How to Make a Stamped Concrete Patio

A stamped concrete patio, also known as imprinted or textured concrete patio, is used to resemble natural materials such as flagstone or slate, as well as tile, brick, and even wood. Driveways, patios, pool decks, and other outside spaces are popular because of the large array of pattern and color options available.

stamped concrete patio

Furthermore, it is a cost-effective paving solution that requires less care than other paving materials. If you want to know more about what is stamped concrete, how much it costs, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of installing it, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is Stamped Concrete?

Wood, tile, stone, slate, and brick are all examples of textures and patterns that can be achieved by stamping concrete. Stamped concrete can be used to create a variety of different patterns and textures. Stamped concrete is frequently used for beautiful patios, walkways, interior flooring, and pool decks, among other applications.

What Is Stamped Concrete?View in gallery

The shortest answer for all those wondering what is stamped concrete is that it is a concrete surface that has been dyed and textured to give it the appearance of other materials without costing as much.

Because stamped concrete may be made to look like other building materials, such as brick, slate, and stone, it is a less expensive option to employ those other actual building materials. Stamped concrete is made up of stamped tiles that are layered on top of one another.

When it comes to stamped concrete, three procedures distinguish it from other concrete procedures: the addition of a base and then an accent color, and imprinting the pattern into the concrete.

The addition of a base color is the most common of these three procedures, and the addition of an accent color is the least common. Stamped concrete with a shape and color that is similar to natural construction materials is achieved via the use of these three methods. It also has a longer lifespan than laid stone while maintaining a similar appearance.

Things to Know Before Starting Your Stamped Concrete Patio

Things to Know Before Starting Your Stamped Concrete PatioView in gallery

As far as design and aesthetics are concerned, stamped concrete is unbeatable when it comes to variety. The possibilities are nearly limitless with stamped concrete. Numerous people draw inspiration from their surrounding nature or the architectural style of their home, and then select patterns and colors that fit in with the existing tile, stone, or textured concrete elements in their home.

Colorant

Stamped concrete is mixed with a base color which is meant to act as the primary color in the entire mixture.  The color of the base is chosen to reflect and mimic the color of the natural building material.  The basic color of the concrete is achieved by mixing in a color hardener with it. Color hardener is a powdered pigment that is used to color concrete in a variety of different shades and hues.

Application of Color Hardener

There are two different ways in which color hardener can be applied: either as a cast-on color or integral color. Integral color refers to the process in which one dyes all the concrete volume in the base color at the same time. By introducing the color hardener to the mixture and enabling all of the concrete in the truck to be dyed, the entire volume of concrete can be colored. Cast-on color refers to the method in which the surface of the concrete is colored to match the base color of the concrete.

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Concrete Color Methods

Concrete can be colored in a variety of ways, including using color hardeners, integrated powder or liquid, acid stains, and other methods. The procedure of integrally coloring the concrete has the advantage of coloring the entire volume. Keep in mind that the surface strength is not boosted in the same way that the application of color hardener increases the surface strength. Another popular method of coloring concrete is with dry-shake color hardener.

As soon as the concrete is floated for the first time, you should broadcast the hardener onto it. After allowing the bleed water to soak into the hardener, float and trowel it into the hardener to complete the process. Although this approach only covers about 3/16 of an inch of the concrete surface, it provides a longer wear life for the concrete surface.

Stamped Concrete Patterns

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The surface of the stamped concrete is shaped in a pattern. The design is based on the geometry of the natural building material used in the construction. The design is created by stamping a “concrete stamp” into the freshly poured concrete immediately after it has been poured. Traditional “cookie-cutter” style concrete stamps were made of a variety of metals, but current polyurethane concrete stamps are mostly constructed of polyurethane. The old-style stamps could not create natural stone texture, which was necessary for this application.

Stamping Methods

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Concrete stamping is a method in which people can create stamped concrete patterns using stamps. After the color release has been sprayed to the concrete, the stamps are set on top of the concrete. The stamped concrete is created by pressing the concrete stamps into the concrete and then removing them, leaving the pattern in the stamped concrete.

With concrete and cracking, it’s just a matter of time until the surface suffers from weather changes. Stamped concrete cracking is less of a concern in a moderate, Mediterranean climate because of the contraction and expansion that occurs as a result of extreme temperature variations, but the surface is still highly susceptible to break over time.

Fixing Stamped Concrete

When mending a regular concrete slab, it is tough to match the color and consistency of the surface; however, when patching stamped concrete, matching the color and consistency of the surface is even more challenging. Although stamped concrete is less expensive than other surface options, if you are disturbed by ugly cracks, you may end up spending more money in the long run than you should.

Understanding Stamped Concrete Cost

Although the initial stamped concrete cost is more than the cost of asphalt or plain concrete, it is far less expensive than the cost of laying brick or natural stone pavers. Stamped concrete is a cost-effective way to achieve the appearance of more expensive materials at a fraction of the cost.

A stamped concrete patio that has been properly built costs between $10 and $15 per square foot. Here’s a short price comparison to get you started:

  • Plain concrete costs between $6 and $12 per square foot.
  • Brick costs between $14 and $20 per square foot.
  • Marble, slate, or stone cost between $17 and $28 per square foot.
  • Concrete pavers cost between $13 and $20 per square foot.

Naturally, there are several factors that influence the stamped concrete cost, including the prices for materials in the area where you live, how much labor costs in your region, the type and quantity of colorant used to make it, as well as the level of detail in the job.

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Pros and Cons to a Stamped Concrete Patio

Naturally, there are a few downsides to choosing stamped concrete for your patio, so let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of choosing this type of material over the others currently existing on the market.

Pro: It’s relatively easy to care for in the long term. Other types of surface materials, such as pavers, might become loose or sink with time, posing a tripping hazard to pedestrians. A significant advantage of stamped concrete is that it never requires resetting or replacing. It eliminates tripping dangers in parks, resorts, and other public places.

Con: It creates uneven surfaces. The use of strongly embossed patterns in stamped concrete is recommended for ADA accessibility; while the texture is appealing, it generates uneven surfaces that cause patio furniture to wobble and can be dangerous for people with limited mobility. Ridges and bumps on walking surfaces must be no higher than 14 inches in height to comply with accessibility rules.

Pro: It isn’t as difficult to install as other materials. Pouring concrete and applying a pattern, rather than hauling and placing individual paving stones by hand, is considered more cost-effective and doesn’t require the same amount of effort, according to some installers.

Con: Concrete is prone to cracking. It can happen immediately after a pour or months or years afterward, but it will occur. People aim to control where the cracks appear by putting control joints in place. As the name implies, control joints are designed to provide weak spots in cement, which the concrete will ideally take advantage of and break there rather than someplace else in the structure. However, concrete does not always behave in the way we would expect it to.

Pro: It increases your property value. Stamped concrete enhances the aesthetic value and curb appeal of a property almost immediately. If you choose stamped concrete to the detriment of plain concrete, you can increase the value of your investment and increase its return.

Con: You’re going to rely on weather upon installation. The contractor can’t start, continue, or finish your patio if rain is probable. Rain is extremely damaging to your concrete patio.   A large amount of water can hurt the texture, color, consistency, and even the amount of time it takes to cure. The temperature outside has a significant impact on the performance of concrete. If the weather is too cold, it can take longer for the concrete to harden. On the other hand, if the weather is too hot, the concrete will harden much more quickly, which will reduce the amount of time the contractor has at their disposal between color application and stamping.  Curing concrete too slowly or too quickly can both result in a reduction in the concrete’s structural quality.

Pro: You can make it look like almost anything. The selection of a stamped concrete surface for your yard is surely not limited when it comes to the materials available. Stamped concrete is available in a wide variety of textures, patterns, and color. With the ability to mimic practically any surface, from stone to marble to worn lumber, stamped concrete creates an aesthetically beautiful surface that increases the value of a home and its surrounding property.

Stamped Concrete Patio Ideas

Backyard Stamped Concrete Patio

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A lot of people will choose a stamped concrete patio that imitates natural stone, like this one from Bianchi Brickyard, as this blends in with a variety of house exteriors and it’s really a type of design that you can’t go wrong with. You can create a nice little backyard patio deck to place a few chairs and an end table, or you can expand the surface to make a little outdoor kitchen.

Covered Stamped Concrete Patio

Covered Stamped Concrete PatioView in gallery

Having a gazebo in your yard means no more excuses to spend time outdoors because it’s raining. Urban Oasis Outdoor Living has inspired us to dream of nights spent out by the fireplace in a cozy lounging area that also includes a cooking space.

Contemporary Pool with Stamped Concrete Patio

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Bellas Landscaping brings more inspiration, this time with an outdoor kitchen area that’s right by the pool. As you can see, stamped concrete blends in very well with this setup, offering aesthetic integrity and a great place to wine and dine.

How to Make a DIY Stamped Concrete Patio

If you’re reading to learn how to make your own stamped concrete patio, we’ve got a pretty cool and not-that-complicated tutorial in store for you. Following up, we’re going to give you a list of tools and materials needed to see this project through, as well as the steps required to make your own beautiful stamped concrete patio.

Note that the following project is for a patio that measures 18 x 12 feet and has four inches in thickness.

Tools to Make Stamped Concrete

  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Quick cut saw
  • Self-leveling laser
  • Ashlar slate stamps
  • Concrete rake
  • Concrete bull float
  • Concrete screed
  • Backpack blower
  • Pressure washer
  • Rebar wire tying tool
  • Electric soft cut saw

Materials to make Stamped Concrete

  • 2 x 4s
  • Screws
  • Large metal pins
  • String
  • Rebar wire ties
  • Concrete sealer
  • Stainless steel sprayer
  • Charcoal release agent
  • Dish detergent

Step #1: Creating the frame

  • Using your electric screwdriver, put the 2 x 4s together to create a frame that will serve as an outline for pouring the concrete.
  • It’s important to remember that you can make this frame as large and as small as you want, but the measurements you end up with will be the dimensions of your concrete surface.
  • Place pins in the corner of the frame and run string from one pin to another. These strings will give you something to go by in order to pin the middle of the forms to make sure they are perfectly straight.
  • Place the rebars along the length and width of the frame and use your quick-cut saw to bring them to size. Use rebar wire ties to secure the rebars in place so that everything is ready for concrete pouring.

Step #2: Pouring the concrete

  • Before pouring the concrete, you want to check the level using a laser (such as the Topcon HL5-B self-leveling laser).
  • When it’s time to pour the concrete, it would make it easier for you if you had an extra set of helping hands. While the process of leveling out the porch isn’t complicated, the outside temperature the day you’re doing this is crucial. The ideal setup would be to work at around 60 degrees, but if it’s hotter than that, you could find yourself in a time-constricted situation. You don’t want the concrete to set way too fast, so make sure you always check the weather before starting this project.
  • As the concrete is poured into the frame, use your concrete rakes to spread it as evenly as possible throughout the entire frame enclosure.
  • Level out the entire surface using screeds and bull float. This process might take all your concentration and precision skills, and it’s most likely the step where you’d wish you hired a contractor. However, it’s not impossible to do and the end result is worth it.

Step #3: Stamping the patio

  • You want to have all your stamps ready before you start this step because you don’t want the concrete drying too much before you proceed with the actual stamping.
  • Place your Ashlar slate patterns one next to another. You can get playful with how you make the patterns here, but if you decide to hire contractors, they will know what to do to make the end result look awesome. You don’t want to place all the stamps at once (you should have about 5 or 6 down at any given time), as you will have time to move them around to get your pattern ready.
  • Get you saw joints cut into the patio after allowing the concrete to set for another 24 hours. If you cut stamped concrete the same day, you are likely going to leave saw marks on the surface of the patio.

Step #4: Clean the concrete

  • Using a broom, make sure you get as much dust off the surface as possible, to prepare it for easier pressure washing.
  • For this project, it’s best to use a pressure washer with a fan tip on it.
  • Remove the forms (the frame of the concrete) so that water can run off a little easier.
  • Use a mild form of dish detergent (Dawn is recommended because it has a good release agent and is easy to clean off).
  • When you’re using the pressure washer, don’t place the tip too close to the concrete or it will leave lines and impressions on the surface (about 16 inches away from the surface should be enough).
  • Start off by cleaning the surface of the concrete from the release agent (you don’t need to use detergent in this step).
  • When you’re done, throw a five-gallon mixture or water and dish detergent on the patio and start cleaning and rinsing using the pressure washer. You might be required to use a broom to scrub the patio because the release agent might end up in the grooves.

Step #5: Sealing the concrete

  • Once you’ve washed the concrete surface, you want to leave it to dry for 24 hours before attempting to seal it.
  • Before sealing, use a leaf blower to blow off all the dust that’s on the patio.
  • Make sure that you use a quality spray in the sealing process. Two coats will usually give you the end result you’re looking for, but this depends on the patio look you’re going for specifically. Make sure you tap the impression of the stamp into the concrete before removing it.

FAQ

How much does a 20×20 stamped concrete patio cost?

The average cost for a 20 x 20 stamped concrete patio is around $3,650.

Is it cheaper to do stamped concrete or pavers?

Patio and deck materials such as stamped concrete are quite popular all around the world. Stamped concrete is slightly less expensive than pavers, and it comes in a range of colors and designs. It is inevitable that stamped concrete will crack over time due to the fact that it is made of concrete. Control joints will be placed every few feet by installers in an attempt to mitigate this problem.

Is stamped concrete good for a patio?

Yes, it is. Stamped concrete is most typically utilized for highly visible hardscaped outside spaces, beginning with the front patio and driveway, but it is also used for pool patios, garden walkways, and terraces on a more frequent basis.

How much does a 10×20 concrete patio cost?

The average cost for a 10 x 20 stamped concrete patio is around $2,150.

The Wrap Up

When stamping concrete was initially introduced to the World of Concrete in the 1970s, it quickly gained popularity. A new technique to please the customer while also keeping their budget intact was seen as a breakthrough by the construction industry. It has been practiced since at least the 1950s to stamp concrete with a pattern.

Initially, there were just a few design and color options available when stamping concrete was initially invented. In addition to new stamping patterns being developed, numerous various types of stains have also been introduced as the industry has progressed. Furthermore, stamped concrete can be applied to a variety of different textures and surfaces.