Stamped vs. Brushed/Broomed Concrete for Swimming Pools: Which is Better?
One of the biggest debates that pool shoppers have during the process of building their swimming pool is which type of concrete to use for their patio.
There are many, many types of patios that can go around a swimming pool: brushed concrete, stamped concrete, pavers, stone, brick, overlays, etc.
This article will solely focus on helping you to understand the pros and cons to brushed (aka broomed) vs. stamped. By so doing, you will be able to make the best choice for you and your family.
Should I get brushed concrete or stamped concrete for my pool patio?
Broomed/brushed concrete requires little maintenance and isn't slippery. Stamped concrete has to be resealed every 2–3 years and can be slippery if it doesn't have an anti-slip additive in the sealant. Stamped concrete can match any aesthetic and is typically much prettier, but brushed concrete costs 40–70% less than stamped concrete.
Brushed Concrete vs. Stamped Concrete Maintenance
Broomed concrete is definitely less maintenance than stamped. The main reason for this is because stamped concrete must be sealed every 2–3 years.
The process of sealing it is relatively simple and done with a roller, but the sealer is a little bit expensive, likely costing the homeowner a few hundred dollars each time.
But keep in mind, the sealer is critical to the stamped concrete because otherwise its appearance will be dull, causing it to not nearly have the same aesthetic impact it should normally have.
Brushed Concrete vs. Stamped Concrete Aesthetics
Without question, stamped concrete, especially when done the right way, is absolutely beautiful. With so many colors and patterns now available, stamped concrete can almost match any appearance the homeowner is looking for and completely alter the look and feel of a backyard.
Brushed concrete, for all of its functional benefits, simply doesn't stand up aesthetically to stamped concrete. This does not mean that it's ugly; it just isn't quite as pleasing to the eye as is stamped.
Personally, when it comes down to it, I feel both options can look very nice when designed with some character and surrounded by nice landscaping.
Brushed Concrete vs. Stamped Concrete Cost
Of all the types of patios that one can put around a swimming pool, regular brushed concrete is certainly the most inexpensive.
In most cases, it costs 40–70% less than stamped concrete. (This typically equates to a $2k–$6k difference on most pools.)
Also, because there is no serious maintenance required down the road (like sealing), the residual expenses are very low as well.
Brushed Concrete vs. Stamped Concrete Safety
Because regular concrete does not require any type of sealer, its rougher surface lends itself nicely to wet bare feet.
I have heard of customers fearful that brushed/broomed concrete will be too rough, but such is rarely ever the case. In fact, I've never once heard a pool owner complain of this once they've owned their swimming pool.
On the other hand, stamped concrete is well known for its slippery nature. Because the product is sealed, no question it can have this issue.
This is why it is a must that pool installers and homeowners add some type of substance to counteract the slippery nature of the sealer.
For example, when our company seals a patio, we add a polymeric substance called Sharkgrip that adds a fine texture to the sealer and lessens the potential of any slipping hazards.
Which should I choose?
This is a good question, and frankly, I can't answer it for you. I've known many customers that have loved both products. My suggestion is that you look at the list above and base your decision on that.
If aesthetics are your #1 concern and goal, then you likely should consider stamped. If you're looking to have the absolute least amount of maintenance possible, then broomed might be your answer.
Either way, I do understand that it can be a tough call at times and wish you the best of luck with your decision.
Questions involving concrete? If you already own a pool, what are your thoughts on this debate? As always, we appreciate your comments and promise to answer any questions that are left in the comments section below.
Editor's note: This blog article was originally published in April 2010 and has been updated and revamped for accuracy and appearance.