Stamped Concrete vs. Flagstone Compared – Which Is Cheaper?

Surfacing a garden or patio is a huge choice to make. After all, there will likely be quite a bit of money involved, and it’s the kind of decision that will last for years, if not decades.

Stamped concrete is generally less expensive to buy than flagstone. Stamped concrete is approximately $15 per square foot, and flagstone is about $30 for the same size.

Both have their benefits and disadvantages — so, without any further ado, let’s start thinking about which is cheaper and better and how we might get them installed nicely in the backyard!

An image of Bird's eye view of garden and patio with Tennessee Flagstone.

Is Stamped Concrete Cheaper Than Flagstone?

Stamped concrete is almost always cheaper than flagstone. Stamped concrete costs will come in at around $15 per square foot, whereas flagstone costs are likely closer to $30 for the same size.

We’ll divide these costs into material price and installation cost.

Two popular choices when it comes to landscaping are flagstone and concrete. Flagstones are large natural stones made into a surface, whereas concrete is a poured surface that can be stamped and colored to suit our tastes.

Material price

Concrete is easy to come by, whereas flagstone needs to be quarried. Depending on the desired stone type, the price may vary, especially if it needs to be brought in from farther away.  

Flagstones are also obviously heavy, which makes driving them around an extra consideration.

Installation cost

As with any project, you can choose to make it a DIY project or hire an experienced contractor to do it for you. Costs for this will depend on the contractor, their experience, and how much work you help with.

  • Flagstone can be tricky to work with, depending on how close the pieces will be. You may need an experienced fitter to put together all the pieces of solid stone without leaving a mess.
  • Concrete, however, can be done in one of two ways.
    • First, it can be poured and then decorated with a chosen stamp.
    • Stamped concrete can also be purchased pre-made. Then, it’s more like placing standard-sized bricks or rocks.

That said, there’s also some skill involved in pouring concrete. Placing joints in the concrete allows it to move a little with fluctuations and temperature changes that would otherwise cause the concrete to crack. We’ll discuss this in a bit more detail below.

There are also a few factors beyond the up-front price tag to consider when comparing the value of stamped concrete and flagstone, such as durability, maintenance, and resale value. We’ll look a bit more into these below.

In my experience, placing decorative flagstones are pretty easy. I don’t mind taking on that kind of project. However, if the project requires more structural integrity (think retaining wall or patio), I’d rather work with stamped concrete than flagstone.

Is Flagstone Better Than Stamped Concrete?

Flagstone is considered a more premium patio surface due to its durability and natural look. However, stamped concrete can be a surprisingly good imitation, with more stamping and coloring possibilities.

It’s difficult to determine whether one is “better” because there are a few factors to consider. Let’s take a look at these below:


As we’ve already pointed out, concrete is always going to be a cheaper option than flagstone. Both the material and installation costs of concrete, even when stamped and colored, are lower than that of flagstone, at around half the price.

As a side note, pavers are an option at a lower price between the two. The manufactured stone is more easily shaped than natural flagstone and can easily fit into uniform designs.

Bear in mind that flagstone will add more value to the property and has some resale value — after all, if we remove it, you will at least get the value of the materials back.

Concrete, by contrast, is a less durable option that may not last (more about that in a moment) and, therefore, might not increase the value.


Flagstone undeniably offers a more natural, expensive aesthetic; however, depending on our tastes, this may not be what we’re looking for.

It’s worth mentioning that flagstone comes in many different types with varied aesthetics. These include natural installations such as slate or bluestone and more manufactured stones such as thermal flagstone (heat treated to remove irregularities in its appearance).

Concrete is also a surprisingly versatile material for creating patios, as it can be molded easily and then stamped and colored with the design of choice. Some concrete might even look convincingly like a stone surface once installed.

That said, over time, it will become more apparent that the surface is concrete, especially after it shows weather and cracking effects.


Flagstone is a far more durable surface than concrete.

During the winter, water makes it into tiny holes in the concrete. When this freezes, it can open up cracks in the material, ruining the appearance of the surface. These need to be sealed or replaced — but it will be evident that it isn’t a stone surface.

Flagstone, by contrast, is almost impossible to damage. Even if it does get damaged, we can easily replace it, as the damaged area will only be a stone or two rather than one molded area, as with concrete.  

If we need to install anything under the surface of the patio or garden, flagstone is a far easier material to work with. An artisan can remove the stone they need to work underneath and replace it afterward.

With concrete, the whole surface would need to be removed with a jackhammer and replaced after.

Bear in mind that flagstone costs around double the price of concrete. That sounds like a lot more, but if we need to get some work done on pipes or cables under the surface after installing concrete, we could have just had the more premium flagstone in the first place.


Slipperiness is crucial for people living somewhere rainy (or even icy in the winter). Flagstone loses out in this respect, as smooth stone can become slippery underfoot, whereas stamped concrete can give a good surface that isn’t slick.

Wet leaves in the fall will only make this worse. If young kids or elderly relatives are likely to visit, it’s important to consider how to avoid the risk of anyone getting hurt.

If this is likely to be an essential consideration, it might be a good idea to go to a local garden store. Here, it should be possible to try walking on several different surfaces to see what you like.

As any garden installation will tend to be permanent, it’s worth trying before you buy.

An image of Flagstone walk pathway through an Urban Garden.

Is Flagstone Better Than Poured Concrete?

Poured concrete is about the cheapest surface people can buy for the backyard. Flagstone is a better surface than poured concrete, except for the price — where poured concrete fares far better.

We generally recommend stamped concrete above poured concrete. After all, the additional expense is not much more than poured concrete, but it’ll look much better. The backyard or patio is likely to be somewhere you spend a lot of time, and the extra money will be well worth it.

However, if your budget allows for flagstone, that will be the best look by far.

Can Stamped Concrete Look Like Flagstone?

Concrete surfaces can be a relatively good imitation of flagstone once stamped and colored. However, as it inevitably gets cracked over time, it will become more evident that it is a concrete surface.

Like flagstone, stamped concrete offers a lot of design possibilities (especially with staining and coloring). The only consideration to remember is that, with wear and tear, it will become increasingly apparent that it is concrete rather than stone.

If you’re looking for a flagstone-like design without the high price point, and it doesn’t need to last for thirty years, stamped concrete could be a great option at a lower cost.

An image of Flagstone stacked on pallets.

What’s The Best Place to Buy Flagstone?

Buying flagstones depends on whether someone plans a DIY approach or works with a contractor to install them. Home improvement stores sell flagstones for a great price year-round. Flagstones can also be bought from various marketplaces, and individuals removing them from their yards.

We recommend a contractor to do the work unless the homeowner has experience with this or a lot of extra time and is willing to learn.

The contractor should quote you directly for the cost of the flagstone, which will be based on the type of stone design you choose as well as the availability of it at that particular time.

If you are willing to learn, you may also be able to find people who are selling their flagstones. The only downside to that option is that you may have to dig them up yourself – and then transport them home before installing them. However, it’s a great option when the budget is limited!

If you’d rather skip the DIY flagstone removal for the best possible price, I recommend you check prices at home improvement stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco.

I know that Costco isn’t usually the first store name you think of for home improvement. However, our local Costco sells flagstones once or twice a year for the best prices I’ve ever seen.

For a thorough rundown of all the costs associated with flagstone, we can check out a handy guide on the Angi website here.

After all, installing flagstone is a job that will likely only happen once on our property if done right, so the contractor’s cost will be well worth it!

Connecting with a contractor should be pretty simple, though, of course, coverage depends based on the location. If we’re in the US, (formerly Angie’s list) is a reliable source that can connect us with local contractors.

From there, we can compare quotes and choose a well-reviewed contractor who is likely to do the job well.

What’s The Best Place to Buy Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete may be purchased at retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon, and other similar stores. Buying in-person will usually get the best prices, though there may be a delivery charge if large orders require delivery.

Similar to installing flagstones, it’s advisable to use a contractor to install stamped concrete if you don’t want to take on this DIY project. The project’s exact scope will depend on whether you’re buying pre-made stamped concrete or pouring and stamping it yourself.

If you’re pouring and stamping the concrete yourself, know that there is quite a lot to be done in this process, from pouring the concrete to stamping and coloring it.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, to minimize cracking, an experienced fitter of stamped concrete will insert joints that allow it to expand and contract based on weather conditions.

It takes experience to know how many of these to put and where, minimizing the visual impact while keeping efficient, so we recommend that a contractor do it for you!

Like with the flagstones, is an excellent place to contact contractors. And don’t forget that neighbors or friends who’ve done similar projects in their backyards can also be fantastic resources to find someone experienced who can give you a decent quote!

However, if you’re buying pre-made stamped concrete, then it’s a lot more like laying brick or stone. It’s a whole lot easier. In this particular scenario, Home Depot and Lowe’s have had the best prices I’ve seen. They both have a great selection of choices, too.

Is A Flagstone Patio Cheaper Than Stamped Concrete?

A flagstone patio is unlikely to be cheaper than stamped concrete in the short term, as the installation costs are almost double. However, in the long term, due to the increased durability of flagstone over concrete, it may work out to be a better value.

That’s only if we’re thinking in terms of decades rather than years, though. In most cases, a stamped concrete patio will be cheaper than a flagstone one.

If you like the aesthetic of flagstone but are also looking to save some costs, it might be a good solution to mix the two types of surfaces. This can be a great way to have the best of both worlds with careful design.

An image of Paving Stones Road Texture in the Czech Republic.

Is A Flagstone Patio Cheaper Than A Poured Concrete One?

A poured concrete patio will always be cheaper than flagstone concrete. However, flagstone offers a more premium finish, better durability, and easier maintenance, which may save money over the longer term.

It’s absolutely up to us how we finish your patio. While flagstone offers a more premium finish, poured concrete might be the better option if the price is a deal-breaker.

As said above, mixing surfaces can be a great way to get the patio we’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank.

However you choose to develop your surfaces, good luck, and we hope it becomes the garden you’ve always dreamed of.

Next Steps

Now that you know more about flagstone, stamped concrete poured concrete, and everything in between, hopefully, you’re ready to decide which option you want!

Next, make sure you’ve got the right thickness of stone or paver for the project. Yes, the thickness matters! Give our article on paver thickness a read next: Thin Pavers vs Thick Compared – Which Are Better?


Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These sources were used in this article and our research to be more informed as we DIY and decorate our homestead.

  • Dresser, Mary Rla Alsa. Stamped Concrete Vs. Pavers Vs. Natural Stone: What’s Best for My Lancaster, PA Backyard?’s-best-for-my-lancaster-pa-backyard. Accessed 13 Sept. 2022.
  • “Flagstone Vs. Pavers .” Epic Stone Works, 2022,
  • Hutchinson, Sarah. “Stamped Concrete Mimics Flagstone.” Landscaping Network, 26 Oct. 2016,
  • “Where to Buy Natural Flagstone Pavers?” Stone Universe Inc, 2022,
  • Willis, Katy. “What Are Common Flagstone Prices?” Angi, 19 July 2022,

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