Stamped concrete vs. concrete overlay?

Hi and Happy Holidays!
My husband and I are considering getting some work done to spruice up the hard surfaces around our house in Santa Clarita, CA. We like the look and options of stamped concrete. One of the contractors offered concrete overlay that's about 1/4" thick, rather than removing the existing concrete and repouring, and then applying the stamped concrete design. We were wondering if that is a good idea because we are concerned about the durability of the thin overlay. This project would involve our driveway, walk way to the front door with some steps, the side of the house as well as part of the back yard. Assuming that it's properly applied, is the overlay going to last as long as fresh poured stamped concrete? Is it going to save us money? I would imagine there would be some big cost savings going with the overlay, like not having to rip out the existing concrete, haul it away and repour it all. And is it going to save us money in the long run? Or will it look nice for a few years and then start cracking and pealing and will we end up just redoing the whole work from scratch?
Another question: the contractor that has shown us a portfolio of some of his work that we like the best has no license, but he seems to have the magic in his hands because the work looks beautiful and he sounds like he really knows what he's talking about. Is it foolish to hire someone without a license just because you have a good feeling about him and his work? He's also a neighbor, and he just bought his house in our neighborhood, so he probably won't go far for a while if we have problems. We are thinking about hiring him for a short job to do something else (replace a broken jacuzzi gas line under concrete and replace a cracked driveway section), so we can always evaluate him based on that job before we decide to go with him for the big job.
We would appreciate some advice from home owners who have done the overlay, especially a while ago (any problems?) and from the pros.
Thank you very much!
Lila
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
IMO-----NO!!!!! to any 1/4" overlay........much less a driveway. My 3" stamped walkway has fractured in the joints because I ran over it with the tractor, cars and trucks. Not that I really care but.....point is............
NO!!!!! has no license...does liability or warranty ring a bell? Perhaps a 'visit' to his previous jobs may be in order should you choose that option. Friends are friends but business is business!
my 2 cents worth...............
Dan

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sounds like a dreadfully bad idea. Pay the extra money and go with a full thickness pour...and I would suggest using someone other than this guy.
Concrete cracks. fact of life. once you get a void under this and it fills with water, it will start working itself loose.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Lila wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If the surface prep is done well, the overlay should last and hold up quite well. If you were in a hard freeze/thaw area requiring shovel and plows, I might hesitate. There are several places you can go to get further information. Doug Bannister at theStampStore is well versed in teaching and writing about decorative concrete work at all levels: http://www.thestampstore.com /
Another good source is : http://www.concretenetwork.com/index.html ___________________________ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hello and Happy Holidays to you.
The overlay products are good for low traffic areas like patios and walkways. I couldn't recommend these products for driveways. Some home owners use these products as a short term fix.... As for contractor.....if this contractor is that good he should have a license. How many jobs has he missed by not having one? This protect you and him.
Contractor selection
1. Experience. How many years has the company been in business? 2. References. Not just letters, ask for phone numbers or visit a project or two. 3. Payment Schedule. Pay as the job progresses not all at once. 4. Make sure you and your contract understand the complete job. Less means less. 5. Licensing. Review permits, company licenses with your City where applicable. 6. Guarantees. Ask your references if the company stands by their contracts. 7. Work Changes. How does the company deal with unforeseen site changes?
Please visit my blog for more information...it is new.
http://designedlandscapes.blogspot.com /
Lila wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.