Stamped Concrete: Advantages & Disadvantages

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Stamping concrete is a type of paving method that landscapers use for patios, walkways and other hardscape features. It requires pouring concrete in to an allotted space and then stamping down a design or pattern before the concrete cures. In comparison to other types of paving materials, like stone pavers and bricks, stamped concrete has its advantages and disadvantages.

Scratching and Discoloration

  • Stamped concrete surfaces are prone to scratching and discolorations. These blemishes may occur due to everyday wear and tear, such as dropping a heavy metal tool on the concrete or having wet piles of leaves build up and stain the concrete. According to Paver Search, you can protect against these problems by applying an acrylic sealer immediately fowling the installation of your stamped concrete. In addition, make sure to avoid using metal shovels for shoveling snow off your stamped concrete and have snow plows utilize protective rubber bottom edges to prevent scratching. The latter is particularly relevant for stamped concrete driveways.

Patterns

  • Using stamped concrete is any easy way achieve complex and intricate designs in your paved spaced without having to worry about measuring, cutting and arranging stones or bricks. You simply need to push down your mold or molds into the wet concrete, which you can find at home supply stores or make yourself from wood or metal. Stamped concrete allows you to replicate the look of more traditional or expensive materials, like brick, limestone or bluestone pavers, with much less effort. In addition, it is easier to make more eccentric designs such as those that involve spirals and other circular features, as you will not have to worry about fitting together stones.

Painting

  • Landscapers commonly mix pigments into concrete before pouring and stamping. This allows them to stray away form the basic, boring gray cement many people are familiar with and to create more natural and aesthetically pleasing tones. You also can buy specialized concrete paints from hardware and home supply stores, which you can use to paint individuals sections and components in your stamped design different colors.

Cracking

  • According to Greenspire Landscaping, nearly all concrete surfaces will inevitably crack, including stamped concrete ones. This could occur for a number of reasons, such as the freezing and thawing of moisture within the concrete, the concrete's tendency to shrink overtime or from heavy weights dropping on them. Cracks can severely disrupt patterns and designs in your stamped concrete, and there is no optimal way to remedy them. Applying concrete patches will likely result in non-matching sections or scars, which can be unsightly. Alternatively, when you use bricks or pavers, even if a few become disrupted or cracked, you can easily replace them.

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  • Photo Credit Concrete ground image by grafiker from Fotolia.com
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