When thinking about installing a patio, driveway, or pool deck you may be wondering what material you should use. Materials like stamped concrete and patio pavers can give you a space to entertain on, and be functional for you and your family. The type of material you choose should be based on the usage of your space, and the look that you are hoping to achieve for your finished hardscape project.
What is stamped concrete?
Stamped concrete is textured or patterned concrete that resembles brick, stone, tile and flagstone. It is commonly used for sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, and patios.
What are patio pavers?
Patio pavers are concrete paving stone that are made by pouring a mixture of concrete and coloring agent into a mold of a shape, and allowing it to set. Pavers are commonly used to make driveways, roads, patios and walkways.
Patterns, design, and colors
Both stamped concrete and pavers come in a variety of colors and textures. Pavers can come in different sizes, and range from plain squares to more intricate designs, like flagstone.
If color is something that is important to you, keep in mind that with stamped concrete you will not be able to see the color you are getting before the concrete slab is installed. This can be a problem if you want your stamped concrete patio, concrete driveway, or pool decks to have an exact color. Stamped concrete is prepared on site, and skill is required when mixing in the color. The colors of a stamped concrete design are added to the top of the slab, and are not integrated into the entire concrete slab, so the color can chip or wear off. Once the color is mixed, you are stuck with it.
Pavers however, are a different story. When choosing what color of pavers you would like, you are able to see the exact color, texture, and style of paver you are buying. Pavers also give you the added touch of being able to do a border around your hardscape project, and to have more than one color in the paving stones.
Pavers are signifyingly stronger than stamped concrete and can handle all weather conditions, and traffic. For high foot and vehicle traffic areas, stamped concrete is not ideal because concrete cracks and breaks under pressure. In areas with heavy rain and cold winters where the ground is prone to expanding and heaving, stamped concrete accelerates cracking.
To help make stamped concrete more resistant to cracking it is constructed with control joints that are typically cut through the pattern on the concrete. This control joint detracts from the overall look of the finished product, and may make homeowners dislike the look of the finished hardscape project.
Repair and replacement
In the unlikely event that your patio paver gets a crack, or cannot be cleaned, they are easily replaced by removing the individual pavers, and putting in a new one. You can even do this yourself, if need be, and pavers are easy to find in store, so this makes finding a color match much easier. This makes your outdoor space useable again in a short amount of time, and because of how easy it is to replace the individual pavers, is a low maintenance option for paver installations.
Stamped concrete on the other hand is not as simple to fix. A contractor will need to come and patch the damaged area, or cut it out. Matching the existing concrete with a new patch or repair is hard because the concrete fades over time.
Whatever option you choose, be sure that you keep all of these factors in mind when choosing which product to go with. Hardscape projects of any kind can add richness and beauty to your outdoor space and are definitely worth the investment.
Interested in investing in a patio? read how much does a paver patio cost?