When you’re upgrading a landscape, creating the right walkways, driveways, landings, and patios can ensure the space has the perfect mix of usability and style. Stamped concrete and pavers are both good solutions, but each have some pros and cons.
Let’s take a closer look at stamped concrete vs. pavers, to see which is the right fit for your next landscaping project.
What is Stamped Concrete?
Stamped concrete, also known as textured or imprinted concrete, is a concrete base topped with a texture or pattern. It’s poured into place using large forms. At first glance, it may look like brick, flagstone, slate, tile, or even a grainy wood surface.
Advantages of Stamped Concrete
Durability is a huge advantage of stamped concrete. It has the structural strength concrete is known for and will last many years even in high-traffic areas. That’s why you’ll often see it outside all kinds of commercial buildings, like restaurants and offices.
Flexibility is another benefit. It can be stamped into a wide variety of patterns and textures, blending in with existing landscaping or standing out as a feature on its own. You can add custom colors, mold it into odd-shaped spaces, create special textures, or build it up for visual impact.
Safety is another big benefit of stamped concrete. It can be designed and textured specifically for use in areas where tripping must be minimized, like on access ramps, in children’s play areas, and around pools.
There is also beauty in stamped concrete for high-end home landscaping projects. With professional techniques and installation, stamped concrete looks upscale and sophisticated.
Limitations of Stamped Concrete
This is not a DIY project. Professional installation is absolutely essential with stamped concrete, to ensure consistency and prevent cracks down the line. The pros use a special concrete pouring process that produces consistent results every time.
Of course, this means there is a significant cost associated with stamped concrete. The initial cost can be high, and intricate patterns or special sealants can drive that cost higher.
Fading and patching is always a concern. Over time, bright colors may lighten in the sun and you may see reduced contrast between multiple colors in a design. Cracks could form, depending on Oklahoma weather and soil changes. This may mean patches are needed, which can be difficult to match if colors are faded.
What are Pavers?
Now let’s look at pavers. Unlike stamped concrete, which is poured in large batches over wide spaces, pavers are formed as individual blocks or shapes. They’re laid in place and surrounded with a polymer sand that locks them into position.
Advantages of Pavers
Lack of cracking is one of the biggest reasons people choose pavers over stamped concrete. Individual pavers rarely crack, and if they do, they can be popped out and replaced.
This means they can be a lower cost option in general, with easy and low-cost prospects for ongoing maintenance. However, in most applications of significant size, the total cost ends up being about the same as stamped concrete.
Design options are flexible with pavers. They can be laid out to create visually striking patterns and borders. Some people prefer the classic look of pavers, because they are more like brickwork and other old-world styles than stamped concrete.
Limitations of Pavers
Settling and moving is a major concern for pavers. Even with professional installation, erosion, geological changes, weather, and unexpected wear patterns can cause pavers to shift in position and create an uneven surface.
This is a significant safety issue in spaces where tripping hazards must be minimized. Pavers are not recommended for areas where children, older people, or those with limited mobility must have perfect footing.
Sand application is another aspect. Pavers are locked into place using a special kind of sand, which must be topped off periodically to maintain their position. Some people prefer not to deal with this kind of ongoing maintenance.
Finally, pavers take longer to install than stamped concrete, generally. The paver design must be laid out in advance, then maintained during sand application. This involves skill and patience that takes time.
The Bottom Line
Stamped concrete and pavers are both great choices for home or commercial use. After reading through the pros and cons of each, does one stand out in your mind as the best choice for your project?
Connect with R&M Concrete today to discuss the details and plan the perfect landscaping for your space.