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How-To Guide to Decorative Concrete and Stamped Concrete

Updated: Feb 10

...and learn which process is cheaper: stamped or decorative


Stamped concrete and decorative concrete are both popular options for enhancing the look of concrete surfaces, but they differ in terms of the techniques used and the final appearance.


Table of Contents


Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete involves pressing a pattern or texture into the surface of the concrete while it is still wet. This can create the appearance of natural materials like stone, brick, or wood, as well as a variety of other designs.


The stamped pattern is created using specialized stamps or molds, which are pressed onto the surface of the concrete before it sets. Stamped concrete is typically colored with pigments or stains to further enhance its appearance, also known as decora.


decorative concrete Bradenton, FL

Decorative Concrete

On the other hand, decorative concrete involves adding a decorative finish or coating to the surface of the concrete after it has cured. This can include techniques such as staining, painting, engraving, or overlaying the surface with a decorative material such as tile or stone.


Decorative concrete can also include adding texture or patterns to the surface using techniques like sandblasting, acid etching, and using a stamped method.


As you can see, both stamped concrete and decorative concrete are often used synonymously but there are slight differences between both concrete techniques.


Decorative concrete how to guide


In summary, stamped concrete involves creating a pattern on the surface of the concrete before it sets, while decorative concrete involves adding a decorative finish to the surface after it has cured.


You can see examples of our decorative and stamped concrete work.


How is Stamped Concrete Done?

Stamped concrete is a decorative concrete technique that involves creating a pattern or texture on the surface of freshly poured concrete.


Below are the general steps involved in the process:

  1. Preparing the site: The area where the stamped concrete will be installed must be cleared of any debris and leveled to provide a smooth, even surface.

  2. Mixing and pouring the concrete: A concrete mix is prepared according to the desired strength and consistency, and then poured onto the prepared site. The concrete is leveled and smoothed out to prepare it for stamping.

  3. Stamping the concrete: Specialized stamping tools are used to press the desired pattern or texture into the surface of the wet concrete. The stamps are applied in a sequence to create a continuous pattern.

  4. Adding color: The stamped concrete surface can be colored by applying a color hardener, which is a powdered pigment that is broadcast onto the surface and worked into the concrete. Alternatively, a colored liquid release agent may be sprayed onto the surface to create a two-tone effect.

  5. Finishing and sealing: Once the stamped concrete has been allowed to dry and cure, it is cleaned and sealed to protect it from damage and weathering. The sealer also enhances the color and texture of the stamped surface.


Overall, the process of stamping concrete requires skill and experience to achieve a high-quality result and is often not recommended as a DIY project. When considering stamped concrete flooring, it's important to look for and hire a professional concrete contractor with experience in stamped concrete installation to ensure a successful outcome.


Fortunately, at Advanced Surface Solutions, we know the quality and attention to detail that goes into every step of the process, and we also guarantee our stamped concrete floors. Every customer is completely satisfied or we're not done. Period.


What is the Process of Decorative Concrete?

Decorative concrete is a technique that involves adding a decorative finish or coating to the surface of cured concrete. Here are the general steps involved in the process:

  1. Preparing the surface: The concrete surface must be cleaned and prepped by removing any dirt, debris, or old coatings. If necessary, the surface may need to be repaired or leveled to ensure a smooth finish.

  2. Applying the decorative finish: Depending on the desired look, a decorative finish can be applied using a variety of techniques. These include staining, painting, engraving, overlaying with a decorative material, or adding texture or patterns.

    • Staining: A chemical stain is applied to the surface of the concrete, penetrating the pores and reacting with the minerals to create a permanent color. Acid-based stains can create a variegated, mottled effect, while water-based stains can create a more uniform color.

    • Painting: A concrete paint or coating is applied to the surface of the concrete, providing a uniform color or design. Paints can be opaque or translucent and may require multiple coats.

    • Engraving: A design or pattern is cut into the surface of the concrete using specialized tools, such as a diamond-tipped saw or grinder. This can create intricate designs or simulate the look of tile or stone.

    • Overlaying: A decorative material, such as tile, stone, or a stamped concrete overlay, is applied to the surface of the concrete to create a new texture or design.

    • Adding texture or patterns: Techniques such as sandblasting, acid etching, or using specialized rollers or stamps can create unique textures or patterns on the surface of the concrete.


3. Sealing the surface: Once the decorative finish has been applied, the surface must be sealed to protect it from wear and tear, weathering, and staining. A clear sealer is typically applied to enhance the color and texture of the decorative finish and to provide a durable, long-lasting surface.


Overall, the process of creating decorative concrete involves careful planning and attention to detail to achieve a desired aesthetic outcome. From the process outlined above, you'll notice that "adding texture or patterns" is involved, and this is where stamped concrete plays its role.


With the difficulty of applying decorative concrete, DIY is not recommended for those who don't understand the physics of concrete. Therefore, it's important to do your due diligence and hire a professional, licensed contractor with experience in decorative concrete installation to ensure your floor comes out the way you want.


Call us at 863.243.9508 if you have any questions regarding your decorative concrete design, the area where you want it installed, or anything else related to concrete flooring.


Decorative concrete with wood plank look

Is Stamped Concrete Cheaper than Decorative Concrete?

The cost of stamped concrete versus decorative concrete can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project, the materials used, and the labor involved.


In general though, stamped concrete is typically less expensive than decorative concrete and we hope the explanation helps make it clear.

Stamped concrete involves pressing a pattern or texture into the surface of wet concrete, which can be a cost-effective way to create a decorative surface versus using actual stone.


The materials used for stamping come in the form of stamps or molds, which are often less expensive than those used for decorative finishes like overlays or coatings. Additionally, the labor involved in stamped concrete can be less intensive than that involved in applying decorative finishes.

On the other hand, decorative concrete involves adding a decorative finish or coating to the surface of cured concrete, which in some instances can be more labor-intensive and may require more specialized materials and tools. This can result in higher material and labor costs.

The bottom line is that the cost of stamped concrete versus decorative concrete can vary depending on the specific project and the materials and techniques used.


If you are torn between the two options and having a hard time deciding the route to take, please call and ask: 863.243.9508


We enjoy answering customers' questions, and It's always a good idea to conduct good research regarding reputable concrete contractors to compare the costs and options for your specific concrete flooring project.

Decorative concrete stain and stamped concrete



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