Decorative Stamped Concrete vs Pavers

It’s that time of year when home improvement and business building projects are underway. The thought arises – stamped concrete vs pavers. Are you going to use pavers to cover that walkway, driveway, patio or pool area or will you use decorative stamped concrete? Both are made up of concrete products, but which have the appeal, durability and ease to clean that you’re expecting from your new project? Let’s discuss our options breaking them down into cost, installation time and labor, durability, ease of keeping clean and overall appeal.

The different areas on the outside of your home or business should flow to enhance the property and its perceived value and functionality. One question is what products to use on interconnecting areas such as the backyard patio and pool areas, walkways, driveways and the entryways. Stamped concrete vs pavers. What kind of decorative concrete patio do you desire?

Choosing the right durable products to enhance these areas can include various options including, stone, brick, rocks, tiles, pavers and stamped concrete. Your choice must hold up to nature and the elements, foot traffic and possible vehicle traffic. It must be easy to maintain and keep clean and should look elegant while remaining affordable. That’s why so many choose a decorative concrete patio, entry or
walkway.

stamped concrete vs pavers - this stamped concrete is designed to look like wood floor
Decorative Concrete Flooring in Greenville, SC

What are the differences between pavers and stamped concrete?

Stamped decorative concrete begins with a standard slab of concrete about 3 to 4 inch thick to cover your driveway, patio, pool deck or walkway. It is cost-effective to install, it is very durable, and it protects the area without requiring extensive maintenance. Stamped concrete also has the benefit of so many different appearances depending on the form used to stamp the pattern into the concrete. It can be made to look like stone, brick or even wood depending on the texturing and added pigments.

Stone and brick pavers on the other hand, although many are made of concrete, are smaller in individual size, usually fit to get together to make a solid surface, are much more labor-intensive to install, are popular for their durability and custom look.

Pavers can be used immediately once the project is complete and are ready for use. Stamped concrete, on the other hand, requires several days of curing before weight-bearing on the finished product will allow for use.

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Designed concrete outdoor living area, Greenville SC

What is the cost difference between the two?

We can’t get into specific costs for each product without knowing the pricing for labor from various contractors and from the suppliers for the different products that will be used for the installation. Stamped concrete begins with concrete slabs. The ground is excavated, graded, compacted, forms are created, the concrete is poured, then it’s leveled and finally stamped with the design that you desire for the look that will be the end result.

Pavers on the other hand require a little more preparation, as the base surface must be completely level. The pavers must then be set individually next to each other in the desired pattern, and then any gaps between individual pavers must be filled with sand or mortar. Preparation includes excavation of the area, grading, leveling, and compaction. Then you have sand preparation, compaction again., laying the paver tiles, cutting borders, compacting of the tiles, filling of gaps spaces and finally sealing the paver tiles. This is a more labor-intensive process.

Let’s look at a cost comparison for a 1,000 square foot area. At a rate of $15 per square foot, your cost will be $15,000 for pavers, require 4-5 workers and take 4-5 days. Concrete slabs will often run less for the same area, but the cost of stamping, texturing and pigmentation are not included in these prices, and the end result for stamped decorative concrete will run about the same as the pavers when completed by decorative concrete contractors. This requires additional labor to complete after all. The process will require 2-4 workers and be completed in several days from beginning to end, but require an additional 3-5 days for curing.

Concrete inlay with acid staining option for focal point in outdoor living area, Greenville, SC

How are they rated for durability?

Both slabs and stamped concrete are very durable. Each should have a life of at least 25 years. If the base work is completed well, a comparison of the two should be fairly equal. The difference comes along if the ground settles or there are needed repairs. Stamped concrete has a tendency to form cracks when poured over larger areas as the ground settles, Repairing those malfunctions can be costly if large deformities develop. Small deformities are usually hidden by many stamped patterns There are a few companies able to make repairs without having to remove large areas and begin again.

Pavers are easy to repair if they become broken or damaged. The process simply involves removing damaged tiles, resetting the ground beneath as necessary, placing a new tile and preparing the immediate area so the paver blends.

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Decorative concrete wall in Greenville, SC

What safety issues should be considered?

When extremely wet the stamped concrete may be slippery, depending upon the pattern used and displacement of water. Pavers, though wet, do not seem to have this problem, depending on the material. They are smaller and water can drain between pavers. Manufacturers usually make pavers with a non-slip texture for just this purpose.. If you use marble or stone slabs, they will definitely remain a slip hazard in wet situations.

A safety hazard to consider on pavers is that broken tiles tend to become trip hazards and need to be repaired as soon as possible. It is easy to trip over unmaintained tiles with cracks and weeds.

concrete overlay greenville sc
Concrete walkway with stamp definition in Greenville, SC

How easy are they to keep clean?

Stamped concrete is very easy to clean and can be cleared by using a hose or a simple push broom. Paver tiles may be cleaned in the same manner, but do seem to require a bit more effort to do so because of the non-slip nature of manufacturing and the number of smaller units with small gaps.

Weeds and plants sprouting in cracks or openings is a bigger problem for pavers. It seems no matter how one may try the seeds seem to find a way to germinate and grow. It is important to remove unwanted growth and seal the area. For pavers this means applying more fill between tiny gaps. For stamped slabs small cracks are often hidden and can be filled with products available at your local hardware supply.

stamped concrete vs pavers flooring Greenville sc
Stamped Concrete styled to look like wood planks for outdoor living space in Greenville, SC

What is the appeal of each?

Real estate homeowners agree that pavers are one improvement that automatically increases the curb appeal and price of property. Yet, stamped concrete may also have this direct impact on buyer appeal and demand higher prices as some installers do such a fine job one is hard-pressed to realize it is actually concrete.

The overall appeal depends upon a person’s taste and the end result they are seeking. Many homeowners will combine the various styles over time to create an eclectic, unique style. Decorative stamped concrete id definitely gaining popularity as its installation and awe-inspiring appeal grows and the process becomes more appreciated. If considering your own project, contact local reputable contractors to begin the determine prices, time requirements and to begin the process. There are more than likely a few excellent decorative concrete contractors in your area.