Paving & Decorative Rock
Stamped concrete is one of those home remodeling trends that seems to be catching fire lately, and for good reason. Stamped concrete involves pouring slab concrete for driveways, walkways, patios, etc., and then impressing both patterns and textures onto the concrete before it is fully dry. For many years, a lesser form of stamped concrete was often seen that merely duplicated patterns. But the newer types of stamped concrete impart textures that duplicate many different surfaces such as cobblestones, brick, pavers, wood, seashells, and more. Also, pigment is usually added to stamped concrete to further duplicate the look of such patterns.
Why Stamped Concrete Instead of the Original Surfaces?
Brick, pavers, and cobbles look great, but since they form a surface of many interlocking pieces, they are susceptible to frost-heave and other changes in the underlying surface. Sometimes this can be good, if you're trying to cover an uneven surface--the brick, pavers, stone, or pavers will conform to the surface. But if you have a good, flat, and level undersurface, you'll want your concrete to be laid the same way. Reinforcing rods within the stamped concrete help to tie the pavement together and strengthen it.
Also, bricks, pavers, cobbles, etc. allow for weed to grow up through the cracks. Since stamped concrete is a solid, continuous surface, nothing can grow up through the "cracks." As you may already know, the "cracks" in stamped concrete are simply impressions in the concrete that only partially go through the surface.
Does Stamped Concrete Look as Good as Brick, Pavers, Cobbles, etc?
It looks great on its own terms, but it can never be mistaken for the real thing. As such, you may want to choose stamped concrete that isn't trying so hard to duplicate something else. Stamped concrete can have any number of patterns, textures, and colors.
Seal Coating is the process of applying a coal tar emulsion over an asphalt pavement to protect from the damaging effects of the environment, including moisture and ultraviolet oxidation. Protecting pavement with seal coating has basically the same effect as using sun screen on your skin or varnish on wood because it slows down the destructive effects of the climate. Seal coating also fills minor voids in the surface. Other benefits include creating uniform color and appearance.