Pavers and concrete are the most popular materials for building a patio, and each offers a variety of benefits. If you’re thinking of installing a new patio, you may be wondering about the differences between pavers and concrete. While both pavers and concrete are attractive choices, you will probably make your decision based on factors like budget, overall look and usage. Here’s a rundown on the pros and cons of pavers vs. concrete for a patio and answers to commonly asked questions.
What is the Difference Between Pavers and Concrete?
Pavers are individual blocks or bricks arranged to create a unique space or layout. Available in a variety of colours and patterns, design options are unlimited, creating a truly unique and personalized feel to a space.
Concrete is poured and sometimes known as concrete slabs. Less aesthetically pleasing, concrete fans often opt for upgraded stamped concrete to add texture to its look.
Durability: Pavers vs Concrete
Concrete is usually poured to a depth of about 4-6 inches, making it durable enough to withstand the freeze & thaw cycles of Canadian winters. It doesn’t last forever though, and you’ll need to replace a concrete patio at some point. Concrete slabs will sometimes crack or split if the ground beneath shifts. Concrete is also very porous and will absorb spills, potentially staining it. Repairs to concrete are obvious, marring the appearance.
Pavers, on the other hand, are all about the installation process, the base underneath them in particular. If you use a thermally protected product like GatorBase underneath, your pavers will remain level for a lifetime. These products also offer the additional benefit of easy installation with less labour and ultimately, lower costs. Should pavers become stained, individual pavers can be removed and replaced while maintaining the visual integrity of the installation.
For load-bearing strength, pavers are the superior choice. While concrete is indeed strong, pavers can withstand up to 4X the weight that concrete can handle.
Both concrete and pavers are quickly damaged by rock salt and concrete slabs can be very slippery. If you will need to walk on the concrete during the winter, you’ll want to upgrade to stamped concrete to add texture for safety or apply products for slip resistance. Pavers on the other hand have texture built right in, making them the safer choice. If your concrete is not graded correctly, you may face issues of water pooling on the surface. Pavers on the other hand have natural drainage through the joints, eliminating this issue.
Ease of Installation
While your skills may vary, many DIY’ers find installing pavers relatively easy and uncomplicated, especially when using a base product like the aforementioned Gatorbase. Because there are no large components or equipment necessary, a paver stone patio can be installed virtually anywhere. Concrete on the other hand can be a little trickier and require a more advanced skill set to create a base and get the grading just right, and your space will need to be accessible by a large cement truck. You may also have to order and pay for more concrete than you need, due to minimum order requirements.
Types of Pavers
Pavers come in a variety of materials and styles. Stone pavers are a popular choice for decks and patios and options are available to suit any budget. Concrete pavers are made of a mix of materials including concrete and topped with a sealant. Interlocking pavers create a more structured look and are easiest to install, however, these are more expensive. Porcelain pavers are exceptionally versatile, offer unlimited design options and are ideal for projects that demand total visual continuity. You can also find pavers made of brick, marble and other materials and pavers are available in a wide range of colours and shapes.
Concrete is poured in uniform grey slabs for strength and sometimes finished with a stamping process to improve its aesthetics.
Whether you choose concrete or pavers, a patio is sure to enhance your enjoyment of your outdoor living space, while also improving your home’s value.