A beautiful and comfortable backyard retreat is high on the list for many homeowners. The traditional deck or regular concrete patio have been longtime favorites. Paver brick patios have also been on trend of late. More and more homeowners are now choosing stamped concrete patios. Their colors and designs add a little more beauty and t hey can also help add to home values.

The Stamped Concrete Patio

The aspects that homeowners admire about stamped concrete patios are that they are customizable, affordable and low maintenance. There are hundreds of looks available with the different colors and textures to choose from. Stamped concrete is basically colored concrete that is stamped with a pattern. Sometimes more color is sprayed, painted or added on for texture.

The Cost

Stamped concrete patios are very affordable. In an article written by Dawn M. Smith on angi.com, How Much Does a Stamped Concrete Patio Cost?, Smith says, "And they're affordable compared to other patio materials like stone, slate, and marble because the poured concrete is the same inexpensive material used for traditional patios and driveways." Stamped concrete patios are less expensive than brick paver patios too. You can get the look of stone, slate, wood, tile and brick in the stamped concrete. The article cites, "The average cost for a stamped concrete patio is about $4,500. Depending on factors like customization, expect to pay between $8 and $28 per square foot."

The Installation Process

The process starts with obtaining a permit from the city and your homeowners association (HOA,) if required. If you do not have an HOA, you can skip this step. You will need to decide on a size for your patio. The area where the concrete patio will be installed needs to be leveled. Any grass, weeds or other material in the area needs to be removed down to the dirt. You will need to decide on a shape for your patio, whether it be square, rectangular, kidney shaped, round, oval, or another shape altogether. A form needs to be built with 2" X 4" lumber and screws or nails. Next, gravel is laid down for the sub-base. Your desired color is added to the concrete mix and the concrete is poured and smoothed. You choose which pattern and stamp style you'd like, and the top of the concrete is stamped with the stamp. Depending on your style, another color or colors are added as accents to the concrete. This adds texture to the patio. Once the patio id completely dry, a sealer will be applied to finish the look. After concrete patios are complete, it is hard to tell it's simply concrete to many people. This adds to home values.

The Maintenance

Stamped concrete patios do require some cleaning and routine maintenance. However, it is fairly easy and not expensive. The amount of maintenance may depend on its exposure to certain weather conditions and the amount of use. Regular use of a broom and a garden hose with a sprayer will help keep it clean. Occasionally use a small amount of liquid dish soap to clean it. High pressure washing is not recommended, as this may cause damage to the sealer or the actual surface texture of the patio. If you do spill something on the patio that will stain or that is greasy, it is a good idea to clean it off right sway. Stamped concrete patios need to be sealed every two to three years, according to an article on concretenetwork.com called How to Clean and Maintain Stamped Concrete. The article says the reasons for the protective sealer is to "block the penetration of dirt, chemicals, grease, and other substances." It also states, "Sealers also make the concrete easier to clean and prevent color fading from UV exposure."

If you are thinking of adding a place to relax and entertain, consider a stamped concrete patio. You will be able to enjoy it for many, many years. It is a good investment, as the colors, designs and textures of stamped concrete patios add value to a home.