A Side-By-Side Comparison of Stamped Concrete and Pavers

A Side-By-Side Comparison of Stamped Concrete and Pavers


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By: Jen Kloter on November 21st, 2011

Stamped Concrete

Sample of Stamped concrete walkway

Advantages:

  • Because of its unique texture and variation, stamped concrete is generally more ornate and typically ranks higher on the “wow” scale, and a wide variety of patterns and colors are available.
  • With so much potential for customization, stamped concrete can imitate natural stone or segmented paving.
  • Concrete is very mobile, so colors can be hand blended on site in addition to the color that’s added to the concrete mix.
  • It can also be sealed for added protection from the elements and pool chemicals.

Disadvantages:

  • The initial cost is somewhat high, not to mention the cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance can get very expensive because of New England’s notoriously irregular climate.
  • It can be difficult for a DIYer to install, and it may require a professional installer.
  • There are some in our industry that say there are only two kinds of concrete… “Cracked and Gonna Crack,” especially in Connecticut where we have a lot of freezing and thawing.
  • Control joints and saw cuts are necessary to help control where the concrete cracks. They are sometimes made across the stamped pattern lines, making a mess of that ornate style you love.
  • There is also the possibility for deterioration from de-icing salts.
  • Repairs require patching, which can be very difficult in terms of color matching. Finding a color that matches the natural fading of the original concrete is almost impossible
  • The sealer needs to be reapplied every year.
  • Colors will fade over time.

Interlocking Concrete Pavers

Paver Installation with Accents and Banding

Advantages:

  • Pavers are generally thicker and more durable, so they won’t crack – when installed correctly.
  • Pavers cost about the same as stamped concrete – depending on the application.
  • The cost efficiency over time is very low. They usually do not need to be replaced.
  • Repairs are easy and seamless, and involve simply replacing broken or cracked pavers.
  • Paver patterns and colors can be mixed and matched to create striking designs with accent borders and bandings.

Disadvantages:

  • Joint sand needs to be “topped off” every couple of years unless a polymer sand is used. Polymer sand is a sand that has a polymeric additive in it that binds and hardens the sand grains to each other and the pavers too.
  • Weeds can grow between the pavers unless a polymer sand is used. When the polymer hardens, weeds cannot grow in it.
  • Dye lots can vary from pallet to pallet – so if care is not taken when installing, a large area can appear blotchy. A skilled installer will know how to blend the pavers to eliminate this issue.
  • Pavers can settle and move over time if they are not installed properly. Here in Connecticut, we have to ensure that everything – the existing soil, the base material we bring in, the pavers after they’re installed… – is compacted properly or the pavers will heave unevenly with the frost.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both stamped concrete and interlocking concrete pavers. I think it comes down to personal preference.

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