How to Troubleshoot Stamped Concrete Problems

Do you have a concrete patio, driveway, or walkway? If so, you may have noticed that your concrete is stamped with a design. Stamped concrete is becoming more and more popular due to its decorative appearance and durability. However, like all things in life, stamped concrete isn’t perfect. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common problems with stamped concrete and how to troubleshoot them. Let’s get started!

Why Do Stamped Concrete Problems Happen?

Even when done right, stamped concrete problems are sometimes inevitable. Weather conditions, the age of the concrete, how it was installed, or even what type of tools are used to make the pattern can all contribute to a better result. If your stamped concrete problems are fixed due to the age of the concrete, then it should only need a good cleaning and resealing. If the weather was not a factor and you’re seeing cracking or damage in your driveway, patio, pool deck, or sidewalk then you may be looking at other issues that will require professional assistance.

Why Should I Hire A Concrete Repair Company?

In most cases, you shouldn’t have to fix stamped concrete problems by anyone but yourself. However, if you’re experiencing severe cracking from wind, water, or even fluctuations in temperature, it’s best to leave things like this up to the professionals.

Stamped concrete though not really expensive when done right will cost money and going through all of that trouble only to have the finished product ruined because stamped concrete problems are not fixed when they appear would really upset any homeowner. That being said, if you expect to use your stamped concrete for a while and want it to look absolutely perfect in the long run, getting these issues taken care of by a professional might be something that you want to consider.

Let’s look at the most common stamped concrete problems and how to troubleshoot them:


The most common cause of damage to stamped concrete is cracking, which can be caused by a variety of things. Cracks usually come from the ground up; due to the weight and pressure exerted on them by vehicles or foot traffic. This can happen if the concrete was not installed according to recommended standards for maximum load capacity, rates of flow and depth, as well as how it should be finished once stamped and colored.

Improper finishing practices such as overlapping stamps improperly may also lead to cracks in stamped concrete since joints between panels and stamp patterns will not line up properly and this weakens the overall strength of the project.

Another factor that contributes to cracking is poor installation techniques where too much sand gets kicked back into the system when compared with the aggregate used in the mix. This results in too many voids and air pockets in the stamped concrete surface which can lead to early cracking when water gets inside these areas and freezes when winter hits.

Small hairline cracks about an inch apart over a large area of stamped concrete will require removal and replacement of the entire slab due to it being structurally unstable at this point.

How do you fix cracks in stamped concrete?

Epoxy Injection System

Epoxy is mixed with hardener and catalyzer at a ratio of 1:1:2 respectively. All resins are activated within five minutes after mixing regardless of color change, which can be misleading if the insufficient catalyst was added. Mixed epoxy will remain workable for up to three hours depending on ambient conditions. The epoxy hardens in about 24 hours, but it takes 28 days for the injection to completely cure.

Use Colored Caulk Or Crack Repair Filler

These can be purchased at most hardware stores. Using a caulking gun, run the tip of the applicator along the length of the crack, applying pressure to ensure that it fills completely. Once finished, wipe away excess material with a damp rag or paper towel soaked in white spirit(mineral spirits); wait until dry before applying a sealant over the area to prevent discoloration of colored filler.

Cracks Caused By Weed Growth Or Other Factors

To fix cracks in stamped concrete caused by weed growth or other factors, use a dowel rod and hammer to break up the blockage, if possible. If holes remain after removing weeds or debris, fill them with colored caulk to fix cracks. To fix cracks on paths that had plants growing through them, remove the plants then treat the area with weed killer before filling cracks with filler or caulk.


Stamped concrete is not as sturdy as regular concrete. The extra material used in stamping the pattern weakens the slab. If this happens, you must fix it or risk further damage to your floor.

What causes spalling? Rapid changes in moisture levels caused by exposure to sun and rain result in spalling so are chemicals that are spilled on top of stamped concrete.

Use an epoxy paint primer first if the area is larger than 3 ft (1 m) before applying any finish coats. Be sure to use a product that says it won’t crack after drying for 1 day. After priming, apply 1 coat of enamel paint with a roller or brush at least 2 times thicker than the usual paint used on interior walls. Use acrylic enamel paint if applying directly over stamped concrete; this type of paint dries quickly and adheres well to new or previously painted surfaces, including stamped concrete.

If you don’t fix spalling soon enough, the area will grow larger and may need replacing altogether.


A discoloration on stamped concrete looks like a shadow of color. The stamped concrete will have a shade of its existing color but it won’t match with the rest of the stamped concrete. This is because there is moss and algae growing on your stamped concrete resulting in stains and discoloration.

This problem can be solved by pressure washing the whole surface of your stamped concrete very carefully and then sealing it or applying some sealants. You can also remove some parts that are discolored, fix them up once they dry up, clean them thoroughly before they set harder again, then reapply stain which you prefer to use so it will not fade away due to sunlight or any kind of weathering.


Generally, blisters on stamped concrete are caused by moisture trapped underneath the surface level. When water gets trapped underneath the surface, there must be a means of escape, which is why it bubbles up to the top under the stamped concrete. This can happen for several reasons including errors that were made during installation or after installation, but either way, it is fixable if caught early enough.

The fix depends on the cause of the blistering. Blistering can be caused by too much water in the paver base, which causes it to float to the surface as it expands from water absorption. It can also be caused by inadequate compaction prior to installation or low-quality control during the production and installation of stamped concrete. Fixing stamped concrete blisters is best left to a professional contractor who has experience with fixing similar problems and can recommend how to fix stamped concrete blisters successfully.


When your stamped concrete is curling up, you have what is known as an uplift problem. Uplifted edges are caused by the loss of adhesion between the concrete and its substrate. The most common reasons for this are either that water has penetrated under or into your stamped concrete or that there is too much sand in the mix. Sometimes, this isn’t fixable at all depending on how extensive it’s gotten.

If it’s only a small amount of surface area that has lifted, you can fix it with some neat cement fixer available from any hardware store. Just follow the instructions on the label carefully. Remember to purchase a fixer according to how many inches you need to cover.

If your stamped concrete curling is more extensive or you’ve lost sections, the next step would be to replace those areas that have been lifted if they are less than half of the total surface area.

Concord Remodel Stamped Concrete Project 1

If these sections are larger than half of the total surface area, you will need to fix it with a chemical patching compound that acts as a bonding agent between the old and new concrete so they can become one solid piece. This compound can be purchased at any hardware store just like fixers. Finally, if all else fails and you’re left with no other option, then it probably needs to be redone in which case you’ll need the help of a professional.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems with your stamped concrete, don’t worry. We’re here to help. Just call us today and we’ll walk you through the process of troubleshooting and repairing your concrete. Thanks for reading!

Are You Looking for Help Building a Concrete Driveway, Addition or Extension for Your Home? 

Spaulding Concrete has been the San Francisco Bay Area’s top stamped concrete contractor for over 30 years.  We have been serving our community with driveway extensions and additions, flat surface concrete installation for sidewalks, city bike paths, commercial floors, parking lots, RV pads, steps, curbs, and gutters.  We specialize in the completion of our projects in an effective, timely and reasonable manner. The qualified concrete experts at Spaulding Concrete will be on schedule, on budget and meet or exceed standards by careful planning, professional execution, and strict quality control. To schedule your free quote, contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood and the surrounding areas.