Comparing Concrete Coatings / Overlays

Comparing concrete coatings/overlays, acid stains, stamped concrete & real stone

NOTE: Stoneworks by Construct Unlimited emphasizes that every project is unique with a different set of circumstances. Therefore, the following comments are provided below for general information only and are based on common scenarios.

Real stone is usually the most expensive option than the rest. Stamped concrete is also expensive as a result of having to remove existing concrete, then pour new concrete to achieve the new desired “stamped” pattern. Since acid stains and overlays, in most cases, are created by using the existing concrete, the cost savings is significant. In cases where there is no existing concrete, using an overlay instead of stamped concrete has long term cost advantages in terms of durability, strength, temperature and repairability.

Installation Time
Real stone requires special handling of stone and a full installation process that can take weeks. Stamped concrete requires new pouring of concrete and/or removal of old. Since acid stains and overlays, in most cases, are created by using the existing concrete, installation (labor) time is greatly reduced.

Colors, textures & patterns
Real stone is limited to the available colors on hand and there is no flexibility of color in cases where the rest of the decor differ. Stamped concrete also does not provide flexibility of color and is limited to the “stamp” tool patterns available which look manufactured and repetetive. Acid stains react with the natural elements of the concrete to produce a non-repetative glazed effect. Concrete coatings/overlays provide unlimited flexibility to control each; color, texture and pattern.

Real stone is strong, yet can sometimes be flaky and brittle. In addition, real stone cannot be sealed properly. Stamped concrete is weakend by a baby powder-like release that is used to separate the stamp tool from the concrete. In addition, stamped concrete is very likely to crack and is expensive to repair. Concrete coatings/overlays are approximately 4 times stronger (8000 psi) than regular concrete (only 2000 psi) and not as brittle as real stone. Acid stains are as strong as the concrete or overlay to it is applied.

Ability to clean & maintain
Any sealed surface is easier to clean than a non-sealed surface. Real stone and stamped concrete tend to trap soil and debris within their joints. Acid stains and concrete coatings/overlays are easily maintained.

All natural material and colored products will fade with time. Real stone is harder to match with replacement stone after fading. Stamped concrete fades rapidly if not sealed properly and is almost impossible to repair. Concrete coatings/overlays and acid stains provide fade-resistant UV protection.

In general, darker colors are hotter than lighter colors. Real stone, stamped concrete and acid stains tend to get very hot in summer weather. Concrete coatings/overlays are much cooler than real stone, stamped concrete and acid stains. In addition, concrete coatings/overlays can significantly reduce the air temperature of a pool or patio area by 15°F on hot days.

Most real stone and stamped concrete providers do not have warranties for their products. Stoneworks does not provide a warranty for acid stains alone, but does provide a conditional lifetime warranty against coating delamination, including if the overlay is used with an acid stain.

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