Concrete Decision – Patios Beyond Pavers
If you have been considering a patio, you have likely received catalogs from several paver companies and are even being stalked by their ads online. Pavers have dominated the market for the last two decades – and for many good reasons – but there are other methods and materials well-worth consideration.
Concrete Pavers – First, let’s take a look at why pavers are so popular. Concrete pavers offer several great attributes
- Available in a wide variety of on-trend colors, styles and patterns, including permeable options
- Area easy to repair/replace if damaged
- Offer good traction and stay relatively cool
Strong industry standards and training have helped to educate contractors on appropriate installation methods. They are backed by powerful manufacturers’ warranties and though they remain functional for many years, their color and texture may begin to diminish after 25 to 30 years of use and exposure.
While dry cast/cobble pavers are widely recognizable, wet-cast pavers, which mimic the subtle texture of stone, have recently come onto the market. These offer many of the same attributes, however they cannot be treated for snow and ice with salt and may generally lose their color and subtle texture sooner than dry cast. While often cost effective, some versions may actually cost more than the stone they are meant to mimic and so both materials should be evaluated.
Brick – You might consider brick to be the first paver; it is manufactured using either a dry-cast or extruded production (imagine your Play-Dough gun)
- Brick also offers affordability, durability, good traction, temperature and reparability
- It comes in a limited selection of colors and textures, mostly red, pink, orange, beige and brown
Bluestone -This natural stone product cut from quarries, many located here in Pennsylvania.
- This labor-intensive production and limited supply leads to a higher material cost while the natural variation can increase installation time and overall greater cost than man-made materials.
- It is extremely durable, easy to repair/replace damaged pieces
- It also offers few options for color and pattern selection, mostly blue, brown and gray
Travertine (and other exotic stones) – Travertine, and other types of exotic stones, each offer a limited range of colors but in the spectrum of natural stone, there are many to choose from.
- By-and-large very durable and easy to repair/replace.
- Limited supply as well as high production and transportation costs can greatly increase material costs.
Stamped Concrete – This is the least expensive of the materials outlined.
- It is available in an infinite variety of colors and patterns including aggregate, textured or smoothed.
- The lifespan is slightly shorter than that of pavers since the pattern can be lost as the surface texture ages.
- It is also subject to chips or cracking like traditional poured concrete
Wet-Laid Vs Dry-Laid
Pavers are typically installed using a dry laid method while other materials can be installed dry or wet-laid. A dry laid base relies on crushed stone and sand with no cement used. This allows the pavers to flex with the freeze thaw cycle and allow some degree of water to permeate the surface. The sand used between these joints must be maintained to prevent weeds.
Wet-laid materials are installed on a concrete base using mortar to seal the joints between units. When properly installed this creates a smooth and weed-free surface. It is more labor intensive and costly.
Before you jump on the paver bandwagon, call Stoneworx to discuss your new patio or walkway. Our designers can help you decide on the best material for your style, needs and budget.