Answering Some Commonly Asked Questions About Decorative Concrete

Decorative concrete can add style and personality to your property and keep it from looking overly industrial or drab and dull. This type of decoration can mean adding an aggregate, stamping, painting or staining and can include virtually any colour or shade or textured effect. If you're thinking of opting for decorative concrete outside your home, note a few questions you might have about the material and the process.

Does it look fake?

In many cases, it can be virtually impossible to tell the difference between stamped concrete and the actual stone it's meant to replicate. Painted concrete will still look like concrete, but without the grey and dull shade you would see with a roadway or parking lot. Adding an aggregate to concrete can easily make the surface look like asphalt or create a sandy appearance. In all cases, the skill of your installer will of course affect the finished product, but rarely does it look fake or out of place on a residential property.

Can a homeowner install their own decorative concrete?

Stamping concrete is a very difficult skill to learn, as you need to work quickly before the concrete sets but also need to ensure the stamping is done evenly. While a homeowner may be able to paint concrete, note that the surface may need to be ground down or otherwise treated before it can hold a paint colour, and this too may involve some skill and know-how to get the job done right. Staining concrete so that it looks like stone and doesn't have a muddy appearance can also be more difficult than you might realise, so it's usually best to leave all these options to a professional.

Can decorative concrete be poured over existing concrete?

This often depends on the concrete you have now and the type of decorative finish you choose. You might be able to add a new layer of concrete to your driveway, and then have it stained or painted. However, a new layer may not be thick enough to be stamped as you would prefer. If your current driveway is a bit warped or severely chipped, this might also make the new layer somewhat uneven and warped so that it wouldn't look quite right after the stamping. Ask an installer to examine your current surfaces and he or she can tell you the best option for keeping your current concrete intact.