Pavers vs Concrete for Your Outdoor Living Space

When it comes to hardscapes, you have several choices in materials. One of the most common decisions that homeowners make is whether to use pavers or concrete for walkways, patios and even driveways. The two most common materials involved are pavers and concrete. We’ve compared the two, to help you understand the differences.

Front of Lake house with Paver Driveway and Landscape Lighting

Cost of Pavers vs Concrete

Like so many things, cost comparisons depend upon many factors. There are multiple price points for pavers and poured concrete, depending on the look and complexity of the design. The prices we’ve listed below are general estimates. Depending on the volume of work being done, you might save some money or spend more. For example, it costs more per square foot for a small amount of concrete than if you are using the entire truck.

Initial cost to pour a basic concrete patio, walkway or driveway can range significantly, usually you’ll see these quoted on home improvement sites from $5/square foot to $9/square foot.

If you want to add some interest to your project by stamping it to have a more paver-like look, then costs usually increase, with most website listing prices at between $8 and $12/square foot. More complex stamping and use of multiple stain colors can easily run in the $18 to $20/square foot range and maybe higher.

Pavers have a different cost equation than concrete. The cost to prepare the base and the base materials is going to be about the same no matter what level of pavers you select. Some patterns require more effort to create, but most of the difference per square foot in paver costs is going to be determined by the cost difference of the pavers. Most quotes you’ll see online for a good quality concrete paver installation will end up in the $12-$20/square foot range…which is pretty similar to stained and stamped concrete patio or walkway. This is a pretty good comparison because the finished products have a much more similar look than a lower cost slab.

Paver Patio

Which One Looks Better?

This is really up to individual taste, but for most people, a stamped concrete or paver patio looks nicer. The color and pattern variations are more pleasing to the eye than a bland slab. Just take a look at some photos and you will easily be able to decide which one you like better.

Longevity, Maintenance and Repair Concerns

Poured concrete and concrete pavers are made out of essentially the same material. So on the surface, you would expect similar durability. However, pavers are actually designed to be 4 times stronger than poured concrete. Pavers also have the advantage of being placed individually, so that they can move a little as the ground shifts. This greatly reduces the chances of cracking for paver installations, while slabs are likely to eventually crack as they age. If there are problems with a paver patio or walkway, it is a lot easier to repair than poured concrete. As long as pavers are in good condition, they can be removed and replaced while problems with concrete either lead to obvious patches or complete replacement.

The Final Decision

The concrete vs pavers decision is one every individual homeowner has to make when deciding on how to improve their outdoor space. If you are looking to improve your outdoor living space in the Charlotte, NC area, we’re here to help you with you plan. From design to construction, we can help you enjoy your outdoor space with the patio, walkway, driveway or other hardscape project that you’ve been thinking about.