You face a choice when deciding how to pave an area of your walkway, driveway, or patio. Do you go with a solid concrete slab? Or should you instead choose to install pavers?
While your choice will ultimately depend on your personal circumstances, we believe that the better option, for the vast majority of people, is the installation of paving stones. They offer a combination of long-term affordability, durability, and safety that is unmatched by concrete. Continue reading below to find out why we chose pavers over concrete.
Pros and Cons of Pavers and Concrete
Concrete slabs and paving stones have pros and cons that weigh for and against their installation in your new driveway, walkway, or patio. We’ll tell you which option comes out on top in each of the following categories.
There’s usually only one way to repair a concrete slab that has cracked or broken: total replacement. Pavers, however, can be individually replaced so there’s no need to swap out the entire paving area for a new one. This keeps repair costs way down compared to a total concrete slab replacement.
While concrete is usually easy to maintain, often it will crack and stain. When this happens, the usual solution is to swap out the entire concrete slab for a new paving solution. This is highly expensive.
Pavers are cheaper to maintain. On occasion, weeds will grow up through the paving stone joints, but a quick application of weed killer fixes this issue in a hurry. And if a single stone breaks or cracks, you can always just swap out that particular stone.
While both concrete and pavers offer a highly durable solution that can stand up to the elements, we’ve chosen pavers as the option that comes out on top for durability. This is because the ground underneath a paved area will often shift, sink, or otherwise move. For example, tree roots may grow underneath a concrete slab.
When this happens, concrete tends to crack, and at that point, the entire slab needs to be replaced. Pavers, on the other hand, offer much more flexibility as the ground shifts underneath them because of the joints between the individual stones.
Up-Front Installation Cost
Concrete slab installation is definitely cheaper than paver installation. (Note that we’re not including stamped concrete in this blanket statement, given that the cost is typically higher and comparable to paver installation.)
While the difference is not usually extreme, you’ll typically pay more up-front for paver installation than you will for concrete installation.
There’s no question that most people prefer the look of pavers to concrete slabs. They’re simply more pleasing to the eye. The array of available colors, patterns, and textures ensures that there’s something for everyone in the world of paving stones.
This is especially true for patios and walkways, where aesthetics often takes on heightened importance. What’s the point of spending the money to hardscape a patio if you and your guests don’t like how the finished product looks?
The major safety hazard of a paved surface, whether you’re walking or driving across it, is the tendency to slip on it. Concrete is far more slippery than pavers and, especially in areas where people will frequently be walking on a wet surface, we recommend the latter for its enhanced safety features. The joints between the pavers create an easier surface for your feet to grip and the stones themselves are usually heavily textured for slip resistance.
Which is Better Overall? (Pavers vs. Concrete)
Overall and on balance, we believe pavers are the better choice for most people. Their combination of easier maintenance, lower repair cost, higher durability, and better aesthetics proves a winning combination for a large majority of people considering the installation of a patio, walkway, or driveway.
While a concrete slab does have its appeal, particularly when it comes to its lower initial installation cost, paving stones typically provide so many other benefits that most do not regret paying a little bit more for the initial installation for what we believe to be a superior product.
When you’re installing a new walkway, driveway, or patio, give careful thought to which product you want to use to complete the installation. Don’t just choose the cheapest up-front option to save a few dollars that you’ll wind up paying out over time in repair costs. Instead, consider your circumstances and choose the outdoor living solution that fits best with your decor and lifetime budget.