Had a customer asked the question recently whether they should consider polished concrete for a backyard patio instead of stamped concrete.
The short answer is simply no.
I suppose there are always exceptions to the rule but I would say 99% of the time stamped concrete would make for a better backyard patio.
Let's take this one step at a time, first let's explain what is the difference between polished concrete and stamped concrete.
The similarity between the two is that both are made out of regular basic concrete. Polished concrete is the process by which you transform regular basic concrete into polished concrete through a very specialized grinding and honing procedure. Similar to using sandpaper on a piece of wood, the polishing process uses specialized sanding discs that technically are not sand paper but they are made with specialized diamond segments placed onto a specialized grinding machine. That grinding process starts with more course diamond segments then step-by-step finer and finer types of diamond segments to the point where the concrete becomes very smooth and develops a brilliant shine.
Concrete that has been polished with this procedure is also often dyed with various colors. Polish concrete is relatively new in the world of decorative concrete. Polished concrete is a great alternative for certain types of flooring but is generally used for indoor space rather than outdoor. Polish concrete is becoming more and more popular for schools, offices, retail, and other indoor spaces. When wet, polish concrete can be slippery as well.
Alternatively, stamped concrete is also regular plain concrete but while it is being finished the surface is stamped with specialized molds to create a texture and pattern so that the concrete appears to be brick or stone or wood depending upon the pattern selected by the customer. This technique is generally thought of to be more appropriate for an outdoor space such as a residential backyard patio.
This has very much over simplified the process of polished concrete and stamped concrete but generally explains the difference. True, some customers may want polished concrete for exterior patio but generally given the choice stamped concrete would be selected by most customers.
Hope this has cleares up this confusion a little bit. Feel free to call or email us any time to discuss further.
Salzano Custom Concrete