In a word, stamped concrete is fantastic. It is gaining popularity across the country and in Pleasanton too, as a beautiful, cost-effective alternative to cobblestones, pavers, and bricks in patio, driveway, and even indoor construction. For years, stamped concrete really only looked great in expensive commercial installations, but thanks to a number of technological breakthroughs, stamped concrete has become more affordable and more attractive. New pigments and better texture-applying processes have helped make this transition possible.
Okay, Well What Is Stamped Concrete?
Stamping concrete is very much like it sounds. A slab of concrete is poured for a driveway, walkway, patio, garage floor, or other surface and then it is infused with color and literally pressed with a mold before it fully dries. Before these latest technological advances, the biggest knock against stamped concrete was that the patterns were very repetitive and poor (not to mention the strange pigments). Today, however, the stamps are much more varied and able to achieve looks that closely mimic real the real thing, without noticeable repetition.
Why is it Better?
Better is a subjective idea. Stamped concrete isn’t better than the real stuff, it’s different. For one, it is much, much less expensive. An entire driveway done in cobblestones or pavers might cost twenty or thirty thousand dollars more than the same driveway done with stamped concrete. Stamped concrete also tends to last much longer than the surfaces it mimics. Real cobblestones have spaces between them which mean that frost heaves, water penetration, roots, and other objects can distort and destroy your new patio or driveway very quickly. Weeds are also a huge problem with bricks and pavers, but are not with stamped concrete because it is one continuous surface. Best of all, stamped concrete can be reinforced with steel rebar, making it even stronger and more durable.
Does it Really Look as Good?
I would say it’s close, but the real thing still looks better upon closer inspection. Stamped concrete can imitate all sorts of surfaces, from cobblestones to wood and it can look pretty great by itself, but you’d never think that the floor was really wood or really cobblestone. It looks great on its own terms, but would never be mistaken for the real thing. Choosing stamped concrete isn’t done in the hopes of looking exactly like the real thing, it’s done to save money and create a beautiful driveway or patio on its own.
Where To Use Stamped Concrete
Though are primarily dedicated to driveways, stamped concrete can be used in a wide variety of settings from driveways to pool decks to walkways to patios and entryways.
Properly installed stamped concrete offers aesthetically appealing styles combined with unmatched durability and longevity. With rebar reinforcement, stamped concrete can stand up to the punishment of vehicles and heavy foot traffic, making it one of the most practical and affordable choices for both residential and commercial applications.
Though it has traditionally been used in commercial settings such as theme parks, zoos, parking lots, and shopping malls, stamped concrete is making its way into nearly all arenas. Indoor areas such as basements, kitchens, family rooms, and entryways are making use of stamped concrete in wood plank, fieldstone, tile, and slate patterns. Some homeowners have taken to using vertically-stamped panels to accent walls and fireplaces with deep-cut stone patterns. Decorative concrete finishes have been used as bar tops, counter tops, and bathroom vanities.
In short, stamped concrete is making an impact in nearly all aspects of home and commercial construction. Your imagination is truly only the limiting factor with this new building material.
Can I DIY?
Absolutely not. Stamping concrete is an art form and requires special tools and top rated concrete contractors in Pleasanton, CA, to pour, color, and stamp the concrete before it dries. The crew must make sure that the patterns line up, the colors go where they’re supposed to and that the whole thing winds up looking great. Trust me, you don’t want to try and do this yourself.