Whether it’s a patio, driveway, or walkway, homeowners face two big choices when planning out the project: using either poured concrete or concrete pavers. The cost to install pavers or concrete slabs depends on the surface area that you want to be covered, materials, labour, and the removal of previous paving stones or concrete.
The Cost of Materials
Pavers are more expensive, both in the actual stone material and the base. If you want pavers installed, you can expect to pay as low as $10 per square foot, though the job can cost over $35 per square foot depending on the material. Usually, the material itself costs between $3.50 and $5.00, though this varies based on the supplier and the type of stone. On top of the actual stone, a binder such as mortar or polymer sand and the necessary material usually raise the price by $50 – $60 per square foot.
Pouring a concrete slab over this same area size will also vary based on the type of concrete you want. However, the costs of materials are cheaper. Basic poured concrete is the cheapest option, but you have a wide variety of designs to choose from: stamped, coloured, exposed aggregate and the broom finish are all surfaces we can do for new concrete projects. However, concrete by itself is less expensive and easier to source than concrete pavers.
The Cost of Labour
The cost to install these materials is roughly the same per hour, but concrete is less labour intensive to install and can be done in a shorter amount of time. While concrete is poured directly into an area and smoothed over by simple tools, pavers are created through a lengthy job, depending on the type of material and the style. Concrete pavers also require more equipment than pouring concrete.
A rough estimate of the entire project makes the situation clearer. If you want 100 square feet covered with pavers, you are looking at a cost of anywhere between $1400 and $3500 for the entire job. The total cost to install a concrete slab over 100 square feet can be between $850 and $1,100. This all varies based on the type of project, of course, but you can get a sense of the major difference in cost. Having concrete poured is cheaper than pavers, plus it could last you longer, too!
What About The Cost Over Time?
You should also factor maintenance costs over the life of the material. Concrete is easy to maintain, and whatever the style, some soap and a scrub brush will easily take care of the appearance. It does crack and stain with time, which will require replacement of the concrete slab. Pavers are generally easy to maintain, but cleaning them isn’t as easy as concrete because the whole project is not just one slab. One of the biggest concerns with concrete and pavers is plant growth, as weeds often thrive in between the cracks.
Pavers loosen rather than crack over time. When that happens, it needs to be replaced with individual paver stones so that it doesn’t become a tripping hazard. Concrete slabs can split and crack, especially if the ground beneath them shifts or the temperature changes. Concrete is much more resilient than pavers, though, and can be covered in a coat of sealant. The coat will need replacing, but it protects the concrete and keeps the structure intact.
With durability, versatility, and lower costs for time and materials, poured concrete is cheaper than concrete pavers. When planning an outdoor project, don’t think concrete is just a dull slab of grey – you have many design options from which to choose!