I have a backyard and have a planned 950 sq. ft. patio to be poured. In the past, I've had normal broom swept concrete for a patio and this time I'm thinking of going to a stamped concrete with integral color.

I'm planning on being in the house ~8 years. Cost of the patio for normal conrete is $9,000 and cost of the stamped concrete is $14,000 (Chicago, IL - 2021). That seems to be about market in the area in the patio-Covid-boom cycle right now.

I prefer the look of the stamped concrete, but in my house price range (~$500k), I don't think I will recover the extra cost vs. broom swept concrete when we go to sell the house in the future. But in 8 years, I've never seen a broom swept concrete patio not look a bit worn so I'm on the fence to pay the extra.

I've always "felt" like looking at older stamped concrete that it does not get as stained and worn as broom swept concrete.

Is that actually factual or is that the stamped concrete just gets resealed much more often and you could maintain the broom swept patio as well and keep it looking as fresh? (My old patio had burger grease stains dog pee and whatever other abuse you get).

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    Concrete is concrete; should last about the same. It's all about how well you maintain it and whether you salt it in the winter. ics50.com/how-long-does-stamped-concrete-last. The difference in price is substantial enough that no one here could make that decision for you. It sounds like you are partial to trying out stamped this time around so I would feel terrible to persuade you in the other direction just for you to hate it for the next decade. Ask your concrete contractor, presumably they would have some experience given that this is their specialty... – MonkeyZeus Apr 21 at 18:06
  • The one thing I can think of is depending on the stamp pattern it might hold puddles of water long after the rain has stopped. – MonkeyZeus Apr 21 at 18:07

Stamped concrete won't be any less durable than broom finish or smooth finish. Many people that do stamped, stain it artistically with various colors to make it look more like natural stone. But if you do that, it does needs to be sealed. It looks great, but you do have to re-seal it every few years.

I supervised a large driveway replacement project for my mother that included adding a patio area. We made a boarder of stamped concrete about 12" wide. I suggested staining it to make it more prominent and the concrete guy (VERY knowledgeable) said that if we did that, it would need to be sealed every couple of years. The problem is, while the pattern (grapes & vines) is great, it's just not very visible without any stain.

So at the end of the day, it's a matter of opinion/personal choice. So here's my opinion: If I planned on living in a house for another 8 years I'd go stamped. According to your estimates, the cost diff is $5K. That's $650/year or $52/month.

Life is short, use the good china and silverware. This is of course totally opinion based, which I may get snipped for, rather than "How do I do stamped concrete?". But I do believe you'll recover your cost diff. when you sell.

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    I agree especially on cost who cares cares what it cost if you can afford it and would like stamped go for it. More than the basic pad and kept in good condition may be a sales point that you may not gain the full amount but it may be what sells the home. I have used glow stones around the edge and the expected walkway & in countertops will I ever get the extra cost back? No but it has helped sell several houses. – Ed Beal Apr 21 at 18:53
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    Wow thought i was reading my answer... great minds ...+1 – JACK Apr 21 at 19:53
  • @JACK LOL, yeah, there are several of us here that really think alike! You, Ed Beal, Threephase, Haper..., No sparks please and a couple of others. I've also had the experience here thinking, "Hey, that's what I was going to say"! + – George Anderson Apr 21 at 20:28
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    I'm with you guys on the good china -- the $180k remodel inside the house last year has really pushed us to appraisal limits! I was hoping there's a concrete buff, who would confirm the integral color does really resist staining. In 8 years, if the stamped patio costs a few extra thousand but it holds up better like I think; even better, peace of mind. For sure you are signing up to re-seal the stamped concrete every few years.... – Leroy105 Apr 21 at 21:15

The two surfaces are actually different and that might account for why the stamped concrete looks better after a while. Swept concrete is just a big sidewalk. It's a pitted surface that attracts and traps dirt, stains and mildew. Stamped concrete starts out the same when poured and smoothed out. If dryshake colors are used, which are more common, the colors are more intense than if mixed in the whole batch and the color hardeners improve the strength and density of the concrete surface and creates a plaster like surface that makes for a smoother imprint that won't trap dirt, stains etc.,like regular swept concrete does.

You have mentioned that you prefer the look of the stamped concrete. I think you should go with it. you will be living there for a while and would be enjoying it. Not everything you buy has to have a cost recovery. Sometimes you just have to expense something you like. I have a strong feeling that you will kick yourself in the butt many times if you go with the swept concrete.

Yes, stamped concrete does get sealed more but that's a pretty easy process.

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    Agree with most of what you said, but stamped doesn't need to be sealed unless it's acid stained. Of course you can seal it, but it's not as necessary if it's not sealed. And totally agree that swept concrete is basically a driveway. + – George Anderson Apr 21 at 19:19
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    @GeorgeAnderson They tend to do it a lot down here. A lot of rain and blistering sun all year long can affect the color... – JACK Apr 21 at 19:52
  • I'm pretty much on board with the stamped too. For some reason, I feel like it always looks better over time. I've sure experienced the swept concrete just absorbs every possible stain. – Leroy105 Apr 21 at 21:14

Some input after working a few seasons in landscaping and snow removal: You cannot salt stamped concrete, or at least should not, and if it's sealed it gets extremely slick compared to broom swept under matching conditions. If you're going to do snow removal at all, you have to do it regularly to avoid ice build up and for traction you use sand or products like ecotraction. There also tend to be a few spots where you'll have at least some degree of pooling. As a result it can be wise to intentionally put in a slight grade. Doesn't have to be enough to be perceptible.

  • There should always be a slight grade, away from the house (regardless of surface type.) – Ecnerwal Apr 22 at 12:41

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