Looking for great, easy-to-maintain ways to bring character to your house outside and in? Stamped concrete is a great option! With it, you can transform ordinary, bland concrete surfaces into something colorful and beautiful. Not only that, but it’s comparatively affordable and easy to maintain as well.
Let’s look at some possible uses for this great surface as well as some maintenance tips to help keep your installation in great shape.
What Is Stamped Concrete?
While it may sound exotic, this material is regular concrete that has merely color and patterns added to its surface. Unless you’re paying attention to it, you won’t even realize what it is. Some popular designs that it can be designed in include pavers, bricks, flagstone, and even wood slats.
Looking for outdoor surfaces? Driveways, walkways, steps, patios, and pool decks are all great places for stamped concrete. With the variety of colors and textures available, you’ll be able to achieve the look you want.
Heated driveways and walkways can be installed along with your new system. If you’re worried about those nights where it dips below freezing and leaves an icy mess, or even a little snow, this can help keep your surfaces safe.
Benefits of Stamped Concrete
Let’s have a look at just a few of the advantages of installing this surface material.
Your property will look better. Having a surface like this looks so much more attractive. Think of some of the alternative: a plain black asphalt drive. A grey, plain-concrete path and step to your front door. But you don’t have to be stuck with all that drabness.
That improved appeal translate into increased curb appeal. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near or even distant future, that means your home’s value will be higher. You get to join the improvement now, but it also becomes a way to attract buyers.
Another reason that concrete is popular is its longevity. With this option, you get to keep that durability while also adding a great look.
Safety has to be taken into account, too. If you choose pavers or natural stone, you have to worry about uneven surfaces as the material settles. That can lead to trips and falls, which none of us wants to deal.
Also, the cost is always significant. Stamped concrete usually is competitively priced with many surface materials and flat out beats others. Coupled with its lifespan, it makes for a great deal.
How Hard Is The Maintenance?
With any new addition to your home, you, of course, have to worry not just about initial costs, but also about what you’ll be spending on it in the future – both regarding money and the amount of time you need to put into it. Fortunately, stamped concrete is very low maintenance!
Quick and Easy Pointers on What Not to Do
Common-sense steps go a long way, as always. If you spill something, get it cleaned up right away, so it doesn’t leave the sealant discolored.
Also, try not to drive off edges that weren’t designed for it. Be careful with heavy machinery, particularly around the edges. Concrete can crack under enough weight so it’s just important to be mindful of the weight placed on the edge.
Finally, avoid using deicers like regular road salt. This can corrode the surface. Try to be mindful if your car picked up salt while out driving after plowing was done. If possible, try to hose down any areas where salt could have fallen.
Don’t drag furniture across it without using protective pads. Felt pads on the legs of furniture are also a good idea when dealing with indoor installations.
Ok, this is simple – almost too simple.
For your indoor stamped concrete, you can wet- or dry-mop it. If necessary, you can use diluted liquid detergent (such as dish detergent). When using a detergent, be sure to rinse thoroughly so that soap scum doesn’t dull the appearance.
Outdoors, you can sweep or use a hose to clean it off. You might want to use a power washer occasionally. Just as for indoors, you can use a mild liquid detergent. It’s a good idea not to let leaves pile up, or have tarps in a heap; the moisture trapped underneath can lead to mold and mildew, which could lead to stains.
In case stains do arise, use a cleaner recommended by your contractor. Usually, a mildly alkaline soap works well to cut grease. Remember that even dirt contains some trace amounts of grease so this can work on tough dirt stains, too.
And that’s it! Necessary cleaning and the resealing every couple years will keep the beauty in your surface!
The Importance of Resealing
When your stamped concrete was installed, a sealer was applied. To preserve your surface in the best condition, it should be resealed every two to three years. This will help protect the concrete itself as well as maintain the vibrancy of the colors.
It’s time to reseal if there’s no sheen left on the surface when viewed from an angle. The presence of sealant will reflect the light. Or you can try the water test – if a couple of drops of water sprinkled on the surface immediately darken the concrete, then there’s probably no sealant left. It’s best not to reach this point, though, because it means the concrete could already be suffering damage.
It is possible to reseal it yourself, although we recommend having a pro do it so you can be sure it’s sealed correctly. A bad seal job can lead to quicker degradation of the concrete itself. Our purpose here is mainly to talk about the regular care you should undertake.
We won’t go into the details of the resealing tasks, but it’s important to be sure the surface is thoroughly cleaned and dried first. You don’t need to – or even want to – remove the old sealant, but you do want to get rid of any dirt, dust or other materials that have accumulated. And be sure to follow the instructions on the sealant when you apply it, especially regarding how thickly it should be used. While you might think thicker is better, an overly-thick coat can trap moisture, damaging the sealant and concrete underneath. It can also reduce the beauty of the concrete itself.
You can add a fantastic look to your home, inside or out, with stamped concrete. It’s long-lasting and easy to take care. And the incredible range of designs and colors will suit almost anything you can want! If you’re going to increase your curb appeal or make your home more attractive for yourself and your family, it’s the way to go.
About the Author
Bill Michaels works for Patterned Concrete as a media outreach specialist. The company has been an expert and pioneer in stamped concrete since 1972. It has grown from its Toronto-area roots to have franchises across North America.