Stamped concrete is a growing trend for patios and pool decks, but it requires a special technique
Stamped concrete is a fun way to dress up your patio or driveway or match it to existing stones. Decorative concrete is also a delicate process that requires expertise and special tools. Make sure you hire a stamped concrete contractor near you with experience if you decide to enhance your yard with decorative concrete.
What Is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete patios are appealing because they’re low maintenance, customizable, and more affordable than other patio materials like stone, slate, and marble. Designed patios start with the same poured concrete used for traditional patios and driveways. But you can transform concrete from boring to personalized with patterns or colors.
The concrete contractor must act quickly and precisely to lay the stamps in the correct order and add color if part of the process. Therefore, you want someone experienced to do the work. Here’s how to find a qualified decorative concrete installer.
How to Find a Decorative Concrete Contractor
To find a decorative concrete contractor near you, start by asking around. Word of mouth is a powerful tool for finding a contractor. You can ask friends and family or knock on a neighbor’s door if you notice they have a beautiful concrete design.
Other ways to find a concrete contractor include doing web searches, reading reviews on sites like Angi, and posting a query in neighborhood forums.
Before Hiring a Concrete Contractor
Before you hire a concrete contractor, look at pictures for inspiration so you have an idea of what you want to do and where you want the patio or driveway in your yard.
Plan Your Concrete Project for Accurate Quotes
Your vision might change as you talk to potential contractors and they share their expertise, but before calling, have an idea of:
Square footage of your intended concrete project.
What design you want. It helps to send your contractor an inspirational photo.
Whether you want color or stain.
Any additional patio enhancements you’d like, such as planters or a low wall for additional seating.
Call around to get quotes from three contractors and talk out the project. They might have suggestions or let you know of limitations. You can also ask what goes into their price to compare estimates accurately.
Check Your Concrete Pro’s Qualifications and References
Make sure the contractor you hire specializes in stamped or decorative concrete because it involves special tools and training. Ask the service provider what experience they have with pouring decorative concrete.
Ask to see photos of their work. Better yet, get addresses and go look at the work in real life. That’ll give you an idea of how well it held up—and you might be able to talk to homeowners about their projects.
Then, do your due diligence and make sure the company is registered, licensed, and insured in your state.
Questions to Ask Your Decorative Concrete Contractor
To make sure you and the concrete contractor have the same vision, ask lots of questions when you interview them. Ask about the removal of existing concrete, base preparation, concrete thickness, costs, and timeline. Also, see if they warranty their work.
See what goes into the cost of concrete work. Pay special attention to the concrete thickness you need. To accommodate some lawn furniture, 4 inches will suffice, but if you plan to put a hot tub or shed on it, make it at least six inches.
Hiring Your Concrete Contractor Tips
When choosing a concrete contractor, be sure to interview them and make sure their project vision aligns with yours.
Interview Your Decorative Concrete Specialist
Before deciding who to hire, it’s wise to get a couple of quotes and compare them. Ask what exactly they’re including in the cost, such as ripping out and hauling away old concrete (if necessary) or sealing the patio.
Getting prices from three contractors will give you the information you need to determine a fair price for the work in your area. You can also compare the bids to those shown in online concrete project cost guides.
Be sure to ask how long the process takes. Will the crew be on your project every day until complete? It’s not uncommon for contractors to start projects and collect the initial payment, then disappear for a week or two. Stipulate that, weather permitting, you want the crew there consecutive days until the work wraps up.
Make sure to also ask about previous experience. Have they done anything similar to what you’re requesting? Do they have pictures to share?
Ask for a Background Check
When you call a concrete company to talk about your project and get a price, be sure to ask who will do the work. Find out:
How long have they done this kind of work?
How many stamped concrete patios have they worked on?
Did the owner run background checks on employees?
You can also ask for the full names of anyone working at your house.
Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Concrete Contractor
It’s likely your concrete company will send over a contract for your signature. Make sure to read it and request any changes that would make you feel more comfortable. The contract should spell out exactly what work they’ll perform. Make sure it addresses the demolition of an old patio if necessary and clean up.
It should also document when payments are due. Negotiate not making the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work. You can also ask what remedy will apply if you aren’t happy with the work or you find a defect in their work.
Keep Records of Your Decorative Concrete Project
If you’re paying by the hour, be sure to note what time the crew arrives and leaves. Otherwise, it’s always good practice to keep the receipt and contractor’s name and phone number. It’s easy to forget after a few years, and you never know when you might need to replace a piece or add on to your patio.
If the contractor gives you any paperwork about caring for your patio, keep that, too. Many patio surfaces require resealing every couple of years.
Look for Red Flags and Prepare to Troubleshoot
When looking for a concrete contractor, be wary of some common scams, like the contractor who has extra materials. Often, this person knocks on your door and says they have extra materials from finishing a job in the neighborhood. If you can pay them now (in cash), you can get a nice discount on what you need. Reputable contractors don’t use this technique to get clients, so it’s best to pass here.
Cash-only payments should raise your eyebrows. Credit cards come with built-in protection for the consumer, so if your contractor insists on only accepting cash, you might be better off working with someone else.
Be wary of upfront payments. Generally, contractors require a deposit of up to 50% of the total project cost upfront. If a contractor asks for more than that, consider it a red flag.
After Your Concrete Professional Has Finished
Once you’re satisfied with your decorative concrete project, promptly make your final payment. It’s also nice to leave reviews online.