A patio can add some instant curb appeal and value to your home and surrounding landscape. Not to mention some additional space to entertain and relax with family and friends in the outdoors. Understanding the different design options such as color, shape and type of materials will greatly benefit any homeowner who is considering adding a new concrete patio or replacing an older patio. We recommend working with a professional concrete contractor or landscape company to work through the design process to ensure that you get the exact look, feel and size patio that fits your needs.
When it comes to patio building materials, homeowners basically have two options which are concrete pavers or stamped concrete. Both materials have pros and cons. The purpose of this article to inform homeowners about those pros and cons so that they can ensure they get the perfect patio that best suites their style, space and budget.
Option #1: Concrete Pavers
Using concrete pavers to create an outdoor patio space is a good option for those that want an easy to install, low-maintenance option. Another reason that many homeowners choose concrete pavers is that the design options are virtually unlimited. Almost any design pattern, shape or size can be accomplished with concrete pavers. Concrete paving stones can also be used to create walkways, pool decks, garden areas, floors and sidewalks.
The key to concrete pavers to create patios and more is properly installing them. It is important to complete each step of the process to ensure they pavers stay in place and create a level surface. Paver installation can become a bit tedious as each paver must be laid separately, however the effort involved will be worth it in the long run. Another benefit of using concrete pavers is that if a specific area of the patio or sidewalk needs repair it is much easier to place a small section, unlike a large concrete slab. Concrete pavers do not need additional ‘curing’ time so they can eb walked on immediately after installation.
If concrete pavers are installed properly there is no need to worry about them shifting over time. Best practice is to use a polymeric sand to create the base for the patio pavers. This type of sand helps to maintain the joint over time and helps prevent weeds growing up through the pavers.
As previously mentioned, one of the pros for using concrete pavers is the low maintenance over time. Basically, to properly maintain your paver patio or walkway you only need to hose down and sweep occasionally. A light re-sanding may also be needed every 4-5 years. Pavers are densely packed when they are made which makes them very durable and less prone to cracking. If you find that a certain paver stone is cracked or damaged it is easy enough to replace that specific paver without disturbing the surrounding pavers. This is the reason we recommend purchasing some additional pavers to have on hand so that you don’t have to worry about trying to match the color and style in the future.
Concrete pavers are a popular material choice because they come in such a large variety of colors, shapes, textures and sizes. The design options are truly unlimited to create a unique patio, sidewalk or walkway.
Option #2: Stamped Concrete Patio
The second material option for patios, walkways, driveways and sidewalks is stamped concrete. To create a stamped concrete surface, the concrete is poured out over a leveled surface and stamps are used while the concrete is still wet to mimic the look of bricks, flagstone, etc. In order to achieve the look of bricks or flagstone rock, the concrete is colored a base color and then accent colors are added into the mixture to achieve the look. While many concrete stamps exist to create a variety of designs, there are some limitations based on the stamp forms that are available. Unlike concrete pavers, stamped concrete surfaces must be allowed to ‘cure’ for about 3-4 days and the surface can not be walked on during this time. A sealant is added to the stamped concrete surface during the curing phase to help protect against weather elements, harmful chemicals, cracking and chipping. The sealant process is very important to a long-lasting stamped concrete patio or other surface.
Stamped concrete surfaces tend to be installed quicker than interlocking concrete pavers since a large slab of concrete can be laid down all at once. There are also a large variety of patters, colors and textures to choose from allowing homeowners to create unique designs for their patios and walkways. Stamped concrete can also be textured so it is an ideal option for pool decks and other areas that get a lot of water.
Maintenance is probably the largest item on the stamped concrete con list. Large slabs of concrete tend to crack when the ground underneath shifts. Even small, spider cracks in a stamped concrete patio can cause trouble in a fairly short amount of time. If repair attempts don’t work the only other option is to replace the entire surface area as opposed to concrete pavers that can be replaced one at a time without causing damage to surrounding pavers.
Every situation, budget and landscape is different with unique needs! If you are considering a patio, footpath, concrete pool deck, sidewalk or driveway give our team of experts a call today so that we can start working on your project! Our team can walk you through the design phase and then expertly install a beautiful patio, on time and on budget!