Maybe you’ve recently looked out onto your backyard at an old paver or concrete patio, or no patio at all. You know you want a nice outdoor space to entertain family and friends and have a backyard oasis, but maybe are unsure of whether pavers or stamped concrete is the way to go. If you have an existing outdoor space is made of pavers that have weeds peeking through the cracks, you might be asking yourself if a new stamped concrete patio would be your best choice. Can't decide? This article will shed some light on the pros and cons of both.
When replacing or creating a pool deck, patio, or walkway, and need some help deciding whether or not to use pavers or concrete, there are several factors need to be taken into consideration in order for you to make the best decision for your situation. Besides the patio size and design, the type of material you use is just as important. If you’re ready to take the next step to start planning for a stunning outdoor space, we've provided you with comparisons so that you can make a concrete decision (sorry for the pun) before investing in this type of property improvement. Will you choose stamped concrete or pavers?
Concrete pavers come in a wide variety colors, shapes, and sizes. Some concrete pavers can be made to look like some natural stones. You can also use pavers if you’re looking for a manufactured, modern, clean look. The multitude of smooth-edged and interlocking paver styles, and the endless patterns that you can create will give you tons of design options to meet any taste.
If you want a more natural look for your walkway, patio, or outdoor living space, stamped concrete is great choice because it can replicate a variety of natural materials, by using an endless number of colors, patterns, and textures for a significantly lower cost than using the real thing. Some of the natural materials that stamped concrete can be made to resemble are natural stone and rock, bluestone, wooden planks, slate, hand-laid bricks, and many more.
Stamped concrete is also more customizable than pavers since images of foliage, monograms, and graphic stamp designs can be incorporated into to your concrete for a personalized and unique look. The endless numbers of colors and texture combinations available add even more design versatility than concrete pavers. This is achieved by combining an integral color for the base with a complementary accent color stain over the the stamped concrete or textured surface.
Project Installation Speed:
This is a quick comparative analysis. Stamped concrete takes about half the time to install as concrete pavers. Stamped concrete wins out on installation time hands down over installing individual pavers.
Pavers Individual concrete pavers are more durable when sealed, as with stamped concrete. However, the color on pavers can fade over time in sunny areas. Take into consideration that there will be ongoing maintenance since weeds and grass will continue to come through in the spaces between individual pavers.
You also may need to fill in those spaces with a polymer sand from time to time to reduce the amount weeds that pop through. Polymeric sand is not a ‘once and done’ method, since it can break down over time and weeds will find their way up to the surface again. Ground settling can also cause your paved surface to become uneven. If this occurs, you will need to have the base under the pavers re-leveled and reinserted.
The upside of using concrete pavers is that individually, they are less likely to crack or break. If they do, individual pavers can easily be replaced.
Ongoing, everyday maintenance with stamped concrete takes very minimal effort because 1) It is a continual surface where weeds do not have a channel to pop through (as with pavers) and 2) There is a sealer that’s applied that will protect it from stains, damage, and help it retain it’s color.
Cracking: If you're concerned about minor cracks in your concrete surface, with quality workmanship and materials, your stamped concrete will be extremely durable and have little or no cracking for many years.
Paving contractors will show comparisons between pavers and cracked concrete in their ads and articles to convince you that pavers are a better choice and will use the worst-case scenarios of concrete that was poured decades ago or installed by inadequate masons. But if your stamped concrete contractor puts proper installation methods in place, structural cracking and damage from shrinkage will be very rare. A top-notch concrete contractor will follow proper installation standards and take measures to prevent cracking. These include using wire or rebar reinforcement, a surface retardant, relief cuts, and other preventative measures.
Sealing: Stamped concrete surfaces will need to be resealed every few years to protect it fading.
The average cost for pavers vs. stamped concrete is about the same when you add up labor plus the cost of materials. Both can cost anywhere between $10 and $30 a square foot and will depend on a number of variables. These include the project complexity, the lay of the land (if it's on a hill, in a remote location on the property, etc.), the type of materials used, and the level of quality and experience of the concrete masonry contractor. Less competent contractors may be cheaper, but using them will cost more due long-term due to repairs or the complete replacement of your patio, pool deck, or walkway, due to sub-par workmanship and materials. Experienced, master contractors may be more a little more expensive, but well worth the investment.
The choice between using concrete pavers vs. stamped concrete will be easy if you want to have a natural-looking material for your outdoor area. Pavers will give you a more structured, manufactured look, while stamped concrete can resemble natural materials like stone and wood planks. The key to any masonry project is to find a contractor that goes above and beyond the industry standards and who are skilled artisans in their field.
The masons at Gruttadaurio Masonry are experts in creating stunning, durable, and highly unique stamped concrete patios, pool decks, porches, and walkways. Discover why stamped concrete is on the rise over pavers by contacting us today. We will provide you with a free estimate and help you decide on the best stamped concrete solution for your outdoor living space. Visit our website gallery to see examples of our stunning stamped concrete work.