If you’re looking to transform your outdoor space into a stylish and functional oasis without breaking the bank, consider concrete patios. They offer a range of possibilities, from budget-friendly selections to more premium options. Here are some of the pros and cons, costs, and creative ideas to help you decide.
Concrete Patio Considerations
Concrete or cement patios are popular home improvement projects because they’re:
- Economical. Concrete can be a low-cost alternative to popular patio materials like brick or stone.
- Low maintenance. Concrete requires less upkeep than other materials, which helps save money and time.
A well-designed concrete patio adds beauty and value to your home. The 2023 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features by the National Association of REALTORS® found these estimated results for a new 18-foot-by-16-foot patio made of concrete pavers:
- Paving materials for a concrete patio cost $7 to $10 per square foot.
- Eighty-five percent of homeowners who installed a concrete paver patio reported they wanted to be home more since completing the project.
- The estimated cost recovery for a new patio is 95%.
The average cost of a concrete patio is around $3,960. Most homeowners can expect to pay between $490 and $9,600. This range accounts for factors like the difficulty of the project, quality of materials, and local market. You'll also need to consider if you need to remove old concrete, level the land, or reinforce the slab, as these factors will impact the cost of the project. Remember that the size of the patio, the color, and the finish also play a role in determining the cost. In general, the more complex your patio project is, the pricier it will be.
Maintaining Concrete Patios
Concrete requires proper laying, sealing, and care to protect it from the elements. Cycles of freezing and thawing temperatures, water saturation, and a poor air void system can cause the water in concrete to freeze and expand up to 9% as it freezes. The freezing leads the concrete to expand, and with the added pressure, the cement cracks. During thawing, more water enters the cracks, perpetuating the cycle.
Over time, nearby tree roots and settling can also lead to cracks forming in the concrete. Cracks aren't just concrete patio blemishes; they can become safety hazards as the broken concrete shifts. It’s essential to regularly inspect your concrete patio for signs of damage and practice ice prevention before de-icing.
A qualified contractor can repair cracks and resurface the concrete when it begins to wear out.
11 Creative Concrete Patio Ideas
Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or prefer professional installation, there’s likely a concrete patio solution for you.
This guide covers 11 concrete patio ideas that can elevate your outdoor living experience and their costs.
#1 Stamp a Whole New Look
Concrete patios can be stamped to resemble natural materials, including wood, stone, or brick, and can be customized to match your outdoor aesthetic.
The average cost of a stamped concrete patio with a basic design is $8 to $12 per square foot. Complex designs cost $18 to $30 per square foot. Skilled DIYers can skip hiring a contractor and save 20% to 50% of the cost of a professionally installed stamped concrete patio.
Stamped concrete is easy to clean with a good scrub brush and dish soap. The concrete’s surface will stay level throughout its lifetime.
#2 Simplify with Slab
Concrete slab patios or cement patios are simple and functional. The large, flat concrete surface can give a patio a clean and minimalist look. A concrete backyard patio is durable, affordable, and easy to maintain, adding value to your home with an ROI of up to 86%.
Experienced DIYers can pour their concrete slab patio, but hiring a professional is the way to go if you’re not used to working with concrete.
Concrete slabs may be susceptible to staining, freeze and thaw cycles, and ground shifting beneath, causing them to crack and split. Concrete slabs can also become slippery when wet if painted or treated with a protective sealant. Your contractor may be able to recommend the best style of concrete patio for your home and family.
A concrete patio costs roughly $8 to $30 per square foot. This guide can help you estimate the cost of concrete slabs in your area.
#3 Lay Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers come in a wide variety of options, including regular and irregular shapes, as well as different colors and price points. You can opt for pavers that look like upscale materials but require less maintenance. Some concrete pavers mimic cobblestone and flagstone with interlocking shapes. Hiring a professional to create your concrete paver patio costs $7 to $15 per square foot; a DIY concrete paver patio costs $2 to $8 per square foot.
#4 Outline Pavers with Gravel
Combining concrete pavers with gravel creates a patio perfect for cozy gatherings under string lights. This DIY-friendly patio has many design possibilities, from laying pavers uniformly between gravel to creating whimsical creative layouts. If you’re DIYing it, consider these tips for laying pavers.
The paver and pea gravel patio combo promotes drainage but is ultimately high maintenance. Applying pavers and pea gravel over a landscape fabric or sand base can minimize weed growth. Keep in mind that foot traffic might disturb the gravel, so it will likely need regular sweeping and periodic replenishing.
Pea gravel costs $15 to $75 per cubic yard. Concrete pavers range between $2 and $8.
If you’re considering selling your home, pavers offer a higher return on investment than concrete slabs because of their beauty and versatility.
#5 Opt for a Brick-Style Concrete Patio
Get the classic look of bricks with concrete pavers that are dyed to resemble bricks. You can choose from different colors and textures to give your patio a customized look. Concrete pavers designed to resemble brick help give your patio a timeless appeal and can be a perfect complement to a traditional home with exposed exterior brick elements.
You can find large pavers stamped and dyed to resemble multiple bricks or concrete pavers that are designed to resemble individual bricks. While stamped pavers already have a pattern, individual concrete brick-shaped pavers can be laid to form a design of your choice. Both options are a cost-efficient alternative to bricks.
#6 Stain for a Fresh Look
Say goodbye to basic gray. Stained concrete has the functional benefits of concrete slabs while allowing you to transform the overall aesthetic of your patio.
Stains penetrate the concrete deeply for a fade-resistant result. You can use water-based or acid stains to enhance the existing concrete and complement the surrounding landscape.
Hiring a contractor is advisable for this project and costs $3 to $7 per square foot. With regular maintenance, waxing, and regular sealing, stained concrete patios can last up to 100 years.
#7 Resurface Your Patio
Resurfacing or overlaying concrete is an excellent method to rejuvenate your patio without the cost of replacing it. But if your concrete patio is free of cracks, pressure washing might be all it needs.
Resurfacing concrete patios can cost $3 to $15 per square foot - and could have an ROI since homebuyers tend to value clean, crack-free surfaces. A well-maintained patio can lead to an ROI of 80% at the time of sale.
#8 Texturize with Pebbles
Exposed aggregate offers an interesting texture to otherwise plain concrete by removing the surface layer of cement paste to expose aggregate within the concrete mix. Aggregate matter – like stones or pebbles – gives the space an earthy feel and helps create a slip-resistant surface. You can choose from different customizable designs and colors.
On the other hand, it needs regular cleaning, requires professional installation, and is more challenging to repair than plain concrete.
Installing exposed aggregate costs $7 to $18 per square foot.
#9 Add Patterns and Designs
Concrete is highly customizable, and adding patterns to your concrete patio will mimic other materials, like flagstone and slate, at a fraction of the cost.
Another benefit of adding patterns and designs to your concrete patio is harnessing concrete’s durability while requiring less maintenance than other materials.
#10 Polish Your Concrete
Polished concrete patios offer a sleek, modern appearance and can be customized in color, pattern, and sheen.
Polished concrete floors can last a lifetime if cared for properly with periodic resealing. A polished concrete patio costs $3 to $8 per square foot and is best suited to professional installation.
#11 Create a Pop With Paint
If you’re looking for concrete patio ideas on a budget, you can make your concrete patio pop with color. Bold colors and patterns can have a big impact. Just get creative with paint and some stamps.
Here’s a simple 5-step guide to concrete painting, but be warned, this project will take about a week to complete.
Choose the Perfect Concrete Patio for Your Home
A well-designed concrete patio enhances your outdoor space and adds value to your home. Studies show that renovating your backyard can increase your home’s value by up to 15%.
If treated properly, concrete is a safe, easy-to-clean, and anti-slip material regardless of the finishing technique. The key is to select the option that aligns with your preferences and needs. Regular maintenance helps keep your patio beautiful and functional over the years.