Brick Pavers Vs. Cement
There is more to know when choosing a pavement material than just what meets the eye. While stamped concrete may initially achieve a look that is somewhat similar to pavers, and cement seems easier and cheaper, poor durability and difficulty in making repairs have a dramatic impact not only on the appearance, but also on the actual cost in the long term.
Paver patios, driveways or walkways don’t crack and will stay beautiful for as long as you’re in your home.
As a conscientious homeowner, you want your driveway, patio, walkways, or pool deck to stand up to the weather, require little maintenance, and look like new for a long time to come. You also want them to be cost-effective. That’s why the popularity of pavers is sky-rocketing. The unrivaled beauty, easy upkeep, and long-term cost efficiency of properly executed paving stone installations are becoming more and more apparent to homeowners, especially in the Northeast where weather and temperature change are a major factor. Here is some valuable information about these various materials:
Cement (along with asphalt) has traditionally been one of the most common paving materials used. It’s low cost per square foot makes it the natural choice of many homeowners as it initially seems to be a relatively inexpensive option. In reality, the inevitable cracking of concrete leads to a long-term cost that’s far greater than installing paving stones, without providing any of the benefits pavers offer.
It is almost inevitable that cement will crack at some point in time. Common causes of cracking are when the base moves due to heavy loads or settlement, and the fact that cement tends to shrink over time. Cement can also crack as a result of the expansion and contraction caused by freezing, thawing, and other changes in the weather. The reason contractors place joints in cement pavements and floors is to encourage the cement to crack in a neat, straight line at the joint. But this doesn’t always happen, and cracks can appear at random anywhere across the surface of the concrete.
As these cracks form one by one, year after year, it is often difficult to exactly match the color and composition of the original material each time a repair is needed. As such, a cement surface gets more and more unsightly with each repair. The alternative to repairing the cement is to replace the entire structure when the cracks become unbearable.
Stamped concrete is a common way of trying to achieve the attractive patterns associated with actual paving stone material. The stamping is done after the concrete has been poured and before it begins to harden. Stamped concrete is usually tinted (colored) before it is poured. There are standard colors that can be added to the concrete as it goes into the truck.
Unfortunately, the problems associated with maintaining stamped concrete are compounded with the addition of pattern and color. Patching cracks with regular gray concrete means creating unsightly scars, while trying to replace a cracked portion of concrete with a new piece that exactly matches in pattern and in color is nearly impossible.
Interlocking pavers solve all of the problems described above, and are appropriate for any paving application including patios, pool decks, driveways and walkways. Because pavers are individual units or “bricks,” the natural joints between each paver will “give” with pressure, expansion and contraction, eliminating the cracking inherent to conventional asphalt and cement pavement.
One of the biggest advantages of pavers is that if a repair ever does become necessary, pavers are manufactured to be uniform and can therefore easily be replaced without leaving ugly patches or scars. Pavers age gracefully over time.
Hardscape projects stand the test of time only if engineered correctly. Proper drainage, stable base and proper installation techniques are all important factors for a job to hold up Year after Year.
Other advantages of Brick Pavers
- Pavers do not require time to cure. Unlike cement, which can take 3 to 5 days before being ready for traffic, paver structures can be used immediately after installation.
- The high number of joints in the surface facilitates the drainage of water from rain and snow. This enhances skid resistance and decreases nighttime glare.
- If deformation should occur due to shifting of the base, the structure can easily be repaired by removing individual pavers, re-leveling, and then reinstalling the same pavers.
Sherwood Landscape Construction prides ourselves on our knowledge of over three decades of the art in Landscape Construction.