If you lay pavers on a 4-inch thick concrete base, you don't have to worry about weeds, insects, or anything growing through it. You don't have to worry about the pavers shifting, and you don't have to worry about concrete cracking because the pavers are on top. Here in the Midwest, where we have freezes and thaws, it's the best way to install cobblestones so that your yard area lasts 30+ years without any problems. Stamped concrete that is properly installed and sealed can last for decades before it cracks or fades.
Like any exterior material, minimal wear and tear over time due to exposure and use is unavoidable. Stamped concrete won't last forever. Eventually, it will start to crack and break like any other type of concrete. However, stamped concrete is actually very resistant to cracking, and when steps are taken to care for it, it must endure a long time before it needs to be replaced.
You won't have to worry about it breaking down too soon, as long as you have it installed the right way. While sun and wind contribute greatly to the problem, another factor leading to crusting is that the concrete may have been finished prematurely and stamping operations started too soon. If the surface “closes” too soon, the top of the slab appears to harden, while the concrete below remains spongy. Closing the surface too soon creates a crust on the surface that deceives the finisher into thinking that the concrete is hard enough to stamp.
When it starts, the deeper joints molded into the seals push toward the crust, cracking the concrete on both sides of the printed joint. It's like trying to stick a blunt knife into the dough of a dry cake. Doesn't cut the bark as much as it breaks it close to the leaf. The same goes for joints stamped in concrete.
This problem has nothing to do with the sealant. Those cracks you see are shrinkage cracks. Occurs when the concrete surface shrinks rapidly during the initial curing phase. When the concrete surface dries, or cures, too quickly, the surface shrinks (shrinks) and you end up with these small fine cracks.
For more information, read Why Does It Crack. As you've noticed, no cracks are visible unless the surface is wet. While this is good news, this is not the only factor you should consider when it comes to the longevity of stamped concrete. In fact, I have seen decorative concrete and concrete coatings that have severe efflorescence but are light in color, so the efflorescence is barely noticeable.
Concrete Decor is a valuable source of information, ideas, product news and training relevant to commercial and residential work in decorative concrete and related specialties. Stamped concrete is a quick and easy way to create beautiful, multidimensional walkways and patios that look like their more expensive counterparts, such as bricks, stones, or cobblestones. If done the day after stamping, when the concrete is still “green”, the cracks close very well and become invisible. First of all, your labor demands are much lower than you just need to pour concrete and apply a predetermined pattern.
Intermountain Concrete Specialties has all the products, experience and equipment you need to tackle any DIY concrete company. Foundations are usually areas of thickened concrete, usually dug 30+ into the ground below what is called the frost line. This foundation system is expensive and typically has no value for a basic entrance, patio, or small project. If you want to know what 12-year-old stamped concrete looks like, go see the Nebraska Furniture Mart front door area.
However, concrete does crack and it is difficult to replace cracked parts without replacing everything. During one of my decorative concrete troubleshooting seminars at World of Concrete in Las Vegas, an audience member shared the following trick for removing removable dust without making a mess. I don't care if it's stamped concrete or not, since maybe I don't know all the new techniques to achieve this look. Steel bars or steel wire can be placed within the project to give your concrete the next level of support and reduce the risk of cracks separating to a large extent over time.
Reapply the non-stick powder and blankets as needed until the concrete has cured or the temperature warms up. . .