By Monte Sholz
Stamped concrete is essentially poured concrete that has been imprinted before it dries. The intent is to create the look of concrete slabs or pavers but at a lower cost. While this option may be tempting, there are certain reasons you may want to avoid it.
Unfortunately, stamped concrete faces the same issues that poured concrete does. If the base shifts, or the concrete expands or contracts, the block can crack. In contrast, the natural break between slabs or pavers leaves room for expansion and contraction, making them less susceptible to cracks; if they do break, they can be easily removed and replaced. Similarly, if the base of your patio or driveway sinks, the flagstone, slabs and pavers can be removed, allowing the base to be repacked and leveled, at which point the segments can be reinstalled. With stamped or poured concrete, this is not possible; the entire affected section would have to be replaced.
Regardless of what option you choose, it is important to pay attention to the material’s absorption rate. If you choose concrete, know that it is susceptible to staining and efflorescence (deposits left behind after a loss of water, which can leave the concrete discoloured.) Furthermore, concrete is slightly porous. The poorer the quality of the concrete, the more porous it becomes. Dirt and water can enter these pores and stain the concrete. Unfortunately, these stains are difficult to remove.