Concrete and Paving

Are you thinking about sprucing up your patio, driveway, or walkway? If so, you'll probably approach two popular options: concrete and paving. Although they are very familiar and basic options for refurbishment, each one of them has its distinctive pros and cons that deserved to be taken into consideration. Here, we have a guide for you to find your way out of the confusion for which material is a better choice for your walkway, driveway, or other outdoor living spaces.

1. Maintenance
One of the biggest concerns for homeowners for outdoor renovation is the maintenance required from time to time. With concrete, you'll most likely have the advantage of a low level of maintenance. One big drawback which comes with selecting concrete is that weeds start to grow through the slabs, which means the fewer the slabs, the better it is.

Another issue accompanying concrete is that stains and cracks which develop with time. However, a protective sealant can be used to prevent challenges like stains to some extent, though they are still inevitable. The cracks may be filled and stains to be washed with power washing, yet they can't be avoided altogether.

Pavements have an upper hand when it comes to cracking since they are less prone to cracks due to ground movement and temperature changes in comparison to concrete. Any deep or hard impacts on the pavements do have the capability to cause cracks, but they can be easily replaced as they are individual pavement tiles.

Pavings do get stains too, but they are easily disguised because of the natural patterns of paving stones. You may have difficulty with weed growth between the stone joints, and to overcome this problem, homeowners will have to pluck them or spray weed killers on regular basis.

2. Durability
Pavements have a special design that withstands temperature changes and ground movements. Furthermore, the joints between stones help in the drainage of water. If cracks develop in any of your pavement tiles, most manufacturers give a lifetime guarantee with them, which will enable you to get a free replacement. You can easily pull off the DIY installation of individual blocks.


3. Installation Level
A very important thing to act upon is not getting your hands involved when it comes to installing concrete or pavements. Their installation requires a lot of steps, and if you miss out on even a single step, it can cause immense consequences to the rest of the groundwork. The better way out of preventing such complications is to call out the professionals to do the job.

Concrete has moderately less labor-intensive installation over pavements. The following are the steps included:
1. Digging
2. Leveling
3. Preparing the base
4. Setting the forms
5. Pelting the concrete
After that, let the concrete dry and set it for a couple of days before you use it.

Paving stones are much more complicated, and their process of installation takes longer than concrete. The following are the steps for the installation of paving natural stones:
1. Digging
2. Leveling
3. Sub-base compaction
4. Installation of Geotextile fiber
5. Preparation of Base
6. Preparation of Sand
7. Placing pavement tiles
8. Cutting the borders
9. Setting up the bond beam
10. Abridging the stones
11. Sealing pavements
The pavement can be walked on immediately after the sealant dries up.

4. Price Comparison
Concrete slabs are less costly than paving stones. Usually, it costs around $7 to $10 per square foot for concrete slabs. As for the paving stones, it costs around $9 to $14 per square foot.

It is essential to take into consideration the thought of not only the upfront costs of these materials but also their additional long-term costs. Concrete may be less costly, but over time, you will realize that their repairs and replacements are so much expensive. Meanwhile, pavements are remarkably durable and easy to be replaced. Their maintenance cost is lower because, for their replacement, only an individual stone can be replaced too, and the stones last longer than a concrete surface.

5. Rate
When you talk about increasing your property value, you may choose pavements compared to concrete. Since pavements will increase the curb appeal of your house and even captivate potential homebuyers, adding value to your home. On the other hand, concrete doesn't add much value to the house.

6. Robustness
While concrete slabs are pretty strong and stable towards any impacts, paving stones are even more durable and stringent than concrete, and they can hold up extra weight upon their surface. Most pavements can stand up to 8,000 PSI on an average scale, whereas concrete can withhold to about 2,500 PSI. Concrete is more susceptible to cracks due to a fair amount of traffic load or foot weight-bearing capacity, whereas pavements can withstand higher pressure levels and are less likely to crack.

7. Looks
As discussed above, pavements are believed to be more attractive in contrast to concrete, as they increase your house's curb appeal. Pavements come with diversity in their size, colors, and patterns, which also offer customization choices. There is a lower chance for pavements to fade or wear out in high-traffic areas than concrete due to their color being rooted all over the stone. Homeowners have the perks of selecting from a long list of different types of pavements, from which most of them are made of slate, sandstone, granite, or travertine.

Take notes that traditional concrete is not much appealing, but to compensate for it, there is still an option left for increasing its appeal: to choose upgraded concrete. Stamped concrete has a design stamped onto the base, which is more attractive as compared to plain concrete. Moreover, adding a tint to it acts as a cherry on top to give off a dynamic appearance. Upgraded concrete costs more than the usual concrete installation and it helps diminish the appearance of stains and cracks, so it reduces the cost of maintenance over time.

Before you hurry into deciding which material you want for your outdoor living space, you must consider parameters like style, maintenance, durability, and cost. If you opt for concrete, that's a solid choice, while pavements, on the other hand, offer value to your home if you can afford the upfront price.

8. Restoration
Talking about repairing pavements is a lot easier than concrete because if there occurs a crack, you won't need to get all of your groundwork replaced. You would only need to replace that one particular stone tile, not the ones around it too.

Repairs done to the concrete are much more challenging because if the slab cracks, then the repair needs to be made from underneath, which means removing the concrete and then laying a new slab.


9. Safer
When concrete gets wet, it can become extremely slippery, especially if it is treated with a protective sealant or if it's been painted. When the concrete is slippery, the shoes won't grip it and eventually cause you to fall.
Pavements, on the other hand, tend not to have any issues like getting slippery as the concrete slabs do. It is because they are placed individually, and you have the choice of selecting raised edges pavements, which provides a better grip on your shoes. However, if you happen to choose concrete pavements, then you will have to deal with the same problem, as they on getting wet also become slippery.


Pavements

What are the PROS of installing pavements?
· Unlimited options of designs
· Maintenance is low
· Easily repaired
· Visually pleasing
· No cracks
· Greater resale value

What are the CONS of installing pavements?
· Costly
· May loosen with time
· Not easy to install
· Cleaning is hard


Concrete

What are the PROS of installing concrete?
- Economical
- Durable and tough
- Easily installed
- Easily maintained

What are the CONS of installing concrete?
- Limited options for design
- Repairs are complex and expensive
- Stains with time
- Can crack and spill
- Can become slippery when wet
- Gets affected by external temperature


What is the Cost of Concrete and Paving?
The cost of concrete is dependent upon several factors, which are:

- It requires more labor cost, which starts from $20 per square meter and goes up to $50 per square meter for a simple paving job.
- For an outdoor paving job, access and terrain jobs will have a significant impact on the intensive labor the contractors have to do.
- Work can proceed quickly if done on a flat level surface, and it will cost less as well.
- Cost is also determined by the style of paving. The patterned driveway made up of small pavements will be more expensive than the driveway made from large square pavements.
- If you're laying a garden path, one may be able to get away with laying a sand bed and laying natural stone pavements on top of it. You could choose tiles, but they may crack over time. A concrete base is a must when paving a driveway. Estimation of the cost of concrete is always a good idea. A 75mm thick concrete bed is sufficient for laying a path, but for a concrete driveway, the thickness should be 100mm.

An average cost of $50 and $75 per square meter is expected for concrete pavements. For an area of 50 square meters with easy access and little preparation, expect to pay $1500 to $1800 for a crushed rock base. For a 50 square meter site with easy access and little preparation, expect to pay $2300 to $ 2800 for a poured concrete base. For basic design installation, pavements cost $4 to $6 per square foot. Your total estimated cost depends on design features included patterns, borders, and color combinations.



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