to concrete and cracking, it is not a matter of if but when the surface will give way due weather changes and settling. In a mild, Mediterranean climate, you do not have to worry so much about stamped concrete cracking due to expansion and contraction that comes with harsh temperature fluctuations, but the surface is very likely to crack as years pass.
It is difficult to match color and surface consistency when patching a normal concrete slab, and stamped concrete makes matching color and consistency on the surface even more difficult. Although it is less expensive than other surface choices, stamped concrete may end up costing you more in the long run if you are bothered by unsightly cracks.
Other patio and walkway surface choices, such as interlocking pavers, are more costly than stamped concrete initially but cost less in the long run because their entire surface does not have to be replaced in the event of a problem. Because each paver is an individual piece, you do not have to worry about pavers cracking from pressure or settling of the surface. As pavers begin to settle, they may loosen, which may create a trip hazard, but individual pavers are easily removed and replaced.
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