Stamped vs. Brushed Concrete Around Your Pool: How to Decide

Written by Michael Dean
May 8, 2023

concrete deck around a swimming pool

When installing a swimming pool, one thing you will need to consider is what type of paving you want to use around it on the pool deck. Cobblestone and brick pathways are beautiful, but the materials and upkeep for that type of paving can run you a pretty penny. Using concrete around your pool will save you a small fortune in renovation materials; plus, brushing or stamping techniques can give the concrete an extra flair to make it look just as lovely as the more expensive options.

So what is stamped concrete? What is brushed concrete? What is the difference? And which option is the right fit for you? Let’s break it down.

Main Takeaways

  • Stamped concrete replicates stone or brick paving, which elevates the overall aesthetic of your pool area.
  • Brushed concrete creates a texture on the drying concrete in order to ensure the concrete is less slippery.
  • You should go for stamped concrete if you want to create a gorgeous stone pattern around your pool, but if you’re on a tighter budget, brushed concrete may be the better option.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is a form of concrete laying meant to replicate stone or brick paving. Using stamped concrete around your pool can allow you to make unique stone patterns around your pool and elevate the overall aesthetic of your backyard and pool area.

Using stamped concrete to mimic the look of stone or brickwork gives you the aesthetics of stone pathways without the extra cost of using more expensive materials.

What is Brushed Concrete?

Brushed concrete, or broom-finished concrete, is a technique for finishing concrete where a broom creates texture on drying concrete. Smooth concrete becomes incredibly slippery when wet, making getting out of the pool hazardous for people swimming in your pools.

When using concrete around a swimming pool, it’s challenging to keep it dry, so adding texture to the concrete helps make it less slippery to keep your swimmers safe when climbing out of the pool.

Aesthetic Differences Between Stamped and Brushed Concrete

Since you can customize stamped concrete to mimic other stone materials and create different patterns in your stonework, stamped finishing will offer you a lot more creative freedom when designing your pool area. The ability to customize the stonework around your pool will allow you to create a more aesthetically pleasing look for your backyard.

In contrast, brush finishing does not give you the freedom to customize your concrete’s look. You have the option of having unique sweeping patterns used to finish your concrete. Still, the result is not nearly as intricate as the stamped finishing techniques that mimic other, more expensive materials.

Broom finishing is a popular choice for concrete finishes around public pools or water parks, giving your backyard the classic pool feeling. However, if you’re looking for something a little more fancy or creative, a broom finish may not be the best choice for your pool and backyard.

Cost Differences Between Brushed and Stamped Concrete

Working with concrete rather than cobblestone, brick, or other materials will save you a great deal of money, as concrete is a significantly less expensive material. That being said, if you’re looking to use stamped concrete for your pool, there are some extra costs that you will need to consider.

Stamped concrete needs to be sealed to protect the concrete from damage and maintain the integrity of the stone. The sealing used for the concrete will need to be applied every 2-3 years, depending on the amount of use and wear the concrete receives. Having to reseal your concrete consistently can add up over time, making it more expensive than using the broom finishing technique for your concrete.

Stamped concrete is also prone to cracking, especially if you live in an area with colder weather, as the cold can make the stone more brittle. Repairing cracks in your concrete can be expensive, so when deciding what type of concrete to use around your pool, you will need to keep in mind the maintenance required to keep your concrete in good condition and the costs that said care could run you.

Safety Differences Between Stamped and Brushed Concrete

As I mentioned above, brushed finishing adds texture to smooth concrete to make the surface safer and slip-resistant, especially if the concrete is wet. Brushed concrete was designed to be safe around a pool, which is why it is so popular for public swimming pools.

The safety level of stamped concrete depends on the kind of stamping you are using. If you’ve ever walked on a cobblestone path in the rain, you’ll know that the surface can get quite slippery when wet.

If you’re looking to get a natural stone path look out of your stamped concrete, it can make the area around your swimming pool a little more dangerous. Using a more textured stone pattern for your stamping can help eliminate the falling hazard if you are still set on using a stamped finish.

If your stamped concrete breaks or cracks, there is also the risk of cuts or tripping, depending on how the concrete has cracked. Ensuring that your concrete is in top condition is essential for keeping the area around your pool safe.

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Who Should Choose Stamped Concrete?

If you’re looking to create a beautiful stone pattern around the perimeter of your pool, stamped concrete will help you achieve your goals. Stamped concrete will allow you a lot of creativity in designing the concrete work around your pool and create an incredible effect.

If you are on a budget but love the look of stamped concrete, it would be an attractive and more affordable option for the perimeter of a smaller pool. Having a smaller sized swimming pool to work around will mean that you need less concrete and sealant to get the job done, so if you are looking at installing a smaller-sized swimming pool, stamped concrete would still be an excellent fit for you.

Who Should Choose Brushed Concrete?

If you are on a tighter budget or don’t want to deal with the upkeep of stamped concrete, a brushed finish on your concrete would be a better fit for you.

Using different or more intricate sweeping techniques when brushing your concrete can give you some freedom to create patterns or designs within your concrete without the extra cost that comes with stamped concrete, so you still have some ability to customize the finish and create an exciting aesthetic with an otherwise plain concrete flooring.

If younger children will use your pool, brushed concrete would also be a great fit, as the textured finish makes the surface less slippery, reducing the number of slips and falls around your pool and making for a safer play experience.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide which option is best for you and your family. If you care about affordability more, go with brushed concrete. Go with a stamped concrete deck if you care about design customization more.

Questions about the differences? Shoot me a message, and I’ll help as best I can.

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