Project Planning & Tips

The Benefits of Pavers vs. Stamped Concrete

So you’ve decided to create an outdoor living space! After deciding the size of your new patio, you’ll need to select the type of material to use. The good news is, you’re not limited to the poured concrete patios of yesteryear that stain and crack after just a few short years because one rough season can destroy it.

Although concrete was popular for many years because of its cost, decorative pavers have bridged the gap between pouring a concrete slab (on the low end) or installing natural stone (on the high end). While poured concrete can be the cheapest patio option, it really offers very little to beautify an outdoor living space, and return on investment is low. So much so, that there are literally hundreds of sites on how to stain, paint, stamp and cover up a concrete patio.

Stamped Concrete

In recent years, stamped concrete has wiggled in and become an option. At first glance, stamped concrete seems like a decorative low-cost answer. A concrete base is poured to size and then before it cures, large stamps that resemble natural stone are placed over on top of the concrete and tampered down to create patterns into the wet concrete. What homeowners need to realize is that poured concrete, stamped or not, inherently cracks. We’ve all seen the different colored concrete repairs and patches on driveways. It happens over time due to weather, water, ground shifting, tree roots and usage. While it’s a nuisance to repair and correct in a driveway, imagine how frustrating, costly, and near impossible it would be to repair a colored and stamped patio.  Even small cracks are unsightly and spoil the illusion.

Paving Stone

Pavers (or paving stones) are installed individually leaving a narrow gap that is filled in with special paving sand. This method puts no stress on the pavers and allows them to shift without cracking in cases of ground movement or in freeze-thaw conditions. An additional feature is that they have higher psi (pounds per square inch) strength than concrete and asphalt. Should damage to a paver ever occur, replacing them is relatively easy since they can be replaced individually and can be ordered by their color, shape and size.



The World is not Flat

Since pavers come in a variety of colors, textures, shapes and sizes, homeowners can custom design a patio that accommodates an uneven terrain. Look for a single-source paving manufacturer that also produces steps, walls, and outdoor kitchens. These manufacturers specifically design textures and colors that complement their patio pavers.  This will allow you to create not only a patio, but a true outdoor living space; and by doing so, you’ll add valuable livable square footage (and value) to your home.

Other Points to Consider:

  • Reputable paver manufacturers guarantee that their pavers won’t crack or spall; you cannot obtain a similar guarantee for stamped concrete.
  • Stamped concrete requires expansion joints every 10 feet or so, which are very distracting in some patterns.
  • Patterned concrete pavements don’t allow access to underground utilities or the ability to make repairs. So why spend all of your time and money on poured concrete repairs? At virtually the same price per square foot installed, pavers are clearly a superior choice.

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