Stamped concrete walkway

elaine_mi(z5 Michigan)March 16, 2007

I'm considering stamped concrete for a walkway along the side of the garage around a corner in the backyard to a deck.

It's a pretty pricey way to go, double the cost of ordinary cement. Before I do this, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with stamped concrete. Like it? Love it? Worth it in your opinion?

Thanks in advance -


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mary_pnw_7b(Oly WA z7b)

We poured a stamped concrete courtyard about 4 years ago. This is the main entrance area to our house. I really like the look of it but we have to pressure wash it often. We used a red concrete dye with charcoal grey accents; and I wish I would have used brown because it would have looked cleaner. We have 3 large dogs, so we have paw prints on it all the time. However the reason that we poured concrete in this area is so they would track in less.
I would do it again, but in a different color. You will also want to put on a few coats of concrete sealer every few years to preserve it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 9:27PM
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elaine_mi(z5 Michigan)

The color I'm thinking of is a taupe with nutmeg accents. It will not be particularly dark. I wouldn't mind hosing it off, but I don't own (or want) a pressure washer. Does it look dirty because debris gets into the crevices?

Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 6:24AM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

Have a look at some samples before you order. It looks great in pictures, but not so great in real life - in my opinion.

My LA said the problem with it is not if it will get chipped, but when - and then you have a difficult repair job.

The local company that does it here, sells an annual service to fix chips and reseal it. That tells you something.

My brother-in-law had it sone, and it looks OK. Problem is the contactor get the wrong color - and it did not turn out close to what they wanted.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 8:27PM
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xantippe(8 Portland OR)

My parents put in quite a bit of stamped concrete at their house in Ohio, and my friend in Washington State has a bunch, too, and both sets of people say that while they love the appearance, the concrete in incredibly slippery when wet--to the point of being dangerous. My Washington friend is terrified that a visitor will slip on it. Also, it is very hard to get ice off it... you can scrape and scrape, to no avail, at least in my parents' experience.

But it sure is pretty!

PS: no one I know has ever had any chipping.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 7:07PM
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No, not slippery with the right no slip additive in the sealer and ice can be easily melted with salt. Salt will not harm a properly sealed stamped concrete surface. Also, durability is not a concern with the right contractor, right process. We're in Michigan, call us if if you're intereseted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elite Crete of Michigan

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:42AM
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We had a stamped concrete patio poured last summer.
We hate it. The pictures the contractor showed us were beautiful, the reality is not.

All winter, rain washes dirt into the concave areas. In the spring I have to scrub to get the dirt out. This is not a low maintenance patio. Yes, we sealed it. Also the colors did not even come close to what they were supposed to.

I would love to jackhammer the whole dang thing and replace it with a flagstone patio.
My .02

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 10:57AM
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I had stamped patios and walkways poured and love them. I have seen 2 techniques to stamping: using a mold that penetrates the wet concrete (e.g, if you laid the mold and poured the concrete over it) versus true stamping where a very shallow, patterned rubber mat is pressed on top of the concrete after it is poured. I went with the latter as I was concerned that grooves penetrating too deep into the concrete would result in weeds popping up in the grooves.

Mine have behaved like any other concrete--the only difference is the color, texture and patterns. Some contractors create the desired color by staining the surface after it is poured. In my case, the dye was mixed in with the concrete before it was poured so the color that I chose will forever be imbedded. Nevertheless, even with this method, the color can be changed by applying a dye to the surface. In other words, if you don't like it--you can change it.

My contractor also put used a non-skid sealer as I (1) did not want slippery walkways; and (2) did not want a glossy look. Both of these objectives were met.

As for price--negotiate. I got several quotes and all were willing to reduce the original price quoted with some negotiation. Also, if you have it done outside of the peak of the season (e.g., very early spring or late fall, weather permitting), you may be able to get a better price.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 12:05PM
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swanoir(Zone 5)

We had the front walkway and the back patio down in stamped concrete and are happy with it. It is true that in places where we have had large container plants, there are now white rings that have been impossible to remove, but we put the containers back every year. We had a wooden deck at our old house and we are very pleased with the minimal maintenance our patio requires compared to a wooden deck.

Our walkway is very slippery when wet. Our contractor told us to use kitty litter and not salt, so it was interesting to hear another opinion on that. He also said we could use a propane torch to remove the ice - little nervous about that and haven't tried it. We have had no chips from the concrete and no diminishing of color. It really gives the front of the house a "wow" factor, since we coordinated the color of the stamped concrete with the rockery on the bottom part of the house.

It is very important to get an excellent contractor to do this work. There are several people in town who do this, but only one that was identified to us as the "go to" guy. Made a big difference.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:05AM
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Annette Holbrook

We put in a stamped walkway about 7-8 years ago. It has held up very well and still looks great. I think it has alot to do with the installer. Ours wasn't cheap but I think it has been worth it. A friend of mine had one done a couple of years ago and hers is nowhere near as nice as ours, of course she got a "great deal" on hers.
Here's a pic of mine from last summer, so this is showing it at at least 6 years after install.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:57AM
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We had one poured a few years ago (the picture is right after it was done). We love it. It does need to be re-sealed now but we haven't bothered yet. We do have to hose it off every now and then but it is much less maintenance than a wood deck would be. We don't get snow/ice but we do get lots of rain and it hasn't been slippery. We didn't pay a lot for it either--we got a new guy in the business who was just really picky about his work. We took the brick patio that was there and used the bricks to make two walkways in the front yard. They are a pain because we are constantly having to spray the weeds that pop up between the bricks. The concrete patio is much less maintenance.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 12:27PM
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late last year i had ashlar slate pattern stamped concrete laid with milestone color done. now that spring is here, it is chipping and flaking already especially around 2 control joints. i have 2 theories : (1)it was sealed then control joints cut exposing concrete along joints (2) it was the last concrete section done in the middle of november in northern illinois. it was too cold for the concrete. ( my contractor's sub said it was ok to pour that late and no additional warming techniques needed). what should i do?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:57PM
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We have stamped concrete for our driveway, sidewalk, and patio/courtyard. The color is sandstone. It is not slippery and we've actually had people stop and ask can they come take a closer look. Received lots of compliments. To me, if done right, it really adds warmth to a home's exterior and accents your landscape.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:24AM
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We had a walkway put in in Sept. 2007. After a very mild winter the walkway looks horrible. It is flaking all over and I put a very small amount of table salt on one icy spot and the concrete is now crumbling away. It is also extremely slippery when it rains. Unfortunately we haven't heard back from the guy who put it in. I am afraid we may be out the $ that it cost to get it and now have to find someone to repair it. Does anyone know what that process will entail?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 4:23PM
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brenda641(z7-8 EASTERN NC)

I work at a concrete plant (in the office) and we only deliver the product and the key here is to get a concrete finisher that knows what he is doing. A good finisher will let you go look at some of his work from finished jobs and supply references. Stamped concrete is beautiful if done right and I have seen some that you would never guess it was concrete. Pittenz sounds like you concrete is too weak. This could have happened in many different ways. One example would be: when the truck was loaded it could have been to wet or even when the truck reached the job site the finisher could have added to much water (too much water could weaken the mix). A standard concrete has a 3000 psi.
Which means that each square inch will hold 3000 lbs. I would recommend you contact the finisher or the supplier who furnished the concrete to come look at it. Once the concrete has had enough time to cure salt should not hurt it. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:40PM
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nwkrys(z8 OR)

To help you make a decision ask yourself what is the alternative? We put in 2000 square feet of stamped concrete at our beach house last summer, a large patio in back and a small patio in front. It cost an arm and a leg but I love it!!
I didn't want wood, it's very wet here in Oregon and nothing is more slippery than wet, slimey wood. We decided against pavers because pavers need to be resanded here almost every year. I have a paver walkway at our house in the valley and I'm always adding sand and pulling weeks from between the pavers. Remember pavers, even the tumbled. colored ones, look like cement. Stamped concrete does not. Plain old cement is just grey and bland. We did consider aggragate but the DH agreed the stamped was worth the extra $$.
I love the color and texture of the stamped concrete. The concrete in front of the house literally stops traffic. I'm constantly having people stop by and wanting to know what kind of "pavers" they are. I simply sweep or hose the concrete off. The installer said to reseal every couple of years. I've had no chipping or cracking but our winters are very mild here. You just can't beat the "look". Be careful with the color. I looked at several completed jobs and some colors looked fake. Don't choose from the color chart. See the product in person. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 3:30AM
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There are some non-slip treatment solutions you can purchase from SlipDoctors. Call them directly to find the product. I dont believe they sell it online.

Here is a link that might be useful: SlipDoctors - Ways to make Floors Safer

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:55PM
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The first stamped concrete that I saw up close was in a cemetary. The design included a wooden cross. I was impressed that the templates have become so much more creative. The next one I saw was in a playground. Very colorful. It was a path that ended with a animated sunflower. I have had many conversations about stamped concrete with a friend that works in the concrete bussiness. He explained the process and is amazed at all that can be done with this type of hardscape. I asked exactly about the chipping,cracking,fading etc... He had not seen or heard that this had happened he thought it would take alot to chip or crack. But you never know. Not much of an answer I would agree. All in all he likes the rubber stamps the best. He also agreed about negotiating a project. He believes that the reason it is so expensive is because it is so popular. Also the process of adding the dye as well is a factor. We both had an eye rolling moment on that part. His advise is to use a contractor that has done this and is picky. Ask to see the work they have done. Ask the age of the project that was done. It will give you a good idea as to the durability of an aged and well done job. You don't have to have a gaze, however you will need to seal the area. As far as the cleaning goes. Spray down with a garden hose. I'm curious to the post about the rings from the pots on the patio. White I belive I read. Is it calcium or lime deposite? If so the contractor for this should beable to help. Stamped concrete is relativly new here. Meaning the concept is slowly picking up. I myself am looking to do my front entry patio. So this has been great to read all the posts. Keep it comming as I would love to hear the patterns used and the different ways to use stamped concrete. Also color combos would be welcome. Good luck to you all.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:15PM
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I have done tons(no pun intended) of stamped concrete. Although I am the same person doing the same job, areas that you use the concrete are different. Also, most people fail to understand, is that your mix is very different as well. Your concrete mix could come from the same plant as mine has for years and although their techniques are the same for production, it is not consistent (proven by the tests I perform on them). This is a very small minute deviation, but it can matter. Curing rate, temp, weather conditions all play a role. I also have used the stamping around my pools which have alot less chemicals than the normal pool. I have since hung up my stamps. Too many individuals complaining about slippery surfaces, color changes, cracks, deterioration, etc... If I had one customer complain, it was one to many. I look at a job as a way to make changes or correct changes that occur naturally with ease. I have used pavers and different stone set on good bases with polymeric sand almost exclusively. They are easy to maintain and correct easily if you were to have problems, heaving, shifting etc. I have not had any issues in 15 years, nock on wood with those products. Good Luck with your decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lafayette Landscape & Construction, Inc.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Considering the fact elaine has had 3 years, a month, and two days (give or take) to ponder the stamped concrete conundrum...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 2:05PM
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littledog(z7 OK)

" Remember pavers, even the tumbled. colored ones, look like cement."

Well, yes, because that's all they are. Why not use real brick? It's not that difficult to find used brick for free if you're willing to load it yourself. This one has a "patchwork quilt" effect because it's made up of bricks from places as diverse as Dodge City Kansas, to Huntsville, Texas, and many, many points in between. Even before it was finished, we had people glance down and pause to "read the sidewalk" on their way to the front door. A little elbow grease and patience, and you can have a walkway with considerably more personality than pavers or stamped concrete.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:18PM
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brothersun_tx(z8a TX)

This was a project done on my exsisting concrete with a stencil made from a plastic lattis and less than $30 in paint. Not a bad look on the cheap.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patio

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 6:36PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Brothersun_TX, that is very cool! I may have to do that on my back porch. My porch is just stained concrete (brown) but that would better make it match my paver patio just off the porch. Where did you get the plastic lattice stencil?

Littledog, I really like the brick sidewalk, the pattern is great. Good job on that.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 12:26PM
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I have an easy solution! We developed a product for this exact problem. Treated thousands of square feet at many huge hotel. Call us for our concrete solution. SlipDoctors
888-436-5404 ext 100

Here is a link that might be useful: Slip Doctors

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Stamped concrete will be cheaper. But, you need a skilled installer to have this done properly. There are many issues with sealers, cracks and colors being off. Things you would not need to worry as much with pavers. I went through hell with my install ( I have not lost total faith in the product, just my installer) ... for more info check out my blog documenting 'anything can go wrong, will go wrong' on one project! See my link....

Here is a link that might be useful: ConcreteNightmare

    Bookmark   October 13, 2014 at 11:37AM
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