A beautiful home depends just as much on the outside as on the inside. That includes the exterior of the building itself but also everything that surrounds out. And while most people may think of landscaping, we can’t overlook the impression made by the solid surfaces we walk and park on. Driveways, walkways, and patios may seem like they’re just “there”, kind of like the foundation of a house. But they can actually become a wonderful part of our exterior design and elevate the great looks of the rest of the house.
Stamped concrete is a great choice when installing any of these surfaces. It offers all the durability of concrete but a huge range of designs and colors to choose from. It can go with any architecture and will add to your appreciation of your own property.
What Is Stamped Concrete
In short, stamped concrete is exactly what it sounds like. But rather than the simple look of regular concrete, stamped concrete takes on the appearance of other materials. These include brick, cobblestone, wood, natural stone or other options.
To install stamped concrete, regular concrete is mixed but coloring is adding to it. This can be done during the mixing process or by “casting” the coloring onto the concrete once it’s poured. The latter actually provides a more consistent look since it focuses just on the top layer of concrete.
As the concrete starts to dry, stamps are used to create an impression in it. All sorts of stamps have been developed over the decades. The stamp actually creates real depth in the concrete – it’s not just an image painted on the surface. Further coloring is added where necessary to highlight grout or other secondary colors of the creation.
The end result is a concrete surface that doesn’t look like concrete at all. Instead, it’s now taken on another, more attractive look and feel.
Stamped concrete keeps all the positive of regular concrete in that it is durable and easy to maintain. At the same time, it’s less expensive than many other options for your hard surfaces.
It’s also easy to maintain stamped concrete. It can be swept off or power washed. In case of any more stubborn marks, a mild detergent can be used to help clean them off.
It should be resealed every two to three years. The sealant helps protect the surface from absorbing water or other liquids.
We recommend that you don’t use a rake with metal tines or metal snow shovels on the surface since they can scratch it. If you use a snow plow, the blade shouldn’t scrape the surface itself; instead, use a plastic shovel to remove the last little bit.
Where Can You Use Stamped Concrete
There is a wide range of ways to use stamped concrete. It can even be used indoors for flooring in basements or other places that a concrete floor could be installed. But let’s look at a few suggestions for the outdoor areas of your residential property.
A driveway is such a practical element of a home. It gives us a place to park and keeps our cars – and our shoes – out of the mud.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, too. There’s no reason to settle for a plain, drab driveway. Instead, it can be a great complement to the architecture of the house and work alongside the landscaping to improve curb appeal.
Classic looks like brick or cobblestone can look great in driveways. Of course, they aren’t the only options – you can choose whatever design suits you!
Whether your garden is in front of your house or in your backyard, it’s a spot you love to enjoy and visit. Having a paved path through it helps make that more enjoyable.
A rustic-looking path of hand-carved stone looks great here. But getting that kind of material is so expensive. However, stamped concrete patterns can recreate the fantastic appearance of irregularly-shaped stone carefully arranged to form a perfect garden path.
Another great spot to install stamped concrete is around your inground swimming pool. You want a great, solid deck but there’s no reason that it can’t be beautiful as well.
Wood planks actually look great poolside. But it’s not a material you’re likely to choose because it can rot or cause painful splinters. However, stamped concrete patterns include some marvelous wood designs, without wood’s drawbacks.
Usually, a special sealant is used to make the surface less slippery considering that it’ll usually be wet. It also stays cool under your bare feet!
The patio is another place where stamped concrete works great. Unlike the driveway or a pathway, a patio is a place where you’ll likely spend more time as you relax alone or with family and friends. Because of that, you probably want to make it one of the nicer spots. And stamped concrete will come through here, too!
Larger square “tiles” can be a great style to go with here. While it’s a simple design, it expresses its own elegance. You’ll be able to choose colors and tile sizes that will be most relaxing in your own yard.
When you want to improve the look of your front and backyards, don’t overlook simple things like the walkways, patio, driveway, and other surfaces. Using stamped concrete for any of these surfaces helps bring a whole new dimension to your exterior design. No matter your architecture or the look you want, it can be adapted to your needs and help improve how your home looks!