How Much Does a Stamped Concrete Patio Cost?
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Stamped concrete serves as a low-cost alternative to other materials for paving and decorating. When properly installed, the concrete takes on the appearance of a more expensive material, including slate or brick. Installers can also make stamped concrete look like brick pavers or field stone. The material is strong enough for use as a simple patio attached to a house, and some homeowners also use the patio to add space around a swimming pool. Though everyone interested in stamped concrete cares about cost, they should also weigh other factors carefully and look at the advantages and disadvantages before choosing this material.
$8 to $20 per square foot
What is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete refers to the process of decorating concrete once it has been laid by an installer. Professional landscaping and patio companies use the same type of concrete used in driveways and other projects, and the material consists of a sandy substance that the installer mixes with water. The installer will need to create a mold that holds the concrete in place until it dries. Without the mold, the concrete could move and slide into other areas of the lawn.
The installer will mix the concrete and water and pour it directly into the mold. Some installers let a small layer of concrete cure overnight before adding a second layer while others will use a thicker layer of concrete and let the patio cure for several days. While the surface of the concrete is still wet, the installer will stamp the surface with a design of the homeowner's choosing. Depending on the chosen design, the installer might need to stamp the concrete multiple times. After the concrete sets, the finished design will appear on the top.
Cost of A Stamped Concrete Patio
The total cost of adding a stamped concrete patio to a home depends on the design chosen and any colors needed. A basic job with a simple design will cost around $8 to $12 per square foot, but that cost can increase for a more intricate design. The most elaborate patios cost more and often incorporate detailed elements, including:
There is no limit to what designers can do with stamped concrete. They can add coloring to the wet concrete to give it a deep brick-red color or a blue-green color that resembles field stone. Designers can also add multiple designs and shapes to the finished patio, such as round medallions arranged around a geometric design.
One factor that can increase the cost is when the designer must apply more colors by hand. This often occurs when the homeowner wants a specific color that the designer cannot make while the concrete is wet. While the concrete cures, the designer will add new colors by hand. As this is a time consuming process, it can increase the price significantly.
Advantages of Stamped Concrete
Stamped concrete comes with all the advantages of a paved patio with none of the common problems. Many homeowners like that they can get the look of a paver patio without any of the problems associated with those pavers. When installing pavers, grass and weeds can grow up between each piece. Even when the installer places the pavers close together, those problems can still occur. Stamped concrete has the same look as those pavers, but homeowners won't find any weeds or grass peeking through the material.
Another big advantage associated with stamped concrete is that it is extremely durable. While some materials are only suitable for certain areas of the country, people can use stamped concrete no matter where they live. It won't crack or break when exposed to rain or snow, making it a good choice for areas that receive snow and ice, and it also works well when used around a swimming pool or hot tub. Even after five or 10 years of use, the material looks just as good as when it was first installed.
Those looking for something that requires little maintenance will find that stamped concrete is a good option for them. The designer or installer will seal the concrete after setting the design, and that sealant will keep the concrete from absorbing water. Though homeowners will need to reapply that sealant every few years, stamped concrete requires little else in terms of maintenance.
Disadvantages of Stamped Concrete
While stamped concrete does have some great benefits, it also suffers from a few problems. One of the biggest problems is that the concrete can develop ridges when improperly stamped. This often occurs when the installer needs to use two stamps or needs to move the stamp to design a larger patio. The ridges will appear in between the stamped areas and detract from the overall design.
Efflorescence is another problem that can occur on a stamped concrete patio. This occurs when the concrete comes into contact with water, and it leaves behind crystallized deposits on the surface of the patio. This often happens when water reaches the concrete before it finishes curing or drying. The effects can take several weeks or months to appear, but some homeowners will notice that the crystals appear within a few days after installation. Efflorescence can also occur when the sealant on the surface of the concrete wears off. Water from rain, snow or ice can settle into the concrete and leave behind those crystals. Homeowners need to ensure that they seal the concrete properly to prevent this problem from occurring.
Stamped concrete is a durable material that can last for years when properly maintained. Homeowners who like the look of pavers or another material but cannot afford those materials will find that stamped concrete is a more affordable option. With designs starting at around $8 per square foot, some homeowners might even find that they can afford a larger patio or a more intricate design than they expected.
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Last updated on May 16, 2016