Are you looking to add a patio or sidewalk to your outdoor space? With the different hardscape options available, it can be confusing and overwhelming to try to decide what option is the best for you long term. Stamped concrete is typically one of the less expensive options up front, however there are some long-term factors to keep in mind before you make your decision.
One major problem is that stamped concrete cracks and chips, especially in harsher climates that experience frost. Here in New England our winters can be especially hard on concrete surfaces. Not only is it aesthetically unappealing, but it can also become a safety issue with tripping hazards. The picture to the right shows damage to stamped concrete caused by salt from the road brought onto the driveway by cars.
The next issue that you face is that it is not an easy fix to repair the cracks and/or chips that have occured. It's not as simple as replacing a small section and blending it in with the existing surface. Most likely you will wait as long as you can until it's bad enough to justify replacing the entire surface.
Another point that you should be aware of is that stamped concrete has to be re-tinted and sealed every 2-3 years, even less time for darker colors. Within that amount of time the color will fade, leaving you with a different hue than you originally chose. The photo shows stamped concrete losing its color in spots on this pool patio.
Obviously you will ultimately need to decide what hardscape surface is right for you, but before you decide if you want to go with stamped concrete or not, you will want to consider the long term implications of your decision.