Today at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers, we tackle the question: should you choose pavers or stamped concrete? Both are viable options for beautifying your outdoor space. Choosing a unique walkway, driveway or backyard patio is a great way to add that little bit of pizzazz to your home. However, as you can imagine, each type of material comes with its own set of pluses and minuses.
Generally, when you are considering what type of materials to use for a project, there are 4 main areas of concern. Of course, aesthetic appeal is important to everyone. Safety should also be a consideration, so with outdoor flooring, be conscience of slipping hazards. This is often one of the main reasons people install new pathways or patios. Maintenance is a big deal as no one wants to have to spend a lot of time and money on upkeep. Finally, the cost is super important and can often be the make or break factor.
Pavers and stamped concrete both have their good points and their not-so-good points. Both make for attractive and reasonably affordable options, but one or the other may offer a better solution for your situation. Let’s look at both and see how each one performs in each of the 4 areas.
Even though aesthetics is the least important aspect practically, it is the first thing everyone thinks of when planning and the first thing your guests will notice upon arrival. Aesthetics are very important as the reason many people even consider installing outdoor flooring is that they want to improve the look of their outdoor space.
So, which one looks better? Well, obviously, that’s going to be personal opinion. Some people absolutely love the texture and versatility afforded by stamped concrete. You can even use stamped concrete to mimic other natural materials (think brick, slate or flagstone) to create the exact look you want. For this reason, some people feel it makes a more impactful first impression and wows your guests upon arrival.
On the other hand, pavers offer a beautiful, natural look that can be designed using a wide variety of colors, shapes and surface finishes. The material naturally grants a lot of flexibility in its design, and many people love the ability to personalize the pattern to such a high degree.
There is no clear winner in the aesthetics category. It truly comes down to personal taste and what type of look you prefer. Let’s move along and consider the other 3 categories to help you determine a winner for your home.
Safety concerns are generally not the first thing that people think of when choosing materials. However, they are obviously a critical consideration. The main safety concerns with any type of flooring are slipping and tripping.
Stamped concrete is a continuous slab. That means when it gets wet it does tend to get slippery, quickly. Another concern that when it is wet its smooth surface reflects more and produces more glare during the daytime, which can be a real headache for some people.
Pavers, while they might not get as slippery due to their good water drainage, do tend to offer a tripping hazard. When pavers are first installed, the surface is usually very even, and tripping is not too serious of a problem. However, over time as the ground settles and the pavers shift, the surface can become deceptively uneven and pose a significant hazard.
Just as with the other aspects, maintenance is a very significant aspect of choosing the right materials. Nobody wants to spend all their free time upkeeping and maintaining their outdoor decoration; they want to be enjoying it.
Stamped concrete is a bit of a hassle when it is first installed. It requires 3-5 days of curing before you can even walk on it. Because of its continuous nature, it is more prone to cracks than pavers. Many factors (like traffic, hot and cold temperature changes, settling, and shrinkage) affect how quickly cracks may appear. Unfortunately, you can be assured that they probably will appear at some point. For this reason, people often choose a textured pattern that will help to hide cracks as they appear.
Pavers generally are not as delicate. You don’t have to wait 3-5 days to start using them, and they are not nearly as prone to cracking. Because they are individual pieces, they have the flexibility to move with settling and hot and cold pressure changes. It is also easier to replace just one section if it gets damaged and make the patch look uniform with the old pavers. However, you do have to be aware that from time to time you will need to buy sand to fill the spaces between the pavers.
Sometimes when you can’t decide on a material, it comes down to cost. Fortunately, both are relatively affordable options. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help much for the decision-making process.
The upfront cost of stamped concrete is generally less than that of pavers. However, long-term costs are harder to gauge. Because of environmental factors and the fact that both materials work so much better when they are properly installed and maintained the same material in one person’s yard might last longer and or be less expensive to maintain than in another person’s yard. The long-term cost is just one of the reasons why it is so important to choose a reputable company to install your outdoor flooring regardless which material chosen.
Carefree Decks and Patio Covers has been providing excellent deck and patio services to our neighbors here in the metro Denver area for over 20 years. We would be happy to help you find the answer to the question, should you choose pavers or stamped concrete? Because we are acquainted with these materials, the climate in our area and proper installation methods for these outdoor flooring options, you can trust us to point you in the right direction for your home and budget.
Contact us today to request a free quote on pavers, stamped concrete or any other project you’d like to take on to beautify your outdoor space.