Concrete Pavers Versus a Poured or Stamped Concrete.
Having a patio is like having the best of two worlds: the natural ambiance of the outdoors and the comfort traditionally found indoors. Effectively extending your home’s livable space beyond the backdoor requires careful planning and design. One of the most important elements of the patio is the materials used for the finished surface. Two available options that are commonly found are concrete pavers and poured concrete. To know which one is best for your home, it helps to first have an understanding of what each has to offer.
Long winters and hot summers make poured and stamped concrete a challenging material to use for patios and walkways. Just as you will see with concrete sidewalks in the towns and municipalities you visit, concrete will crack. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when. Poured concrete requires expansion joints—those “cracks” you avoid as kids—as a tool for controlling this inevitable cracking. The thought and science here is that the unwanted cracks will happen in these weaker parts of the patio, not scattered throughout. While this method of installation certainly helps, it does not eliminate the problem of cracking in poured and stamped concrete.
Using concrete pavers for your patio does however. Because the paver system is flexible, walkways and patios are safe from cracking during the freeze/thaw cycle. The system allows for flexibility as temperatures and conditions change, allowing the pavers to flex ever so slightly, as opposed to cracking like poured and stamped concrete.
Because of their ability to last through harsh weather conditions, concrete pavers can also offer you an added performance guarantee. For instance, Unilock—a premier manufacturer of hardscape products in the Northeast— offers a Lifetime Transferrable Guarantee on their concrete pavers.
Poured concrete that is decoratively stamped and/or colored does not offer this. So while the initial cost may be less than that of pavers, keep in mind that you will not have the backing of a manufacturer of an installer.
When it comes to design possibilities, nothing beats the aesthetic appeal of concrete pavers. Because of the product lines from manufacturers such as Unilock, homeowners today have many choices of sizes, styles and shapes for their patio pavers. A wide range of paver patterns are available which can add an extra pop of style to your outdoor living spaces.
Poured concrete requires the aforementioned expansion joints to be installed throughout the patio’s surface. So while artistic stampings may attempt to mimic the patterns of concrete pavers, these joints break up the pattern and tend to stick out to the eye.
Maintenance and Repair
Maintaining a stamped concrete patio or walkway, poses many challenges. The first being the necessity of regular sealing every three years or so. The sealing products can be very harsh and applying them is not a small job or cost. The second challenge concerns the repairing and patching of a crack or damaged section. Because concrete is difficult to control in terms of color, the repaired section of the patio will never match the rest, creating an eye-sore for the life of the patio or walkway.
Pavers will rarely crack once the patio is properly installed. In the very unlikely event that a paver does get damage, it is easy to remove and replace just those pavers that were broken. With the ability to swap a few pavers throughout the patio, no one will ever know there was a problem spot at all. In addition, there is no necessity to seal concrete pavers (although there are sealers on the market if you choose to). Pavers require very little regular maintenance of any kind other than keeping them clean.
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-Courtesy of Unilock