Are you interested in beautifying your outdoor living space with paving stones or a concrete deck? Spending time outdoors, relaxing in comfort and entertaining on your deck or patio are just some of the great seasonal activities that we all enjoy in our homes. If you’re ready to build or renovate your patio or pool deck, you’ll appreciate knowing the difference between pavers and stamped concrete. In fact, we hope you’ll find that pavers over concrete is the more sensible choice.
Here’s a hint: pavers, also known as paving stones, are a top choice for durability, cost-effectiveness, attractive appearance and easy up keep. This is especially important here in Central Florida where weather, moisture and temperature change are major factors.
Let’s begin with a quick description of pavers: Paving stones are individual units or “bricks,” with natural joints between each that allows for pressure, expansion and contraction. Pavers over concrete offer great durability, a custom look and little to no maintenance. Here is some valuable information about paving stones:
- Available in a wide variety of surface finishes, colors and shapes that will complement the architectural style of your home and can be installed in various patterns to create eye-catching floor design on your patio or deck area.
- With a minimum rating of 8000 psi, paving stones are one of the strongest paving materials, rivaled only by brick.
- Paver patios will not deteriorate under normal wear and tear or due to outdoor weather conditions. Paver stones will stay beautiful for years to come as you enjoy your home.
- Because paver stones ‘give’ under pressure, it eliminates cracking commonly seen in conventional asphalt and concrete slabs. Pavers will look ‘new’ and stylish for years to come, needing little upkeep to maintain appearance.
- For pavers to look good and last long term, they must be properly installed. Shoddy workmanship and installations can lead to surface problems on your patio or pool deck.
- Finally, one of the biggest advantages of pavers is when it comes time for a repair. In the unlikely scenario that a repair ever does become necessary, pavers are manufactured to be uniform and can may easily and efficiently replaced without creating unsightly patches or scars.
For many years, concrete and even asphalt have been traditionally used as the standard paving material in home patios, pool decks and walkways. There’s no denying it’s low cost (per square foot) makes it an obvious choice for many home builders and homeowners. Though it may initially be an inexpensive option, the reality is that concrete will inevitably crack and require repair after repair, regular cleaning and even resurfacing.
These costs add up over the long-term making the initial investment a lot more costly than originally understood. Over the lifetime of use, wear and repair concrete will cost far more than installing paving stones, without providing any of the beauty, quality and little maintenance. It might be a good choice to install pavers over concrete. Other common problems with concrete decks, patios and walkways:
- Most all concrete will crack at some point in time. Common causes of cracking: base is compromised due to heavy loads or house settlement; concrete shrinks over time; expansion and contraction caused by harsh weather conditions.
- Contractors and home improvement store staff may tell you to place joints in concrete pavements and patio floors to encourage concrete slabs to crack in a neat, straight line along a joint. But be aware that may not happen so unsightly cracks may randomly appear anywhere on the surface of the concrete.
- Once one crack forms, the integrity of the slab loses strength and durability. More and more cracks tend to form and it becomes both difficult to exactly match the color and composition of the original material for each repair. It becomes an eye sore. Your patio, deck or walkway will appear old, worn and shabby.
- As a last resort, repairs might include a thick resurfacing or an entirely new slab and both of these options are costly – all this headache and expense to simply replace plain old concrete!
Homeowners might choose stamped concrete to replicate the attractive patterns associated with paving stones. Stamping is done once the concrete has been poured and before it hardens. Stamped concrete may also be tinted (a.k.a colored) before it is poured with standard or custom colors. While more attractive than plain concrete, the problems associated with trying to maintain, repair and replace portions of a slab are considerable and expensive. Trying to cover scars, wear and cracks becomes a major ordeal in both time and money.
We’ve been in this business since 1968 and have lots of experience and expertise in working with homeowners to build beautiful and durable decks, patios and walkways. We hope this information on paving stones and concrete materials has proved helpful to you. If you have additional questions and/or would like to speak with one of our helpful and friendly patio and pool deck specialists, please contact us today at (407) 862-6060 for an in-home design consultation.