If you’re considering replacing or adding a walkway, patio, or driveway, you have two main concrete options: poured concrete or pavers. Because you want the most bang for your buck, it’s best to know which one is cheaper, but this can be complicated: the upfront costs might say one thing, but long-term care can say another!
Which Is The Cheaper Option Upfront?
Both pavers and poured concrete provide different advantages, depending on the type of project and where it will go. Many people prefer slabs of poured concrete for outdoor spaces due to their ease of installation and the uniformity of the final look. The development of stamped concrete gives homeowners many more design and texture options, too. Pavers are individual sections of concrete fit together to make up the project. The pieces will most often interlock, making for flexible installation and a durable final product.
Despite being ready at the time of installation and not needing to cure, paving stones need a lot more preparation than poured concrete. This makes the installation a more labour-intensive process, and when combined with the material cost, concrete slabs will have a lower upfront cost per square foot than pavers.
When you choose poured concrete for your back patio or walkway, you’ll pay between 10 – 15% less than if you choose pavers. Many homeowners see this as the final say; however, the final cost changes if you want to upgrade to stamped concrete. If you want your poured concrete to have a certain colour or texture, in most cases, it will most likely cost you the same or even more than pavers. But there’s more to your choice than upfront costs!
The Costs Over Time
Whether you choose pavers or poured concrete can change based on long-term care considerations. Both of these paving materials are easy to maintain and require similar cleaning strategies. However, concrete slabs have more costs associated with protections, care, and repair. They need a protective sealant to prevent stains from penetrating the surface, and when cracks and staining become noticeable, you might need to replace the entire slab. Most paving stones, on the other hand, require little care, though the little gaps between each stone might need regular attention.
The durability of poured concrete slabs is greatly affected by the movement of the earth beneath it. Concrete slabs are prone to splitting and cracking if the ground beneath it shifts due to moisture and temperature swings. With pavers, the many joints in between each stone prevent much water from settling. When the installer grades the ground properly, drainage issues are very preventable.
Depending on how you do it and what kind of pavers you choose, paving stone repair can range from $15 to over $150. Poured concrete repairs can range from less than $10 to over $500, depending on the location of the slab, regular maintenance needs, and other factors both controllable and uncontrollable.
So while a concrete slab is a more affordable option upfront, homeowners must factor the long-term costs for maintaining, repairing and replacing into their calculations. They should also consider the terrain and preparation needs of the project – the ground on which it sits can also determine whether to use pavers or poured concrete. If you’re unsure, the experts at Fiorino can point you in the right direction!