The Pros and Cons of Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete is a form of concrete that is patterned and colored in order to resemble a myriad of different materials, from flagstone to red clay bricks. The capability to resemble such a wide variety of different building materials makes it a suitable choice for many different aesthetic goals for all sorts of public and private infrastructure and building projects. One can find examples of stamped concrete being used everywhere from college quads to backyard patios. 

One of the best things about stamped concrete as a building material is that it maintains all of the strengths of traditional concrete, and even neutralizes some of concrete’s more negative aspects. While when it was first introduced about 70 years ago stamped concrete didn’t quite maintain the strength and durability of traditional concrete, as methods for stamping concrete have improved and evolved, the stamping process no longer impacts the structural integrity or lifespan of the concrete, while also being able to transcend the brutalist architectural style traditionally associated with concrete as a building material. Stamped concrete is also far more cost-effective than many of the materials it imitates. For example, flagstone can cost anywhere between $15 and $22 per sq/ft, while stamped concrete made to resemble flagstone costs only between $9 and $13 per sq/ft. 

Still, for all the strengths of stamped concrete, it won’t be the best choice for every project. The coating on stamped concrete that gives it the color and look to mimic a different material tends to get very slippery when wet, making it not necessarily the safest choice for areas that experience a lot of rainy weather or for poolsides. Additionally, stamped concrete can still chip and crack over time like traditional concrete, and repairs aren’t as simple as just filling cracks and chips in as the repairs will stand out quite starkly with the rest of the concrete, meaning stamped concrete isn’t always the best choice for outdoor spaces that contend with harsh weather. 

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