Everyone knows what concrete is. After all, if you live anywhere in the Twin Cities area, your feet are almost never walking on anything else. The term "stamped concrete," however, enters the industry-lingo territory. 

The average homeowner usually does not understand stamped concrete since it's usually only spoken in the construction and residential concrete contractor industries. And that's quite a shame because if you've never heard of it, you might never consider stamped concrete for your patio or driveway.

Our team knows stamped concrete inside and out at Creative Concrete, a local concrete company in the Twin Cities suburbs. We want to spread the word about our services, which enhance traditional concrete through custom design

Let us explain what any person should know about stamped concrete!

What Is Stamped Concrete & How Is It Installed?

Stamped concrete is decorative concrete: functional, tough as nails, yet completely customizable to fit almost any aesthetic. 

This unique concrete is made by pouring it into slabs as usual and allowing it to be partially set up. Then, before the concrete is completely dry, the contractor presses designs, textures, and patterns into the uppermost layer.

This process leaves behind a realistic-looking impression of whatever design was pressed into the uppermost concrete layer, essentially making the surface a replica of other building materials.

Be careful that you don't confuse stamped concrete with its counterpart, textured concrete; they're two very different things and yield very different results from an appearance standpoint. Check out our local concrete contractor blog to learn the details. 

In short, stamped concrete tends to be more regular-looking in appearance, while textured concrete leans toward a more abstract, yet still natural-looking, flair. Neither is better than the other, but each technique can achieve a certain look better.

Stamped concrete can be made to look like any other patio, pool deck, or driveway material on the market, such as:

  • Pavers

  • Tile

  • Wood

  • Brick

  • Cobblestone

Stamped Concrete Works for Any Project 

Why wouldn't the savvy homeowner simply use brick, wood, tile, pavers, or stone for their project instead of what is essentially a mimicry of those materials? Because stamped concrete holds cosmetic and practical advantages over those materials by imitating and improving on them!

The Cosmetic Benefits of Stamped Concrete

In the past, stamped concrete could appear very stilted and artificial. Nowadays, however, innovations in color and technique mean that stamped concrete has found its niche. Stamped concrete can look like anything from cobblestone to brick to a seashell inlay. It even comes in countless colors

Homeowners everywhere are now investing in concrete patios, pool concrete, and concrete driveways for the following cosmetic benefits: 

Realistic

As stated above, stamped concrete can be made with countless colors and patterns, easily mimicking more expensive and/or higher-maintenance patio, driveway, or pool deck materials. 

Get the luxury look without the price tag, and invest in stamped concrete!

Low Maintenance

While a good sealing job and a good scrub will help keep stamped concrete looking its best, it can be considered less needy than other materials, such as cobblestone, which require periodic weed removal.

Versatile

As mentioned above, stamped concrete's color and pattern options are virtually endless. Even if you aren't trying to imitate a more expensive material, a new stamped concrete patio can still be an aesthetically pleasing choice.

Stamped concrete can be custom-made to fit your style – no matter what that may be!

The Practical Benefits of Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete may be decorative concrete, but that doesn't mean it's not tough. It behaves nearly identically to your standard gray broomed concrete in various ways, and that sort of concrete is well-loved in the construction industry and beyond for many reasons. 

As the Concrete Contractors Association of Greater Chicago explains, concrete is "plastic and … strong and durable when hardened. These qualities explain why one material, concrete, can build skyscrapers, bridges, sidewalks, superhighways, houses, and dams." 

By "plastic," they're not referring to its composition in the literal sense. As we covered in What Is the Difference Between Cement & Concrete? Concrete is made out of cement, rock, sand, water, and occasionally aggregates. 

Instead, "plastic" refers to concrete's high malleability before it hardens, allowing builders to manipulate it into almost any shape or form they want. What that means for your project: Practical concerns tend to be minimal, and the sky's the limit!

Just like with standard concrete techniques such as saw-cutting and rebar, stamping can be used to lend this already tough-as-nails material extra strength, promoting its longevity and controlling cracking.

Stamped Concrete Is Highly Durable

Stamped concrete combines the look and texture of your desired material and the sturdiness and strength of durable, lasting concrete. 

Why not opt for wood, pavers, stone, slate, tile, brick, cobblestone, or other materials for your project? Because all of these materials are prone to issues that most homeowners and business owners don't want to have to deal with: short material life spans, the annoyance of foliage growing up through seams, and trip hazards as other materials shift and settle over time. 

These materials typically also require more extensive upkeep than concrete, which can be bothersome and costly. With minimal maintenance, stamped concrete can last 40 to 50 years or longer. It's durable, withstands Mother Nature's elements, and can handle the weight of heavy machinery when necessary. 

Learn how to pressure-wash concrete to keep it looking great! Compared to other landscaping materials, concrete essentially takes the cake regarding sturdiness and staying power.

Stamped Concrete Is More Frost-Resistant 

Because stamped concrete is made of fewer interlocking pieces than its cousins, there is less of a chance that soil changes, such as frost heave, will damage it. Pavers and bricks, on the other hand, Pavers and bricks have seams between each piece, which can negatively affect frost heave and other soil fluctuations. 

Stamped Concrete Deters Weeds 

Fewer individual components (and fewer seams) are involved in the finished product, which means your new pool deck or patio will be nearly impervious to intrusive weeds. Fewer seams also mean that blades of grass will have little opportunity to grow up into and through your design.

Stamped Concrete Is Versatile & Highly Customizable 

Theoretically, because of the impressionable state of your stamped concrete before it dries, you can make it mimic almost anything you want. Fractured earth? Riverstone? It's all up to you. 

If you want a portion of the surface to resemble one building material and another area to mimic something else, you can have your concrete contractors create the varied aesthetic you desire. Stamped concrete's competitors don't boast nearly as much design and aesthetic flexibility.

Stamped Concrete Is Affordable 

Have you looked into the pricing of cobblestone or brick? If you have, you understand they certainly aren't cheap. Purchasing these materials is a great financial strain on many homeowners, and the purchase price doesn't even factor in the money that must be invested in upkeep. 

Stamped concrete delivers almost the exact same aesthetic as these more expensive materials but at a much lower price. 

Stamped Concrete Can Increase Your Property Value 

While different aspects will determine the worth of your home, like the market and location, upgrades like stamped concrete boost the curb appeal, and if you are planning on selling in the future, choosing a unique style and finish can help your home stand out from the rest.

Great aesthetics, when combined with high durability and low maintenance, make it an attractive addition you cannot deny.

3 Gorgeous Finishes for Stamped Concrete

What kind of aesthetic can concrete contractors achieve with the concrete stamping process? 

Here are some of the most popular finishes home and business owners choose for stamped concrete: 

1. Wood Plank

Just like the name of this finish implies, it looks just like wood but doesn't have the potential for rot or breakage, so commonly associated with real-deal wood. Exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail from Creative Concrete mean the end result will look natural – not like an obvious imitation of the real thing.

Wood is a near-universal material, cosmetically speaking; it looks good with almost any architectural style, from modern to rustic. Just be sure you're conscientious with color as you and your installation team ideate and finalize the design. 

Not sure how to choose a hue that'll mimic the real thing? Not to worry! Check out our top tips for picking the right color for your stamped concrete project. 

And if you're a fan of keeping up with what's trending, be sure to check out the most desirable concrete colors for 2023.  

2. Vermont Slate

For a touch of palace-like flair, you can't go wrong with the Vermont Slate finish. This design bears a striking resemblance to elegant slate stone, a visually interesting and aesthetically random pattern. 

This finish looks great in a variety of colors, too, which gives you lots of room to get creative!

Whether you're creating a concrete patio or concrete pool deck, you can use this beautiful pattern. And if you fancy using it on another concrete surface, you can absolutely do that, too. 

3. Riverstone

For a natural-looking finish that can resemble red granite with the right color, look no further than Riverstone. 

This finish is ideal for those seeking an earthy, all-natural look to their space, which features lots of wooden furniture or plants. But, just like any concrete finish, it's incredibly versatile and can be customized to your liking. 

How to Maintain Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete offers more than just a great way to beautify your patio area or driveway. It also offers exceptional durability compared to less seamless surfaces. 

Oftentimes, people want to see the look of brick or other materials for their patios or driveways. However, these other materials tend to be less durable should they have to sustain the constant use of people or the weight of a car. 

Stamped concrete provides the strength of solid concrete with the look of other materials. However, your stamped concrete's durability depends on how well you care for its surface. 

Here are some tips that will help you keep your stamped concrete's surface clean and usable for years to come. 

Regular Cleanings Are a Must

Fortunately, it doesn't take much to clean stamped concrete. For outdoor surfaces, simply sweeping or hosing off the surface is usually enough to keep it clean. You can also safely power wash the surface to remove stubborn debris.

Much of the same applies when dealing with indoor stamped concrete surfaces. You can either use a wet mop or a dry mop to clean up interior stamped concrete. Be sure to stay away from acidic, homemade liquid cleaners because they can corrode the concrete's surface over time. 

When using quality liquid cleaners, make sure to rinse off the surface with clean water to keep unsightly soap spots from appearing as the concrete surface dries.

Stain Removal Is Essential

If you spill anything on your surface, make sure to clean it up as quickly as possible so stains don't have a chance to set. 

If a stain does form, there are a few ways you can tackle the issue:

  • A little warm water and plenty of scrubbing can help remove minor stains from stamped concrete.

  • Power washing can help lift more stubborn stains from the surface.

  • You can use an alkaline degreaser to help break down and remove heavy stains. Be sure to use a degreaser recommended by our team to avoid any accidental damage.

Periodic Sealing Provides Protection

Your stamped concrete surface already comes with a coat of sealant to safeguard against color fade and minimize wear. However, you'll need to reapply this protective coat every two to three years to keep that protection going. 

You're better off letting a professional tackle this task due to the amount of prep work needed for a high-quality finish.

Steer Clear of Bad Habits

  • Don't let materials that trap moisture pile up on the surface. These include fallen leaves, damp cloths, and tarps.

  • Don't use de-icing salts on concrete surfaces. Corrosive salts can cause the surface to peel or flake off.

  • Avoid snow removal with metal plows and shovels. Anything with a metal edge has the potential to damage your concrete surface.

  • Be mindful of where you park. Parking heavy vehicles near the edge of the concrete surface can make cracks more likely to appear.

Is Stamped Concrete Right for Me?

If you can't settle for anything less than the best in cosmetic versatility and practicality, then yes! Stamped concrete is an amazing fit for driveways, driveway borders, pool decks, and patios. It will provide your home with a gorgeous, low-maintenance, durable upgrade for years into the future.

Looking for a Residential Concrete Company in the Twin Cities? 

If you're in the market for some seriously aesthetic, durable, and lasting concrete, get in touch with our team at Creative Concrete in New Brighton, MN! We're a driven, hardworking concrete company and would be delighted to help you bring your design ideas to life! 

To learn more about our services or get a project estimate, give us a call today at 612-414-7932, or feel free to request a quote online, and we'll get in touch promptly with more information.