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Stamped Concrete Pros & Cons: Weighing Your Options

by on August 16, 2016

Decorative concrete has become a national sensation because of the many options it presents despite being an economical alternative to other flooring materials. But just like any story, there is a good and bad side to it. It is important for homeowners and commercial establishments to know these two sides to give them the proper expectation and to help them decide whether concrete stamping is the thing for their home or commercial space.

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Pros of Stamping Concrete:

  • Better Aesthetics – It is a known fact that stamped concrete offers a large selection of patterns and designs to choose from. You can make it look like natural stone, brick, pavers, cobblestone, wood, and more. You can even have a custom design made especially for you. You can even choose the colors that would go on it and make it complement the exterior theme of your home.
  • Easy Installation – Compared to the material it is being substituted for, concrete overlays are a lot easier to install because you just pour and spread the overlay mixture and stamping can begin. Other flooring materials, on the other, need to be installed piece by piece. Some may even require a complete concrete overhaul.
  • Economical – In a nutshell, stamped overlays are a lot more affordable than natural stone, brick, and even pavers. Although it does look expensive, it costs less and lasts long enough to make the investment worthwhile.
  • Low Maintenance – If you ever had real stone or bricks installed before, you know how weeds can grow in between units and how they can become uneven as time goes by. This will never be an issue with a stamped surface because it is one continuous piece of concrete overlay. Not even joints or scorelines could make it high maintenance.

Cons of Stamped Concrete:

  • Simulates Aesthetics Only – Concrete stamp patterns may make an overlay resemble an expensive flooring material but it can only mimic its visual features, not its durability or any other good features. Natural stone is known to be very durable and a stamped version can not replicate that.
  • Cracks – Just like most concrete, it is prone to cracking. However, the cracking often depends on the old concrete slab it is applied on. If there is an existing movement or crack under the overlay, then it is most likely for the top layer to crack at one point. But if the old concrete is in good condition and the subgrade has been properly prepared and compacted, cracks could be minimized.
  • Color Retouching – There may come a time that the custom stains or colors on a stamped concrete surface would fade away, chip off, or peel. It can be retouched but do not expect the contractor to get it exactly as it was. There may be quite a difference but then it isn’t a total disadvantage if it still looks decorative.

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