A Stamped Concrete Driveway? A Stamped Concrete Driveway?

Stamped concrete has been around for years and you may have some recollection of older versions that were basically a poured concrete surface with a repeating pattern. Well, over the years stamped concrete has changed and stamped concrete can now have the look of all kinds of different surfaces, such as cobblestones, pavers, bricks, seashells and even wood for example. In addition to the range of surfaces, stamped concrete is also available in a wide range of colors, so you can now have a red, green or blue concrete driveway if that's what you want. If stamped concrete is possibility for your driveway, here's some information to help you decide.

What is stamped concrete?

  • Stamped concrete is simply poured concrete imprinted to resemble other texture or a pattern such as flagstones or bricks. The concrete used to make the driveway has been screened to remove large stones to ensure an unblemished surface and the concrete mixture is a little thinner than regular concrete to allow for a smoother finish.
  • Color is either added during the mixing process (integral coloring) to ensure an even distribution of color through the concrete or added after the concrete is poured, by spreading dry coloring across the surface (broadcast coloring).

Why have a simulated surface, why not go for the real thing?

  • A stamped concrete driveway is a solid, continuous surface at least four inches thick so no weeds or grass can grow up in the cracks between the pieces. (The cracks in stamped concrete are impressions that only go partly through the concrete).
  • Driveways made from small pieces such as paving stones or interlocking bricks can heave during freezing and thawing cycles, creating an uneven surface that is difficult to keep clear of snow and possibly trip you up as you walk across the driveway.

What's involved to install stamped concrete?

  • First you need to ensure you have a solid, level and compacted gravel and sand base (same as you would with a regular concrete driveway).
  • Frame the driveway and pour the concrete pad (including the reinforcing steel rods) at least four inches thick, then level it.
  • Pour on "release agent" to allow texturizing mats (that create the pattern) to be placed on the surface then removed without lifting the surface concrete.
  • Lay the texturizing mats onto the surface in succession, starting near the top and working down to the base of the drive.
  • Finally leave the concrete to dry for at least 24 hours and wash off residual release agent.
  • An experienced stamped concrete installation crew should be able to install 1000 to 1500 square feet of stamped concrete in a day.

Is any special maintenance necessary?

  • A stamped concrete driveway is maintained the same way as a regular concrete drive - regular cleaning, wiping up spills or drips when they occur and sealing the surface every two to three years.

How much does all this cost?

  • Costs vary widely by region but for planning purposes installing a stamped concrete driveway should cost in the range of 25% to 30% more than a poured concrete driveway.

Stamped Concrete Driveway | Maintaining Concrete Driveway

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He has been quoted as an expert on home related topics in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal.

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