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Stamped Concrete Patio Prices
Stamped concrete, also known as decorative concrete, is a type of concrete that is made to look like other building materials such as slate, brick, stone, tile, or wood. This effect is achieved by adding color to the concrete and pressing a pattern into it. Stamped concrete is highly durable but typically costs less than natural stone and brick.
Stamped Concrete Considerations
Concrete—the bland, gray stuff of sidewalks, at least—isn't a material that most homeowners get excited about. As with any medium, however, concrete can be transformed from plain to beautiful in the hands of a skilled craftsman (or a skilled do-it-yourselfer…more on that below).
So what, exactly, is possible with stamped concrete? Some popular designs include the following:
- Adding color: Color can be added to concrete either during the mixing stage or after the surface is stamped. The advantage of surface colorants is more color options, although flaking can occur with time and use. More permanent coloration is achieved with dyed concrete. Another option is acid stained concrete, which creates a mottled, natural marble-like aesthetic. Hand-applied stain accents can also be added, but expect to pay more for this level of detail.
- Adding pattern: As the name "stamped concrete" implies, stamps (made from flexible polyurethane) are used to create patterns in the concrete surface. A stenciling sheet, however, can also be used.
- Adding texture: Texture mats—also made from polyurethane—can be used to stamp a pattern, such as slate or cobble stone, onto concrete. Once texture is added to concrete, it can be saw cut into squares for added style.
New Concrete vs. Resurfacing Concrete
Stamped concrete is often made from a freshly-poured slab, but a decorative overlay can also be added to an existing slab that's in good condition. The overlay is a thin coating that can be colored, patterned, and textured exactly like a new concrete slab. Best of all, decorative overlays tend to cost less than new decorative slab.
The Importance of a Good Contractor
While it's true of any home improvement job that the final outcome is only as good as the contractor, this is especially true for decorative concrete. That's because concrete is a finicky medium that often produces imperfect results—even in the hands of a master. In the hands of an amateur, the outcome can be truly hack. It's recommended, then, that you shop around for a concrete contractor and check out his or her portfolio of work. Even better, try to get an up-close looked at a completed job if feasible.
DIY Stamped Concrete
Although it can be completed as a DIY job, the difficulty of working with concrete, especially for the inexperienced, makes DIY stamped concrete a relatively difficult job. But if you would like to give it a go, the following resources should prove helpful:
Stamped Concrete Patio Average Costs
- Basic stamped concrete (one pattern and one color) might cost $8 to $12 per square foot.
- Stamped concrete with multiple colors and patterns might cost $12 to $20 per square foot.
- Elaborate designs, including borders, saw cuts, and hand-applied details, can cost $20 to $30 or more per square foot.
- Resurfacing concrete costs less than stamping freshly-poured slab; budget $6 to $10 per square foot.
- DIY Network estimates that a DIY resurfaced, stamped front porch costs $500 to $1,000 and takes several weekends to complete.