Concrete is more durable than other materials but it will still crack and wear out over time. These tips will increase the longevity of your concrete patio so you can enjoy it without having to repair and maintain it as often. You can delay it longer with proper maintenance from some of the many factors that contribute to deterioration.
Plain Concrete Patios Vs. Stamped Concrete Patios
There are basic maintenance differences between stamped vs plain concrete patios even though they are both attractive, economical, and durable. Stamped concrete is designed to look like brick or concrete pavers without the higher maintenance. Stamped concrete has more surface detailing and coloring to match the look so to preserve the details in stamped concrete, it must have a a color hardener and sealant.
Homeowners choose stamped concrete because it’s more decorative than plain concrete. Stamped concrete has a higher end look but is more affordable than pavers, bricks, or stones; and it’s more environmentally friendly. Stamped concrete is more durable and better maintenance than brick or stone with the same look.
Plain concrete is cheaper than stamped concrete but you can still get the right finish if done properly. Plain concrete requires slightly more maintenance because of fewer treatments to the surface, but the durability is similar to what you can expect with stamped concrete. The primary difference in maintenance concerns between stamped concrete and regular concrete is the finish. The sealer, which creates the shine on the surface when it’s finished, may need to be replaced often, but it’s more visible with stamped concrete.
When your concrete slab is properly installed and maintained, it should last for decades irregardless if it's stamped or plain concrete. Cracks from the ground shifting or tree roots can be a problem over time but otherwise, your patio floor will remain intact for years. Stamped concrete usually includes a color hardener and a sealant applied to the surface, which protects it better from wear and abrasion and will typically last longer than plain.
Maintenance Tips For Concrete Patios
The low maintenance aspect and affordability of concrete patios is one of its most best features. It’s better value and cheaper to install than pavers, a wood deck, or stone. With proper maintenance, you can make it last for decades. Follow these seven rules for to preserve your concrete for years to come.
Keep It Clean
If you don't keep it clean, the surface will develop holes and start the erosion process sooner. This is when water and soil wear away at the concrete. You can use a garden hose to wash away dirt, debris, or other foreign contaminants every few weeks. You can also use liquid soap and a broom to scrub away spills or bird poop, then rinse with a garden hose. If the concrete gets stained by grease, food spills, or something else, try to clean up the spill as soon as possible. Pressure washing and stain removers will generally eliminate such spotting.
Sealer will protect your concrete from early corrosion as well as the color and shine of stamped concrete. The recommendation for reapplication of sealer is once every two to three years, but if you notice the color fading or the sheen disappearing, you can have it reapplied sooner. If you decide to reapply the sealer yourself, make sure to do it properly. The area should be fully cleaned and completely dry, because wet surfaces can make the sealant bubble or break. To ensure full coverage, a second coat should be applied.
Homeowners prefer concrete because it’s resistant to scratches and damage from furniture but over time, chair and table legs can scratch the sealant. You can use rugs and soft tabs to protect the surface as well as protect the floor from stains and spills.
The sealant on concrete patios is designed to resist strong elements and normal wear and tear. However, certain industrial chemicals can corrode it and eliminate the shine prematurely. Products that contain ammonium nitrates and sulfates are particularly harmful because they attack the concrete directly. In particular, deicing salts on stamped or treated concrete should be avoided because they can cause damage to the concrete surface. This is most important to avoid during the first winter since the sealant is more vulnerable at that point.
Wax Or Polish Stamped Concrete
To get a brighter shine, polishing or waxing the concrete in the summer is a great option. This will reduce the risk of wear patterns due to foot traffic. It’s not essential to extend the life of your patio, but it can add an extra layer of protection against wear, scratches, scuffs, and grime.
Provide Overhead Cover
You can extend the life of a concrete patio by sheltering it from direct interaction with the elements. Any type of covering such as a pergola or canvas cover will enhance the beauty and comfort so it might be worth the investment in the long run.
Manage Plant Growth
Tree and plant roots can compromise the integrity of your concrete if you don’t manage it properly. Roots will grow beneath the concrete, push it up, and cause it to crack. Unfortunately, you can’t repair cracked concrete; it can only be replaced. You can avoid this substantial cost with preventive measures. Have the roots in your yard trimmed regularly so they don’t endanger your concrete. You might also need to remove trees that develop extensive root systems to avoid future problems.