Concrete Patio Pavers vs. Solid Concrete

Introduction

You may be thinking about replacing or adding a walkway, patio, or driveway to your property. When it comes to construction materials for these projects, people usually only think about solid concrete or asphalt. You can search for “paving companies near me” and hire reputed contractors near you to build a new driveway or walkway. However, most of them would recommend against asphalt and suggest you go with something like concrete patio pavers. Let’s check out why:

The Differences

  1. Upfront and Installation costs – When it comes to the upfront cost, poured or solid concrete always wins. The cost of a solid concrete patio is usually cheaper on each square foot. When you choose concrete patio pavers, they would cost you around 20 percent more than solid concrete and that hike can quickly add up depending on the area of the driveway or patio. The installation cost of concrete pavers would also be higher since it is more labor-intensive.

However, when you invest in a home improvement project, you always need to think long-term. In the long term, solid concrete wouldn’t be a great option. It costs more to repair and maintain. If there’s a major crack, it won’t look the same even after repair and you may have to redo it all over again to maintain the uniform look. That’s more money flushed down the drain.

  1. Durability – Solid concrete has a major flaw when it comes to durability. The slab is a single piece that is highly prone to any sort of ground movement. Due to the ground movement, the concrete slab builds up stress and that may lead to a long crack or extensive damage that’s not cheap or easy to repair. Shifting of solid concrete can also lead to drainage problems.

Moreover, solid concrete is highly susceptible to temperature swings. The large piece of concrete expands and contracts several times during the day and that weakens its structural integrity leading to ugly cracks.

On the other hand, concrete pavers, while made of the same material, are designed to handle temperature swings without an issue. They act as individual pieces and that’s why the contraction and expansion due to temperature changes don’t affect them as much. Moreover, even if there are earthquakes and there is significant ground movement, the individual concrete patio pavers can adjust accordingly. Even if a piece breaks, it’s easy and cheap to replace.

That’s why most concrete paver patio contractors are confident enough in their products to provide a lifetime warranty. You can get free replacements for cracked or damaged pavers. There are also joint assists in between the pavers to allow for easy drainage. You don’t have to deal with a pool of water in the middle of your driveway after a rainy night.

Concrete patio pavers are also long-lasting due to their immense strength. While solid concrete can tolerate around 2500 PSI of pressure, concrete pavers triple that and then some. Average concrete pavers can tolerate around 8000 PSI.

  1. Maintenance – As mentioned above, concrete pavers are cheaper and easier to repair since only one or two pieces need to be replaced. As long as nothing is wrong with the foundation layer, you can even replace concrete patio pavers yourself.

Solid concrete also needs regular maintenance. While it doesn’t need to be checked and sealed every 6 months like asphalt, you need to have a solid maintenance plan to avoid cracks and stains. When you have concrete patio pavers you don’t need to deal with that kind of problem. They are less prone to cracking and need less frequent sealing. Even if you don’t get them sealed too often, the only thing that might happen is color fading due to UV rays.

  1. Installation time – As mentioned above, installing concrete patio pavers is a more labor-intensive job than constructing a solid concrete walkway. In the case of solid concrete, there are 5 major steps – Excavation, grading, prepping the foundation, setting forms, and pouring concrete.

However, the steps to constructing a patio or walkway with concrete patio pavers are very long. Apart from excavation and grading, there is also compaction, fiber installation, base preparation, and compaction, cutting the borders, sanding, and more. That’s why the construction project takes a longer time.

However, there is no wait time for concrete patio pavers. You have to wait for a few days for poured concrete to harden and solidify. After that, it needs to be sealed one more time. However, concrete patio pavers come ready to install and cut in shape. That’s why you can use a patio or driveway made from concrete paver patios right after the construction project.

  1. Aesthetics – Solid concrete has major limitations when it comes to appearance. Since the concrete needs to be poured and prepared on-site, there aren’t a lot of options. Yes, technological improvements have made staining easier. However, making beautiful patterns and textures after pouring concrete isn’t an easy manual job.

Concrete patio pavers have an obvious advantage here. They are processed, stained, cut, and stamped into any shape you want at the factory. Instead of a dull grey stretch on your property, you get to choose from a wide assortment of colors, shapes, and patterns to give the outdoor area of your property a unique look.

You also need to consider aesthetics after repair. If there are minor cracks on solid concrete it can be fixed without an issue. However, once you repair a large crack, it doesn’t look uniform anymore. With patio pavers, you can easily order a replacement with the same color, shape, and pattern and swap it out with the damaged paver to preserve the look.

Conclusion

As you see, in the overall comparison concrete patio pavers always win out when compared to solid concrete. Even if they cost more upfront, their longevity and easy maintenance make them cheaper in the long run. Choose the right construction material and search for “paving companies near me” to hire reliable professionals to build yourself a brand-new driveway, patio, or walkway.

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