The concrete slab in your backyard has served you well as a patio for many years. But time, weather, and heavy use have taken their toll. What was once a bright, clean concrete patio is now discolored, cracked, and needing replacement. Not only is your concrete patio an eyesore and takes away curb appeal, but it can also be a hazard, causing people to stub their toes or trip on the uneven surface. But there is a dilemma; with so many types of materials that can be used for your patio, it can be challenging to narrow them down. Two popular choices are concrete and pavers, and both offer upsides and downsides. Here is a breakdown of these choices and the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision while shopping for your new patio material.
Background and Details
Pavers are multi-colored pieces of concrete that have been around for hundreds of years and were used to make European pathways in villages and monastery courtyards in Spain. Many of these same courtyards and pathways remain in existence and are still used, which gives them the reputation of being extremely durable.
Concrete has been around tour over 5,000 years and has been used for many notable projects ranging from architecture to infrastructure and more. Stamped concrete is a relatively new procedure in which poured concrete is embossed or textured to resemble other materials, including brick, stone, or even wood.
No matter which material you choose for your patio, you will want something that will stand the test of time. Nothing is more frustrating than having to replace your patio due to problems that occur through weather, wear and tear, and foot traffic.
Concrete is a durable material, and it has stood the test of time for thousands of years. However, concrete will crack in cold weather. Other elements, such as moisture, will cause concrete to expand and contract, which will also lead to cracks. Now, it is possible to repair concrete when cracking occurs, but it is primarily a band-aid approach. Your best bet when dealing with cracked concrete is to pour a fresh slab.
Pavers are far denser than concrete, which means that concrete is more likely to absorb water and crack. In fact, with an absorption rate of less than 5 percent, it is highly unlikely that they will absorb enough water to crack. As the seasons change, hot and cold spells will cause pavers to contract and expand. But because there is a little space between them, there is room for expansion without the fear of cracking. That said, if you were to drop something heavy on a single paver, it would cause damage. Over time, a paver might crack due to high foot traffic, so they won’t last forever.
Beauty and Style
Concrete alone isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing material, and it serves a better utilitarian purpose. Stamped concrete, however, can be stunning and electrifying indeed. While unstamped concrete looks less like a living space, stamped concrete can be made to look like almost anything you desire, and it can even come in a variety of colors. When considering design and color, there is no limit to what your concrete patio can look like.
Paving stones offer so many styles and shapes, and colors that your design options are almost endless. Pavers can also be installed in a variety of patterns, making your patios a one-of-a-kind project.
Typically, when concrete is damaged, you have to chip away any pieces that are broken and patch the area. Of course, the area you repair will never completely match the original slab, so it will never look the same.
When a paver is damaged, there are a few things you can do. If the top of the paver sustains damage, you can dig it up and flip it over, which is easy enough. But your best bet is to just buy new pavers to replace ones that break or suffer other damage. You will run into similar matching problems with pavers as you will with cement. New pavers will look different than the weathered ones, and they will definitely stand out.
A concrete slab will be less expensive than pavers, but if you opt for color staining or stamped concrete, then the price becomes comparable to pavers. The one factor you have to consider is the cost of repairs, making pavers less expensive in the long run.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that concrete and pavers are both excellent choices when you are in the market for a patio. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is up to you to decide which looks better for your project. Both concrete and pavers have their share of advantages and disadvantages. And even if stamped concrete and pavers are similar in cost, this will certainly vary from project to project. If you have questions, we are more than happy to give you honest and unbiased answers as our concern is to ensure you are getting what you really want. Feel free to call us or fill out our estimate form.