Cost of brick vs. stamped concrete

Written by tom lutzenberger
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Cost of brick vs. stamped concrete
Patio with brick floor. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jose Maria Miñarro Vivancos)

Both brick and stamped concrete are durable and attractive choices for outdoor patios, walkways and other projects. While brick may initially seem like the cheaper option, once you've added all the associated costs, you may find that the overall project price for either material is about the same.

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Prep work and base materials

For any major patio or flooring approach, the base preparation will generally be the same. The area soil will need to be flattened and uniform material will need to be introduced to smooth out the "bed" that the brick or cement will lay on. Cement will require the use of gravel, while brick requires the use of sand for a bed. Thus, the initial cost for brick will be cheaper than stamped concrete due to the price of gravel. On the other hand, rebar must be added to cement for added strength. This extra expense is not necessary for a brick patio foundation.

Framing

Both brick and stamped cement will require costs for framing. A frame is used to keep the base material in place and to provide the initial form that the patio or floor will take. It also helps keep other materials and dirt separate from the flooring area being constructed.

Cost of stamped concrete

Stamped cement is regular cement with a design form pressed into it while still wet. After being stamped, the cement is then dyed or stained. The process produces a cement floor that looks and feels like natural stone, depending on the colour and form pressed into the cement. Stamp patterns come in a variety of designs, including faux brick. A final chemical seal is sprayed on the surface to protect the cement from the elements.

The cost for a stamped cement patio will include the cement, colour and sealer, and labour if contracted out. A project covering 74 square metres (800 square feet) will likely be in the neighbourhood of £3,250, give or take various options and choices.

Cost of bBrick

Brick-laying is very manual work and will require significant labour if contracted out. Brick units can cost anywhere from 15 cents to 60p per brick. If you were to use paver bricks to cover an 74 square metres (800 square feet) area, you would need 3,600 bricks. Given that bricks generally range in price from £195 to £325 per 1,000 bricks and adding the costs of mortar and labour, the total cost will be in the £3,250 range as well.

Maintenance and care of stamped concrete

Stamped concrete needs to be pressure-blasted and cleaned annually. Resealing is not required every year, but it is a good idea. Failure to do so will allow excessive moisture to soak into the cement and eventually it will begin to pit, crater and crack. Moisture will also cause the steel rebar in the cement to rust and create cracks as well.

Maintenance and care of brick

Brick flooring will crack along the mortar lines between the bricks but will generally last as long as the bricks themselves are not impacted or broken. They can be sealed like cement, but it's not necessary. The major issue with bricks is that they eventually come loose and need to be re-mortared to preserve the floor surface. Regular application of a weed-killing spray may also be necessary.

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