How Long Does Stamped Concrete Last?

Everyone is familiar with concrete, it is one of the most popular building materials in the world, well known for both its affordability and durability as a building material. It can be seen in everything from sidewalks and parking garages to home patios and basements. People may be less familiar with stamped concrete, though many who don’t recognize it by name would probably recognize it when they see it, so what exactly is stamped concrete?

Stamped concrete is simply regular concrete that has been patterned and stained to make it more aesthetically pleasing. The pattern on stamped concrete is imprinted after the concrete has begun to dry, but while it is still malleable enough to stamp the pattern in. Stamped concrete can be shaped and colored to resemble a staggering number of different materials and patterns. Common stamped concrete patterns include flagstone, cobblestone, brick, and tile, and it can even be made to resemble wooden planks. The wide aesthetic flexibility of stamped concrete makes it a great choice for outdoor features such as patios and garden walkways. 

But, you may be wondering, how long does stamped concrete last before it needs to be replaced? Does the stamping process damage the integrity of concrete or lower its famed resilience as a building material? When stamped concrete was first introduced, the technique wasn’t quite perfected, and the concrete wasn’t able to be stamped to an even depth, leading to stamped concrete being less durable than regular concrete. However, in the 70-odd years since stamped concrete was first introduced, the stamping techniques have been improved upon, and the life expectancy of stamped concrete is no longer meaningfully different from regular concrete, lasting about 25-30 years, provided of course that the concrete is properly maintained. 

Stamped concrete does have slightly different maintenance needs than plain concrete, however. Because stamped concrete is also typically dyed to resemble the material it has been patterned into, the color fades long before the stamped concrete is no longer structurally sound, usually within about five years, though if it is outdoors and has to contend with harsh weather such as northern winters, the color can fade even more quickly. In order to maintain stamped concrete’s appearance, recoloring will eventually be necessary, and resealing the concrete annually is especially important to help maintain stamped concrete’s color. 

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