Pavers Vs Concrete


Often times when meeting with a client the brick paver vs. concrete question will arise. Why should I choose brick pavers over concrete for my hardscaping project? To start off simply I must say that brick pavers are a better choice compared to concrete or stamped concrete in every aspect except for upfront cost.  Overall strength of the material, quality of value, repairs and maintenance, installation, and cost are all things to consider when deciding between brick pavers and concrete.

Brick pavers are constructed from a higher strength concrete molded in a factory and tested to over 8000 PSI.  This high strength keeps the paver from cracking under extreme pressure. If there are ever any issues with the pavers they could be easily replaced under the lifetime warranty. We get asked by clients often will pavers sink.  The answer is no when instillation is done properly.  If ICPI installation guidelines are followed and done properly pavers are extremely durable and can disburse the weight of heavy loads.  In freeze thaw climates it is recommended we use a thicker base layer as well.  The base layer is very important as this is where the strength and stability come from.

  The size of the pavers and the whole project being somewhat flexible make them much better with expansion and contraction.  This is very important in waterfront areas such as Long Beach Island (LBI) and Beach Haven West.  Concrete is typically ordered at 3500 PSI, and unless ordered for a large commercial job, there is normally no strength testing done.  Concrete does not have the ability to disburse the weight of load.  Expansion joints or saw cuts must be put in when installing pavers to help minimize cracking due to temperature changes and heavy loads.  Concrete will eventually crack whether a large structural crack or small hair line crack.  Once this happens it is nearly impossible to match another slab.  You will have the cost of breaking up and then removing the concrete to replace it entirely.

Initially when choosing concrete it will provide you with a lower cost up front than using brick pavers. If the proper steps are not taken when installing brick pavers around a pool they will sink and concrete will crack. If a pipe starts leaking or has broken below your pool deck, and you have concrete installed the first step would be to cut out the area above the concrete to repair the line. Hopefully the washout did not leave any void spaces that you cannot see which will cause cracking in the concrete at a later date.  Now your contractor informs you that they can patch the concrete, but there is no guarantee that it will be close in color to the rest of your existing concrete.  Another option to replacing concrete would be to paint it after installation, however, this will not last for long and you would have to repaint it every few years. Also, after painting concrete it will change the texture of the material making it slippery.

Let’s discuss this same scenario using brick pavers.  First, the pavers are removed and placed off to the side to be reinstalled.  The pool contractor comes in and digs down to repair the broken line.  Then your paver installer, such as Jersey Shore Pavers, comes in to do the paver repair.  We compact the area, install the pavers that were removed, and re-sand the joints.  Once the paver repair is completed it is imperceptible blending in with the original pavers.  This is an enormous saving compared the previous scenario using concrete where you will either be dealing with a different color slab, covering it up, replacing all the concrete, or as we have seen in many situations the homeowner decides to replace everything with pavers to prevent this from happening in the future.  This can happen to a concrete driveway or walkway as well if any underground utilities need to be accessed.

When choosing brick pavers you also have many different styles and colors to choose from.  If you choose stamped concrete you have some of the same ability to do different patterns.  However, with pavers you can add to the design by using different patterns to create separate areas or to use a boarder in a different color.  When using pavers around pools you have the ability to use different coping.  Pavers also have a much lower heat absorption which leaves them cooler to your feet.  In the end, it is up to the homeowner to make the best educated decision for their project.  Always remember to consider upfront cost compared to the cost over the lifetime.  If you would like to find our more or want to leave a lasting impression with your guests give Jersey Shore Pavers a call today to discuss your hardscaping options.