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Homeowners looking to add visual interest and design to the front of their home often turn to fancy stone and pavers, which can be expensive and require a lot of maintenance to keep them in good condition. There are so many alternatives out there that can help homeowners cut cost, but the problem is that no one wants to feel like they are compromising on design just to fit it within their budget. Stamped concrete is a way to get the design you want, at the price you want. Stamped concrete can be used in a variety of different ways; for patios, driveways, parking lots, and even commercial use. It stands out because of its versatility, durability, and it’s value.
Concrete, as a material, is already known for being cheap, durable, and long lasting, but by stamping patterns and design into concrete you are able to transform it altogether. It outlasts asphalt, precast pavers, and natural stone, bar none. There are virtually no downsides to adding stamped concrete as opposed to a more costly design element. Over time, pavers can become loose and create hazardous environment around the exterior of your home. But unlike pavers stamped concrete is at no risk of coming loose and doesn’t require replacing.
You can really go crazy with design when choosing stamped concrete. Adding value and curb appeal to your home is achievable through a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from. You can mix and match design ideas by picking your own stamp, which is what creates the pattern in the concrete, and your release powders, which help with easily applying and pulling up the stamps but also give your concrete a color. Another benefit to selecting stamped concrete is the speed in which it can be installed. Compared to some cheaper and less durable materials, like asphalt, stamped concrete takes a little more time, because of the curing and staining that goes into preparing and detailing the design. However, the process only takes up to five days to complete which is half the time of installing natural stone or pavers which can take 10-12 days. Naturally, concrete takes anywhere between 48-72 hours to dry, depending on how thick it is, but stamped concrete takes a couple of days longer because of all the design fine tuning. The installers have to stamp it, and then go over it several times with chisels, miniature saws, and grinders, to make sure the design is perfect. Then it has to set, be washed, and have a sealer applied to the surface.
Stamped concrete can stand up to all kinds of harsh weather conditions, and it can even stand the test of time. It has decades worth of longevity, and requires little maintenance to keep it looking new. It is important to make sure that there is a sealer on your stamped concrete, this will protect it from harmful chemicals and settling dirt, which will keep it looking like new. Also avoid using sidewalk salt, particularly during the first winter after installation, it will damage the sealer and allow dirt to penetrate the concrete. Make sure that your contractor is using the correct mix of concrete, high quality concrete and a solid mix means that your patio or driveway can last longer than most ordinary sidewalks. Over time, check to make sure that your sealer is still on the surface, and have it reapplied as necessary.
As much as DIY is a big trend in home remodeling now, stamped concrete is not a project that would be good to do yourself at home. There are several things that can go wrong, and concrete is not an easy material to work with. Also, the cost that you will spend buying the installation materials yourself, will exceed what you would spend on a natural stone installation. When working with concrete you have to be precise and quick, which is why it is always recommended that you call a professional to complete the installation.