Poured concrete is the most common material used for outdoor spaces and offers the advantage of a durable surface with plenty of design options to match any landscape. Pavers are individual pieces that could have an interlocking or square-edged design and can be made of different materials such as pre-cast concrete, bricks, stone slabs, or cobbles. Pavers are used as an alternative to concrete in paving driveways, patios, walkways and other exterior areas.
Cost and Installation
The cost per square foot of concrete is lower than any type of pavers, making it a more affordable paving material. Concrete also offers savings on labor costs and time because its installation is reliably easier than installing pavers, which require tedious site preparation as the base must be packed very well so the pieces will not settle.
Without question, pavers look a lot better than a plain gray concrete paving. The colors and texture of pavers exhibit natural charm. The great thing is concrete is such a versatile material that many techniques can be done to it to completely transform its appearance. Being able to resemble real pavers is just one of the effects that can be achieved with concrete, without the price tag of pavers. Concrete can be stamped, stained, engraved, ranked, stencilled, and embedded with stones, to name a few possibilities.
Concrete slabs are practically maintenance-free, especially if they are sealed which makes the surface imperfect to all kinds of spills and stains. With pavers, the material itself is also low maintenance but the spaces between each piece piece often need regular care because weeds, grass and moss will grow in these joints. Aside from regularly removing weeds before they infest the area, the owner should also watch out for moving pavers and cracks on mortared pavers. Brick and concrete pavers are also susceptible to stains. The gravel or sand in between the joints
Concrete slabs are significantly more durable than pavers but ground movement greatly affects concrete, making it more prone to cracking if the soil underneath it becomes unstable despite its surface will still remain flat. Pavers, however, will not crack when the ground settles because the settling will affect individual units. However, they could become tripping hazards when some of the pavers shift up as a result of ground movement.
Repair and Replacement
This is where pavers have an advantage over concrete. Since pavers consist of separate units, if a couple of pavers get damaged, you just take out those pieces and replace them with new ones – easy and not expensive. It's the opposite with concrete if the slab sufferers sever damage and calls for replacement. The whole slab would have to be removed and a new concrete surface installed. Such a problem can be greatly avoided by hiring a professional concrete contractor to do your concrete work to ensure quality base prep and concrete installation. Also, do note that concrete replacement is always the last resort and is done only when the structure is no longer sound. Cosmetic problems on the concrete's surface can be repaired or the concrete resurfaced at reasonable cost.
Combining Pavers and Concrete
As you can see, concrete and pavers have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you're having a hard time deciding which to use, why not combine them? Concrete makes a great base for pavers. Laying pavers over concrete will eliminate problems with pavers moving out of place and creating uneven surfaces. Consult with a professional concrete contractor to explore this option.