Imprinted concrete is one of the popular options for driveways or walkways. It is not as expensive as compared to other options. It is a type of concrete where the concrete is poured on a sub-base and on the sub-base, colour is applied. On top of the colour, a hardener is applied further.
The chosen design is then imprinted onto wet concrete to create the kind of pattern chosen by the client. A wide range of prints are available. It is a popular option for driveways in residences as it adds a unique element to the property and enhances its curb appeal. In this article, we will explore the various pros and cons of imprinted concrete.
Pros of Imprinted Concrete
One of the biggest advantages of imprinted concrete is that it is less expensive as compared to other paving options. It is a much cheaper option when compared to stones or bricks or concrete pavers. Not only the material costs are cheaper but the installation costs are also cheaper as compared to the installation cost of bricks and stones.
There is no denying that you need professionals to ensure a great finish but it does not require as much preparation or specialisation as compared to other options. Laying down stones, bricks and pavers is a time-intensive job and you need trained professionals who will first need to prepare the underlying area and install the materials.
Another unique thing about imprinted concrete is that you get to add a unique element to your property. A wide range of designs are available in terms of stamps and you could choose one or combine a few to create a completely unique pattern that won’t look like any other pattern in other properties. You could ask the installer to make it look like natural stone, tile, brick or a wide number of other options. On top of that, it is still concrete which means it is going to be long lasting.
When it comes to maintenance, other paving options such as bricks, tiles or stones cannot match the convenience of concrete. It is true that concrete is going to have some kind of cracks over a period of time but you don’t really need to do much to maintain the concrete walkway or driveway. Some people choose to get the concrete sealed which requires resealing every 3 to 5 years but it is not that expensive. A big advantage of sealing concrete that it helps in preventing staining and water damage.
Cons of Imprinted Concrete
While there are several advantages of imprinted concrete, it also has certain limitations.
Many people these days choose concreting as a DIY project. When it comes to stamped or imprinted concrete, you will need to hire someone to get it right. It is not a DIY project. While you will have to pay labour costs, it also means that you will have a driveway or walkway with proper finish. Do not forget that there is only one chance to get it right and if you make a mistake, it will turn out to be a costly one.
Since colours are used in imprinted concrete, you might find it difficult to get the original colour when it comes to repairing the walkway after some time. Since each layer of the concrete blends in a wide range of colours, you might not be able to restore the original look with a patch.
Also, it is a continuous slab of concrete which means you can’t remove some part of it in case you want to make a change. You will need to get someone to cut the entire portion in order to make the desired changes. Also, cracks are inevitably going to appear on stamped concrete and that might create issues if you do not maintain it properly.
Choosing the Right Imprinted Concrete Contractor
Before you start looking for potential contractors for your imprinted concrete project, it is important for you to accurately estimate the square footage of the concrete project as well as the designs you want. Also, you need to be clear on the colours you want and any other additional requirements.
An important thing you need to understand is that an imprinted concrete contractor is a specialist as they have a specific skill set. Not every concrete contractor is the right choice for imprinted concrete. Check out their website and make sure they have extensive experience. In most cases, these contractors have a whole portfolio on their website where they display the kind of patterns they have created for their clients.
Also, ask them to provide some references and if possible, you should get those addresses and take a look at the work done there. It will give you an idea of their workmanship and whether they are the right choice for your project. In short, you should do proper research before hiring someone.
You should also ask for estimates from multiple contractors. Ask them to provide a detailed estimate based on square footage. If you have an existing driveway or walkway and the concrete needs to be removed, make sure to ask them about the same.
Needless to say, you should never hire someone without checking their registration, licensing as well as insurance. You should also ask them about the number of imprinted concrete projects they have completed in the recent past and their number of years of experience in this industry.
Overall, stamped or imprinted concrete is one of the popular options for concrete driveways or walkways. It allows you to add a unique element to your property at an affordable price. You should do proper research before hiring an imprinted concrete contractor to make sure they have the necessary experience to bring your imagination to life.