Stamped Concrete: Pros and Cons

Stamped concrete could be exactly what you need for your driveway or patio. Learn what stamped concrete is, what it's best for, and potential style options.
Jimmy Soldatos
Jimmy Soldatos
Last Update:
January 10, 2023

Do you want the look of natural stone pavers, but also want something that's more affordable? Then stamped concrete could be exactly what you need for your driveway or patio. In this post, we'll go over what stamped concrete is, what it's best for, and potential driveway style options.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete replicates the look of natural stone by stamping the design on poured concrete. There are a variety of different designs and colors that can be used. This is a more affordable option for those who want a similar look to natural stone pavers.

Stamped Concrete Driveway Cost

The cost of a stamped concrete driveway depends on the type of project you are doing. A basic stamped concrete driveway will cost you between $8 and $12 dollars per square foot. However, if you are going for a more complicated type of job it can cost as much as $20 per square foot. More complex jobs have multiple patterns that are different and even hand painted stain accents. The average cost of a stamped concrete driveway is around $4,500.

Pros of Stamped Concrete Driveways

There are many advantages to choosing a stamped concrete driveway instead of the more traditional poured concrete or asphalt driveway or the more expensive stone paver or brick driveways. Stamped concrete driveways are made to mimic the look of stone paver and brick driveways. But stamped concrete is a more affordable option than the others. Stamped concrete gives you the aesthetic appeal of a nontraditional driveway without paying full price for it. 

Another advantage of stamped concrete driveways is that it is low-maintenance. All you need to do to keep your stamped concrete driveway looking its best is a little routine cleaning! Sweep and wash the surface every once in a while to keep dirt and debris from building up using a broom, a little dish soap and a garden hose. First, rinse the surface with your garden hose on high pressure then scrub using your broom and a little dish soap. Finally, rinse afterwards to remove the soap.

Stamped concrete comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Most of the time, homeowners choose stamped concrete colors to blend with other elements of their property. But generally, natural earth tones are the most popular colors for stamped concrete. You could choose a gray tone to mimic the color of stones, or red tones like terra cotta or mahogany. There are also beige, tan or brown tones to choose from. Stamped concrete is usually colored with multiple colors to give it a natural look.

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Cons of Stamped Concrete Driveways

Although there are a lot of advantages to choosing a stamped concrete driveway, there are also some disadvantages to be aware of before making your decision. Since stamped concrete is a slab of concrete, it will crack just like concrete does. Even though stamped concrete will not last forever, it will take a while for it to begin to crack. 

If you do get a crack in your stamped concrete driveway, it can be more difficult to repair than other types of driveways. First you have to decide when a crack is worth repairing versus just leaving as is. There are cracks that impact the durability of the driveway and there are cracks that cause aesthetic damage. There are many ways to fix cracks in stamped concrete, but repairing the cracks so that the color and texture you have chosen blends with the repair is difficult. 

Ideal Use

Stamped concrete is versatile and can be used for driveways, patios, and walkways. Stamped concrete can be slippery when wet and has less traction than brushed concrete, because of the sealer that must be applied to stamped concrete. So, it may not be the ideal choice for around a swimming pool. However, it is possible to add a nonslip additive to the sealer and give more traction to the surface.

Maintenance and Lifespan

It's typically recommended to seal stamped concrete at least twice a year. This will help prevent color fading and protect the concrete from the elements. Other than that, it's not a high maintenance option. Sweeping the surface and hosing it off when necessary will keep it clean. Properly installed stamped concrete will last as long as regular concrete, which is typically 25 years or more.

Stamped Concrete Designs and Patterns

The style options for stamped concrete can seem nearly endless. There's a wide variety of color and style combinations you can choose. Our team can work with you to pick the right color and design to match your home. Here are some possible stamped concrete options:

Natural Flagstone Stamp

Natural flagstone stamp on colored concrete. Offers the look of natural stone, but without the hefty price tag. The stamp can be applied to any number of colors to create the desired look. Also looks great on medium to large driveways.

European Fan Pattern

Perhaps you like the look of pavers in a European Fan pattern, but prefer a more budget-friendly option? If so, this elegant stamp on colored concrete is a perfect solution.

Square Tile Slate Stamp

When a modern look is desired with a bit of texture added, this square tile slate stamp is a good solution. It's a great combination of sleek minimalism and natural stone texture and works with a variety of cool and warm color tones.

Regardless of what driveway style you choose, it's critical to have proper concrete curing to ensure your driveway's strength and durability.

We hope this helped you get a better idea of what stamped concrete is and how it can be used for your hardscape needs.

Stamped Concrete Color Options

As discussed earlier, stamped concrete comes in a variety of color options. Many of those colors are earth tones, meant to mimic the materials the stamped concrete is imitating. These include browns and tans, or grays and charcoals. They also include redder tones like terra cotta.

Stamped Concrete vs. Pavers

Many homeowners who want an alternative to simple poured concrete or asphalt for their driveway find the options of stamped concrete versus pavers. Stamped concrete is easier to install because it is poured concrete with a pattern applied rather than countless paving units. Placement of the pavers takes longer because each paver needs to be placed individually. The cost of pavers is usually very close to the cost of stamped concrete, but both are more expensive than plain poured concrete. One advantage to pavers is that they can be walked on or driven on immediately after installation versus concrete which needs to cure.

Stamped Concrete vs. Asphalt

When it comes to your driveway, concrete and asphalt both crack over time, but concrete does not deteriorate as fast as asphalt does. Asphalt will typically be cheaper than concrete, but along with that it may require more repairs over the years. An advantage of asphalt over concrete is that you can start using your asphalt driveway soon after it is installed. Concrete needs to cure for longer, sometimes for a week. Asphalt is easier to patch if it gets damaged than concrete is. Both options are improved by regularly sealing which improves their appearance and durability. Concrete will last longer than asphalt, up to 40 years, versus asphalt which lasts up to 20 years.

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