concrete vs pavers driveway

Which is better – concrete vs pavers

Introduction

As homeowners, we want the best for our driveways and patios as it can potentially lift the value of our property. An excellent and well-kept-looking house will always inspire more trust in potential buyers than one that has yet to be cared for.

Even if we’re not selling, it’s essential to be able to see our homes in the best light.

Driveway and patio paving can be hard to choose as many options exist. We have already compared concrete vs asphalt earlier, and now it’s time for concrete vs pavers.

Let us look at the pros and cons of stamped concrete vs. pavers, as the outlooks are close to each other.

Paver driveway vs concrete

To compare concrete vs pavers driveway, we need to compare the materials they are made of. As we know from earlier posts, concrete is made of cement, aggregates, and water.

For example, pavers can be made from concrete, natural stones, and bricks.

Concrete driveway and its characteristics

A stamped concrete driveway is a slab up from 4 inches (10.16cm) thick. Color agents can be used on the stamp to replicate many different surfaces.

Why go through the trouble of imitating other materials? It can be a cheaper alternative when replicating the more expensive surfaces.

I went through the pros and cons of concrete vs asphalt posts, but concrete is a long-aged solution lasting from 20 to 40 years, and it can handle lots of pressure.

The downside is it can be hard to maintain and repair as, at worst, you might need to replace the whole slab. Extreme conditions like cold winters, ground freezing heaves, and salt used to keep roads melted can also eat the concrete.

Grey block paving

Paver driveway and its characteristics

While concrete can be customized with stamping, paver driveways can also be customized with multiple types of pavers. If you check your local distributor, you will notice pages and pages of different kinds of stones and bricks.

Pavers have solid aesthetics and can be enhanced with a paver driveway sealer. If being unique or owning unique structures is essential, pavers might be the right way.

Pavers can also keep color better than stamped concrete as the pigment is not only on the surface.

Pavers can handle great PSI.

Pavers handle weight also better than concrete if the groundwork has been done well. Concrete strength is around 2500-3000 PSI (pounds per square inch), while pavers can handle up to 8000.

That’s over three times more.

There is also maintenance. While concrete might be challenging to repair, pavers can be easily changed.

They also crack, primarily due to ground movement, but changing them is only a matter of picking up stones and replacing them.

Pavers don’t crack like concrete.

Concrete cracks during extreme weather changes can be caused by water absorbed. When it freezes, cracks happen, and when cracks filled with water freeze, those cracks widen.

Pavers let the water into the drainage beneath through the joints and sand. It also helps water control as no water is left standing on top of the pavers.

The groundwork is essential for the concrete vs pavers setting and can’t be belittled. If the subgrade is muddy, it is more vulnerable to ground heaves and frost heaving.

Subbase aggregates can help with proper water control with drainages. It also gives a good base for pavers or concrete once it’s compact enough.

Paver driveway ideas for those considering

There were lots of good things about pavers, and they can be a good option for the driveway, being able to handle weight and weather. That’s why I will list a few different options below.

To get a glance at what someone considering pavers might want to look into,

Permeable paver driveway

Permeable paver driveway, as its name suggests, lets water through to the ground. It helps the water drain naturally and doesn’t stand on the ground as it can on concrete or asphalt.

It’s an excellent way to help your immediate nature fight erosion if that’s a problem. Also, it will help the local groundwater supply when more water travels naturally.

Interlocking driveway pavers

We usually think of interlocking driveway pavers when we think about pavers. They are laid next to each other, and joints are filled with sand.

It’s a surface that can handle heavy loads once compact.

Grass paver driveway

A grass paver driveway is made of pavers that might be hollow from the middle to let the grass grow through them or pavers that have grass growing in the joints. The joints must be broad enough, then. It’s another nature-friendly option, as water can travel its natural course.

At the same time, your driveway is strong enough to handle the weight of a car. The downside is that unwanted growth, like weeds, will also grow there.

Brick paver driveway

A brick paver driveway might be another option for an interlocking one. It can be made from clay bricks, giving it that warm brick outlook that will age nicely (depending on the taste).

It has a lengthy lifespan if maintained well and can be set in place with sand or mortar.

Stamped concrete vs. pavers cost comparison.

At this point, we probably are interested in what is cheaper – poured concrete or pavers. Poured concrete is usually more affordable as it takes less time. Pavers must be installed by hand, and the groundwork also takes time.

For a DIY guy, the price of concrete and pavers might be close to each other. We have to remember here that the cost of a paver driveway can be from $0.50 square foot to 10 times more or even more than that.

But for basic pavers, the cost can be almost the same if the work is done by ourselves. Pavers vs concrete cost per square foot isn’t a fair comparison because paver prices vary greatly.

The cost should be estimated with the time it can last as well. Concrete life is from 20-30 years. Some pavers claim to last up to 50 years.

A lot depends also on the soil and weather conditions around the year. Pavers are easier to maintain in extreme weather as they let the water through and don’t freeze as much on the surface.

Concrete patio cost vs pavers

The cost of paving a patio will usually still be higher than concrete. The same things count here as well.

Depending on the patio and its place, it’s also good to consider what kind of work would be needed if you want to change at some point. A giant concrete slab might be quite a job to remove if it ever starts to bother.

Quick how to install a paver driveway for DIY purposes

To install pavers for the driveway, the existing soil should be excavated. If the ground is very wet, it should be deep enough for the aggregate drainage, up to 12 inches. I suggest consulting an expert on this to get it right.

On top of that, it’s good to have 1 inch of sand so the pavers are easier to install, as rough aggregates are a bit uneven. Still, some people install coarse aggregates as well after it’s compact.

After that, we need to check on the thickness of the pavers as well so our installation will stay high.

The rough aggregates are compacted, and the edges might be reinforced with something to handle time and movement well.

Then, the layer of sand is filled in and leveled. Some compact the ground again, and some install on loose sand.

Once the pavers are installed, the surface plate compactor can be used again to compact the pavers in place. After that, sand can be spread to the surface and swept to all the joints with a broom.

Lastly, a sealing product can be used on the surface.

Conclusion

As much as I like concrete, I also like pavers. I’ve installed some in my house, and it is straightforward to install, and you will only be doing minor damage if you mess up somewhere. You can quickly fix it; all the harm is for your poor back and hands.

For those who like doing things themselves to save money, it’s a good option for a clean outlook for a driveway, patio, and even surrounding the foundation.