In case you are wondering what inspires some homeowners or property owners to choose pavers vs concrete and vice versa when hardscaping, you are in the right place. Below is an ultimate guide highlighting the pros, cons, and differences when using pavers or concrete on driveways, pathways, patios, outdoor living area, etc.

The Options

Property owners have two main options namely; paving stones or concrete slabs. Each option comes with unique benefits and disadvantages depending on factors such as; your needs.

Concrete slabs come highly recommended for outdoor residential applications for homeowners looking for a cheaper option that is easy to install. Stamped concrete slabs are good for homeowners who want a variety of textures and designs but don’t mind the extra workload and small additional cost.

Pavers which are; individual sections of natural stones or bricks interlocking together are ideal for home or property owners who don’t mind spending more. Pavers also take more time to install than concrete slabs. However, they are more durable and aesthetically pleasing. Below is a more in-depth comparison between pavers and concrete based on; cost, installation, maintenance, durability, aesthetic appeal, safety as well as value for money.

Pavers vs concrete

1. Cost

According to GoPavers.com, a 2015 Hardscape North America (HNA) Awards winner, it costs approximately 20% more to install paving stones instead of standard concrete slabs. However, the cost of stamped concrete slabs is the same as that of paving stones or varies slightly. Although concrete slabs are more affordable than paving stones upfront, they cost more in the long-term when you consider the cost of repairs and replacement.

Cost of paver patio vs concrete patio: If you are solely interested upfront savings, you can go for a concrete patio. However, you should be aware of future costs in repairs and replacement which will outweigh the initial cost savings. It’s harder/more costly to remove, repair or replace a concrete slab.

2. Installation

As mentioned above, concrete slabs are easier to install compared to installing paving stones. However, the slabs need more time to dry/cure meaning you won’t be able to use your driveway, pathway or patio for a while. A typical concrete slab installation process requires; excavating, grading, foundation preparation, form setting and lastly, pouring concrete.

Paving stones need much more preparation with additional processes like; sub-base compaction, installation of geotextile fiber, base preparation/compaction, sand preparation, cutting borders, compacting stones and sealing the pavers. However, paving stones don’t need curing time. They are ready for use immediately. They can also be readjusted easily in case there is a mistake in the grading process.

Installing concrete slabs may be faster and easier; however, the process must be done perfectly otherwise errors are costly to fix once the concrete is poured. Improper concrete grading causes low spots which tend to retain water causing staining and discoloration over time. Improper foundations cause unevenness resulting in cracks.

3. Repair/maintenance

Typical concrete slabs are easier to maintain than paving stones although they are prone to cracks and stains over time. Stamped concrete slabs are a better option in regards to maintenance when compared to their standard counterparts because they do a better job at hiding cracks and stains. Furthermore, there are some steps you can take to make it easier to maintain your concrete slabs. For instance, you can coat them using a protective sealant to prevent staining and reduce the visibility of cracks.

As long as paving stones are installed properly, they will require little to no maintenance. The joints, however, require some attention periodically although you can still use a sealer. Paving stones are also more prone to shifting and cracking although they are designed to flex according to ground movements. Nevertheless, any cracked or damaged paving stone can be lifted and replaced with ease when compared to the repair/reinstallation process of concrete slabs.

4. Durability

Paving stones are more durable than concrete slabs. They are rated four times stronger/more durable than standard concrete slabs (8000 psi vs 2000 psi compression strength) according to typical manufacturing standards. Most paving stone manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee against cracking and breaking. It’s accurate to say; paving stones should last a lifetime on your driveway, pathway, patio or anywhere else you choose to install them. If they break/crack, for any reason, you are covered.

Concrete slabs are less durable than paving stones because they are affected immensely by ground movements. They split/crack easily when the ground beneath them shifts. Concrete slab surfaces may remain intact for a while; however, they are bound to crack when the soil underneath becomes unstable. Their durability is also subject to other many factors such as temperature changes. Rapid expansion and contraction due to temperature changes causes concrete to crack easily.

Important: Proper installation increases the durability of both concrete slabs and paving stones. This is why you MUST focus on working with the best landscaping company you can find.

5. Aesthetics

Pavers outshine concrete slabs in regards to aesthetics because they are available in more colors, textures, and shapes. Concrete slabs are available in few variations the most notable being stamped concrete. However, concrete slabs can be scored, stained or embedded with unique/decorative stones. This, however, adds to the workload (if you chose to do this yourself) and cost (if you hire someone).

The pavers vs concrete decision based on aesthetics should be determined after considering your personal preferences and budget. If cost is a big issue as aesthetics, it is advisable to get a quote since stamped concrete and paving stones cost almost the same.

6. Safety

In regards to the safety of driveway pavers vs concrete slabs, pavers tend to offer better traction when wet. Concrete slabs are extremely slippery when wet posing serious safety risks, especially for slanting driveways. Slipping can also result in ugly tire marks on driveways. Pavers offer better traction than concrete. They are available in non-slip/non-skid and aren’t affected by tire marks.

7. Value for money

Paving stones last a lifetime. They also add more resale value to homes than concrete slabs. Homes and property with pavers tend to be valued higher than those with concrete slabs. Furthermore, you get more aesthetic appeal. Although they cost more to install, pavers offer more value for money in the long-term.

In a nutshell, both pavers and concrete have unique pros and cons as well as differences which may be good/bad during hardscaping depending on factors such as budget, personal preferences, unique needs, etc. Luckily, the guide above has made it easy for you to choose between pavers and concrete based on any factor. It is recommendable to consult with us to assist you if you are still unable to make a decision. Contact us today to schedule a landscape consultation.

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