Adding to the value of decorative stamped concrete is the material’s inherent strength and endurance. Like conventional concrete, stamped concrete will provide decades of service when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to harsh winter weather conditions.
In some cases, stamped concrete can be even more durable than standard concrete, especially if a color hardener has been applied to the surface. The hardener does more than simply impart color. It also makes the surface stronger and more resistant to abrasion and water penetration. Most contractors will also apply several coats of protective sealer to stamped concrete to block the penetration of dirt, deicing chemicals, oil and grease stains, and other substances. A good-quality sealer not only makes the concrete easier to clean, it offers other benefits, such as enhancing the color and preventing fading from UV exposure. (See An Introduction to Sealers and Sealers for Stamped Concrete.)
But even properly sealed stamped concrete will require some routine maintenance, depending on exposure conditions and the type and amount of traffic it receives. Here are tips for cleaning and treating your stamped concrete to preserve its beauty and extend its service life.
Stamped concrete maintenance tips:
- Although a sealer will inhibit stains, you should still sweep and wash the surface occasionally to avoid dirt buildup. Exterior surfaces can be pressure washed or scrubbed with a mild detergent. For interior surfaces, wet mopping or dry dust mopping of the floor is typically the only routine upkeep needed. (See Choosing a Concrete Cleaner or Degreaser.)
- On outdoor stamped concrete, avoid using deicing salts, especially during the first winter after the pavement is installed. Sealers for decorative concrete often fail in areas where deicing salts are applied or that receive drip-off from parked cars. (Read The Effects of Deicing Salts on Sealer Performance.
- If the stamped surface begins to dull or lose its sheen after time, recoating with sealer will usually restore the luster. Ask the installer for recommendations of the best sealer to use.
- On stamped interior floors subject to lots of foot traffic, it’s especially important to maintain the sealed surface to prevent wear patterns. Application of a sacrificial floor wax or polish can provide extra protection by protecting the sealer from wear and serving as a shock absorber to scuffs, scratches and grime.