Are you planning to set up a patio, pool deck, driveway or a walkway? There are typically two major options for material – concrete and pavers. Making a choice on the kind of material to use on this type of project has never been easy. In this handy guide, let us take you through the difference between concrete and pavers, their cost, pros, and cons.
Concrete is a building material made from a mixture of water, cement and sand or broken stone. Concrete can be poured on an area to dry up and form a slab which is usually about three to four inches thick. Using plain concrete is less expensive and easy way of installing a patio or driveway.
Concrete can be finished with a special texture or pattern to resemble brick, flagstone or wood. This ornamental type of concrete is known as stamped concrete. Although the decorative effect comes at a higher budget, it adds style and elegance to a project.
- Concrete is readily available and affordable
- Strong and durable building material
- Easy to install and maintain
- Concrete has limited design options
- Can split and crack in elements
- can get affected by surrounding temperature
- Can become too slippery when wet
- Easily stain and mold over time
Pavers are individual shaped pieces of stone, clay, concrete or any other masonry material that can be fitted together to form a solid surface. Pavers can have a custom look, in terms of colors and shapes to make a project exquisite. Brick and stone pavers are popular for construction of patios, driveways or paths.
- Pavers comes in unlimited designs, shapes and colors
- Requires little maintenance to look good and last long
- It is easier to repair and replace pavers when they crack or sink
- Pavers adds style and elegance to outdoor landscapes
- They don’t crack easily due to weight or change in temperature
- Pavers have a higher return on investment value as compared to concrete
- They are recyclable, you are safely remove them, clean and install them back
- Very expensive as compared to other options
- May loosen if the ground beneath shifts
- Can lose their luster in elements
- Takes a lot of time and manpower to install
- Gets affected by weeds
Concrete vs Pavers – Differences
Here is a comparison between concrete and pavers when it comes to cost, maintenance, installation, appearance, durability, safety and return on investment value.
The cost of paving stones or bricks is quite higher as compared to concrete. On average concrete costs approximately $8-$12 per square foot for materials and labor, while paving stones will range between $10 -$16 per square foot.
As much as concrete appears less expensive in purchase and installation, the cost for repair and replacement is higher as compared to pavers where an individual stone takes less requirements to replace. To repair a concrete or surface underneath, the whole slab has to removed and a new one be laid.
Cleaning a concrete surface is easy as compared to pavers. Although with time, concrete stains or cracks and it will need to be replaced. Application of concrete sealer can help in containing stains but it should be reapplied on a regular basis to continue offering protection.
Pavers too require regular cleaning to retain their color and durability. Removal of weeds between pavers and replacement of sand in the joints after cleaning pavers is an involving process. Further, you may also want to seal your pavers to prevent stains, mold and fading.
Concrete once prepared is poured on the surface and within few hours you have a ready patio or driveway. Installation of stamped concrete is quite involving due to pressing of decorations and customizing of texture but still not labor intensive as pavers.
The process of laying pavers on dirt is much involving and it requires proper planning. Excavation and base compaction is done and sand will also be applied to keep the laid pavers intact. Additionally, you may also seal the pavers to keep them looking their best all time. Typically installation concrete is easier than pavers.
Pavers will make the entrance to your home and patios visually appealing than concrete slab. Pavers comes in varieties of colors, texture and shape which creates a special design in a project. While plain concrete is not visually appealing, stamped concrete provides for plentiful aesthetic features that will make the area around your garden very much impressive.
Staining or painting is one way of spicing up the dull concrete to look adorable but the paint might fade or peel off with time. A regular update will be required to maintain it. That means, after every couple of years you will have to reapply the stain or paint.
Concrete is bound to crack, split or fade with time. Unsealed concrete does not hold up well in elements and a slight shift in ground beneath or change in temperature causes visible damages. Concrete is also not strong with heavy weights. A heavy machinery or vehicles can make it to crack or split.
Pavers do not easily crack in elements or under heavy weight. They may simply shift or sink and a fix can be done easily. Pavers are therefore more durable than concrete and a great option in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations.
A concrete surface becomes slippery when wet or after a paint or seal treatment. Walking or driving on such surface can become catastrophic. You may break your limb or cause a serious accident.
Pavers do not get slippery when wet. You can comfortably walk on pavers even after a down pour. Note that, concrete pavers will still become slippery unless they have raised edges which can help in improving the grip.
Pavers increase both resale and aesthetic value of a property as compared to concrete. As a potential home buyer, go for brick or stone pavers over concrete. If you are in real estate business, using pavers on the outdoor spaces will easily attract potential home buyers.
|Cost||$8-$12 per square foot||$10 -$16 per square foot|
|Installation||Easy||Complex and labor intensive|
|Maintenance||Expensive with time||Cheap with time|
|Appearance||Simple and ordinary||More attractive and customizable|
|Durability||Can last more than 30 years||Can last more than 50 years or a lifetime|
|Safety||Slippery when wet||Good slip resistance|
|Value||Lower return on investment||Higher return on investment|
Both concrete and pavers require good care to remain looking good and last for many years. This include proper cleaning, sealing and fixing cracks in concrete or replacing damaged pavers. When it comes to choosing between concrete vs pavers, it is evident that pavers are the best deal for your driveways, patios or pool deck project as compared to concrete.
In case you are still deciding whether to build a patio or deck, you can check out our guide between the two.