Stamped Concrete FAQs

A person is standing on a concrete mat and in the process of placing another one. The concrete being stamped is blue.

Stamped concrete patios, sidewalks, driveways, and other hardscape features can add value, utility, and charm to your home. However, you need skills, knowledge, and the right concrete tool if you want great results.

In this guide, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about stamped concrete.

1. Does Stamped Concrete Last Long?

Yes. It can last up to 25 years. However, its service life depends on professional-grade installation, proper routine maintenance, and reasonable usage. To ensure the longest lifespan of your stamped concrete, it's always best to work with an expert.

2. Is Stamped Concrete Better Than Pavers?

“Better” is relevant to individual preferences. However, stamped concrete does offer some undeniable advantages that pavers don't, including more design flexibility, unmatched pattern consistency, superior weight-supporting strength, more resistance to inclement weather conditions, and, in most cases, easier, faster application.

3. Are There Any Downsides to Stamped Concrete?

Yes. Although decorative concrete is definitely a value-added amenity, it isn't eternal. Over time, especially if the concrete is frequently used, isn't maintained, or isn't installed properly, it can crack or degrade. Additionally, if you're a DIYer, know that any concrete work can be unforgiving. If you're not fluent in your skills, you can end up with a subpar result, which can be costly to have repaired.

4. Can You Put Decorative Concrete Over Existing Concrete?

Yes, definitely. This is called an overlay. Overlays can be applied to existing or new concrete pads, either inside a structure or outside in the elements, and then stamped with whatever decorative pattern you choose.

5. What Tools Do I Need to Stamp Concrete?

You will need a variety of concrete tools. For stamping-only projects, you will need mats/stamps. Usually, you will need a combination of rigid/semi-rigid (used for making deeper impressions), texturing skins (adding detail around a perimeter), and flex mats (used to create patterns in challenging areas, like corners and stairs). You will also need tampers to press the stamps/mats, concrete release, and soft- or firm-bristled push brooms.

If you’re coloring the concrete, you will need a colorant. There are a wide array of colorants, some that can be applied directly to the surface of the concrete, like hardeners, and others that are applied to the mix before the concrete is poured, like integral dyes.

You may also need finishing tools, like chisels, rollers, or a grinder with a diamond blade.

Lastly, you will need a sprayer or roller for sealer and safety equipment, like gloves, boots, pants, and work glasses.

You can read this article for more guidance.

6. How Do You Clean Stamped Concrete?

The best way to keep stamped concrete in top shape is to use a garden hose, mild detergent, and a soft-bristled push broom to clean it, as needed, to keep it looking fresh and new. If yours needs more vigorous cleaning, use a power washer on a low setting. Work gently, spraying at an angle, to avoid gouging the concrete surface or fading the color.

7. What Sealers Should You Use On Stamped Concrete?

The most important property of a stamped concrete sealer is breathability. Concrete is a porous substance that needs to be able to take in and release moisture to avoid damage from repetitive freezing and thawing.

We recommend using a high-quality, water-based acrylic concrete sealer for DIY projects. They're economical, easy to apply, non-yellowing, and UV-resistant. And, if your particular application demands it, non-slipping, breathable concrete sealers are available to make your walkways and patio floors safer.

You should also find a sealer best suited for the type of concrete you have and its location (interior versus exterior). Please read this blog for more guidance on selecting sealers and this one to learn more about some of our favorite sealers.

8. How Do You Maintain Stamped Concrete?

Luckily, stamped concrete is relatively low-maintenance.

First, it's important to keep your surfaces free of debris and clean them with a mild detergent, garden hose, and soft-bristled push broom as needed.

Additionally, when removing ice and snow, avoid metal shovels as the blades can damage sealing—use hard plastic instead. Additionally, never use chloride-based deicers or salts because they can chemically degrade the surface and decrease service life. In the winter, look for deicers made with calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, or potassium chloride.

Lastly, you'll want to reseal the surfaces every two to three years to prevent color fading and maximize longevity.

9. How Long Does It Take Before I Can Walk/Drive On My New Stamped Concrete?

Although concrete surfaces can look and feel dry within several hours of application, they take considerably longer to cure fully. Most fresh concrete will be ready to walk on within about 48 hours.

However, we recommend waiting at least seven full days before driving any vehicles on it. Even after the concrete has hardened enough to drive a vehicle on, it will continue its curing process for several weeks, even months, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Always look at the manufacturer's instructions on your particular mix.

10. Will the Color Fade?

It can. Rain, snow, intense sunshine, high winds, and other natural elements can cause the color of your stamped concrete surfaces to fade over time. That's why it's important to ensure proper upkeep and to use a sealer suitable for your application.

11. What Type of Patterns Are There?

Decorative concrete patterns can mimic the appearance of natural stone, brick, wood, slate, and other fabricated textures. Some of the most popular designs are Flagstone and Fieldstone, but Herringbone Brick and running bond brick patterns are also quite popular. View this article to learn more about other popular patterns or visit our website to view all available patterns.

12. When Do You Wash Release Off Stamped Concrete?

You should always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product that you're working with. In general, it's best to clean off powdered or liquid release agents from decorative concrete surfaces after they have dried for at least one full day, but no more than three full days.

If you wait too long to begin and have difficulties removing the release agent, you can use about half of a cup of trisodium phosphate per one gallon of warm water to make a cleaning solution. Note that this solution will be acidic and should only be used if necessary.

13. How Many Stamps Do I Need?

Decorative concrete stamps are always used in combination. It's generally advised to have enough concrete stamps on hand to cover the width of your slab completely, plus two extras. This will ensure you have enough to handle any partial stamp you'll need to achieve a fluent, professional-grade result across the slab.

14. When Do I Stamp New Concrete?

After pouring the concrete pad, you'll need to let it sit until it reaches a plastic-like state. In typical atmospheric conditions, this normally takes about three to four hours after pouring. However, it varies with climate—if you've never stamped concrete before, we recommend working with a professional.

Learn More From Our Pros

Do you have more questions that weren’t answered here? Contact Stamped Concrete Supplies today! Our team is happy to offer professional advice and guidance on selecting the best products for your project.