The goal of stamped concrete is to imitate other materials such as stone, brick, tile, wood etc. It can easily be mistaken for the real thing, but it is much more economical.
While concrete is still in its plastic state (wet), large rubber mats or stamps are pressed into the surface. When the stamps are pulled up, a texture and/or pattern is left. Color is usually added to the surface prior to stamping or it can be added to the concrete mix itself. A release powder is broadcast across the surface to keep the stamps from sticking to the concrete. The release often helps to further enhance the appearance by adding an antique effect.
The end result can be a simple textured slab that looks like one big piece of stone or slate. It can also be very ornate by combining different patterns and colors or creating borders, bands, and accent designs. This type of finish is fitting for many surfaces including patios, porches, driveways, sidewalks, pool decks, etc. It can also be used for vertical applications to create the look of stone or brick walls.