Stamped Concrete vs. Pavers & Slabs: Weighing the Pros and Cons
Are you looking for a way to refresh the look of your backyard or outdoor space?
Do you wish your yard or patio was more comfortable and better designed for entertaining or relaxing?
Would your family spend more time in the backyard if you had paved pathways and lounging spaces?
If so, you are certainly not alone. The latest survey from the International Casual Furnishings Association (IFCA) found that 88% of homeowners were unsatisfied with the outdoor design of their yard space.
One of the easiest and best ways to create a more usable and attractive yard is installing stone or concrete outdoor features. This will enhance the look and feel of your entire home and create spaces for you and your family to enjoy in the great outdoors.
Now, there are tons of design options to choose from – but most homeowners prefer to install either stamped concrete, pavers, or slabs. So, many often wonder what is best: stamped concrete vs. pavers and slabs?
There are many benefits to each of these features – but some designs are better than others under specific circumstances. So, here’s what you need to know when choosing stamped concrete vs. pavers or slabs for your backyard.
What is Stamped Concrete?
Concrete is incredibly strong and is resilient against even extreme weather. This makes it a popular choice for landscaping design – but the appearance of plain poured concrete is not always preferred for homeowners.
Stamped concrete is a design tactic that creates the look of stone, wood, or brick. Concrete is poured into molds of varying designs to create virtually any pattern you want.
Stamped concrete is poured, molded, and installed all on-site. Wet concrete is poured out into the desired space, and molds are pressed onto the top layer to press in the desired pattern. It can also be poured into shaped molds to create the appearance of tiles or cobblestones.
Pros to Stamped Concrete
Since the concrete design is created on the property, you can have the final say in exactly what color and design you want. Concrete layers can add in cement coloring to create the desired look, such as a more natural stone or marbled appearance.
Poured concrete is also ideal if you want a smooth surface. Most builders recommend stamped, poured concrete for wheelchair-accessible spaces since it creates a more even surface. It is also great for large surface areas or oddly-shaped spaces.
The installation and labor costs for poured, stamped concrete is also fairly low compared to other options. Workers will need to first clear out space and set up frameworks and drainage portals. Then, the concrete will be poured in and stamped with the desired textures and designs. This may only take a few days to complete.
Cons to Stamped Concrete
One of the most significant downsides to stamped concrete is that it can be quite difficult to repair or replace. For example, if cracks form or part of the concrete is discolored, it will need to be either patched or cut out completely. It can be difficult to match the repaired part with the original design, too.
Another issue is that stamped concrete tends to wear down, especially under consistent heavyweight or traffic. For this reason, patio areas and driveways typically need to be resurfaced every 5 to 7 years!
Poured concrete can also be quite slippery if it gets wet. This means that it is not always best for areas around pools or climates that get frequent rainfall. Additionally, concrete can expand and crack with extreme temperature changes. High heat or freezing cold can cause it to crack or warp.
What are Pavers and Slabs?
Pavers or slabs can create a similar appearance as stamped concrete, but they are made from smaller, pre-poured tiles. This gives homeowners a lot more control over the design, look, and style they want to be installed.
There are several types of pavers and slabs.
Paving stones or pavers can be made from all types of material, not just concrete. Some of the popular options are:
- Concrete mixed with aggregate
These materials are either poured into a mold or sanded down to the desired shape and size. Some materials and designs are far less expensive than others, so you can find something that will work with any budget.
Another option is to purchase interlocking pavers. These paving stones fit together like little puzzle pieces, so there is little space between each tile. Interlocking pavers are a great choice if you want to create a truly eye-catching design. With many styles and colors to choose from, you can find a great match for the look of your home for both driveways and recreational areas!
Concrete slabs are essentially the same as pavers, just quite a bit larger. These are ideal for covering large spaces of land such as pool decks or large patios where a sense of scale is important.
Pros to Pavers and Slabs
One benefit to choosing paver stones is the variety of designs, shapes, and colors available. You can create virtually any type of pattern and layout you desire!
Pavers are also a budget-friendly option, especially for small plots of land. Some paver stones are just a few dollars each. Additionally, it is quite easy to replace a damaged or stained paver stone without having to rip up your entire design.
Paver stones are also designed to be incredibly strong and can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. As a result, they do not need resurfacing as stamped, poured concrete does. The textured design also gives pavers a bit more grip, so it is slip-resistant even when wet.
Cons to Pavers and Slabs
There are some potential downsides to pavers or slabs, too.
There is the possibility of higher cost upfront for paver installation as it is quite labor-intensive, but then again, so is poured concrete. First, the area will need to be cleared and leveled. The stones must then be fitted together to create the desired layout. Depending on the surface area, this can take several days or weeks to complete. It is always wise to get multiple bids for your project and plan ahead as materials might be backlogged.
Stamped Concrete vs. Pavers: Which is Better?
It is hard to say which design is better because it ultimately depends on the individual project. However, specific designs have some clear benefits when weighing the options between stamped concrete vs. pavers.
In terms of safety factors, both designs have their flaws. Stamped concrete can be designed for a smoother, even pattern, which is good for handicapped accessibility. However, unless a sealant with grip is added, the poured concrete can be quite slick when wet.
Pavers, on the other hand, are more naturally slip-resistant because of the materials and textured design. Depending on which style of paver surface you choose, you can offer more grip with a slate texture or smoother surface for wheelchair use
Maintenance and Upkeep
Stamped concrete does not require much upkeep unless it is misused. Poured concrete is not as strong, and it can crack and wear down under the consistent heavyweight. It may not be the best option for patio areas with large pieces of heavy furniture or driveways.
However, over the long run, stamped concrete typically requires more maintenance. Most homeowners will need to have it resurfaced or replaced every 20 to 30 years to keep it looking its best.
Pavers, on the other hand, do require a bit of upkeep to maintain their condition. The space between pavers is often filled with sand to seal the tiles. This may eventually erode or blow away, so the tiles will need to be re-sealed.
Otherwise, pavers can last you for decades without needing any maintenance or repairs. Should a tile crack or get stained, you simply need to replace that single tile, which is quite easy to do.
In terms of upfront cost, poured and stamped concrete tends to be the cheaper option. Concrete is fairly inexpensive, and you can cover a large plot of the land fairly quickly.
Pavers are more expensive since each tile needs to be purchased individually. You will also pay more in labor costs for installation.
In the long run, though, pavers tend to increase the value of a home far more than stamped concrete. Beautiful outdoor features can boost a home’s value by thousands of dollars. The latest report estimates that adding stones for patios or walkways translates to a 9% ROI for homeowners.
Need More Advice?
Both paver stones and stamped concrete can be an attractive design option for any outdoor space.
If you are wondering whether to choose stamped concrete vs. pavers or slabs for your project, reach out to Central Home Supply. We carry a wide variety of landscaping and building materials – and our team of experts can help you find the design that works best.
If you’d like to get in touch to discuss options and ideas, you can contact us online!