The Scoop on Stamped Concrete Vs. Concrete Pavers: Tips for Building Your Patio

patio plays a major role in the overall look and feel of your home’s entire landscape. That’s why choosing the design, color, shape – and most of all the material – that your patio is composed of is a decision that should probably not be made on a whim. Instead, it is encouraged to take some time, do a little research, and become familiar with your options and their long-term ramifications before reaching a final verdict. Unlike a lot of other decisions, this is one that is in fact “set in stone” (not that you cannot change it later on, but doing so may require a bit of an overhaul), so you’ll want to be certain you have made the right one. If this sounds overwhelming, fret not; rather, read on for a crash course and some guidance on How to Build a Patio.

Patios can be  made of either concrete pavers (also referred to as “pave stones” or “patio pavers”) or stamped concrete. Each has its pros and cons, many of which will be addressed throughout this article to help guide you in the direction of the patio that best suits you, your taste, space, budget and more.

A Deeper Look into Concrete Pavers

Pavers are a relatively easy to install, low-maintenance option with virtually unlimited design options. Paving stones are ideal not only for patios, but for walkways, pool decks, garden areas, floors, and sidewalks as well. Browsing at all of the different types will surely spark some terrific backyard patio ideas, too.

If you do your homework on how to properly install pavers, you will have a finished product that not only looks beautiful but also stands the test of time. Pavers need to be installed one by one which may be a bit time consuming and can become somewhat tedious, but it will pay off in the long run by reducing maintenance requirements when compared to one large slab of stamped concrete. Installing interlocking concrete pavers may require a little more attention to detail, if a repair is needed, it is not as big of a task to replace one or two pavers as having to repair a huge crack in a stamped concrete slab. Another plus is that there is no time needed for curing, so the pavers can be walked on immediately after installation.

If you are concerned with shifting over time and weeds growing through joints, there are solutions for that. The use of polymeric sands will help to maintain the joint over time and also deter – and for quite some time, prevent – pesky weeds from poking through your beautiful patio or walkway. Combining the use of polymeric sands and an interlocking paver system, the instance of repair and maintenance is greatly reduced.

The maintenance of concrete pavers is fairly low. Occasional sweeping and hosing – and light re-sanding every three to five years – is enough to keep your pavers polished. Pavers are skid-resistant, and if permeable pavers are used water can drain right through the pavers, thus reducing water-runoff pollution. For that reason and because they are so densely packed when they are made, pavers are less at risk for cracks and breakage. In the case that a crack or other type of damage is found, you need only replace the damaged one(s) – you do not have to restore a huge slab of your patio.

With pavers comes a great degree of versatility – something all landscape artists cheerily welcome as they plot their designs. Pavers come in a variety colors, shapes, textures, sizes and more. Designers can choose a monochromatic design featuring pavers of all the same color but in different shades, shapes and sizes. Or they can opt for a more off-beat look by mixing and matching different types to create a deeper dimension distinguished by remarkable patterns, and eye-catching borders and bandings.

A Deeper Look into A Stamped Concrete Patio

A stamped concrete patio is essentially concrete which has been poured over a level surface and, while still wet, stamped to mimic a brick pattern or other design. Oftentimes, primary colors followed by an accent color are added to the concrete mixture which is then stamped with a polyurethane stamp. While there are many styles of stamp design forms, you may be limited to what stamp forms are available in your area. During the curing phase (about 3-4 days), the surface cannot be walked on. Rather, this is when it is sealed for protection from dangers like pool chemicals and other elements that can speed up its wear and tear. The sealant also helps prevent cracking, chipping and premature rusting of any rebar embedded in the cement.

Maintenance of this type of patio is probably its worst downfall. Although it is fairly easy to install since the process consists of laying down a big slab of cement instead of installing pavers one-by-one, it does not fare well when the ground shifts; rather, it develops cracks quite easily. Even a simple spider crack is a sign of doom for a stamped patio because the only way to fix it to replace the entire slab of concrete and essentially start from square one. On the contrary, interlocking concrete pavers are more flexible and can budge along with the earth as it shifts. Clearly, repair of a cracked concrete patio is a big negative particularly because it requires ongoing upkeep which can cost you hundreds of dollars. If this type of ongoing repair cost is not conducive to your budget – or your time and energy – pavers may be the way to go.

A stamped patio has its pros, too, of course, as it is quite versatile in the ways in which it can be arranged. Novice landscapers can choose from a variety of patterns, colors and textures – and they can be used for a variety of places in your home including around the pool and indoor entryways. Plus you can simulate a number of looks like old-fashioned brick and other designs.

Whether preparing to install a new pathway to your front door, a twisting footpath for your garden or just browsing around for backyard patio ideas, this brief guide on how to build a patio should offer a solid launching pad for sparking your imagination, doodling out some sketches and finally putting your blueprint in action.

The wonderful thing about landscaping is that it offers the designer free reign to really let loose, jot down some ideas, no matter how eccentric they may seem, and experience a satisfaction unlike any other as you watch your dreams change into reality. From backyard patio ideas to around the house at your very doorstep, options are endless for turning your environment into one that reflects you and your family. This is your time to turn that your living space into your actual “Home Sweet Home.”