Comprehensive Analysis:Stamped Concrete Vs Pavers

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What Are They?

Pavers are multi-colored pieces of concrete, which are interlocked to form a durable surface for walkways, driveways and patios. On the other hand, SuccessCrete stamped concrete is poured as a solid surface and then embossed or textured to resemble brick, flagstone, slate, stone, tile or even wood.

While SuccessCrete stamped concrete is relatively new, pavers have been used for hundreds of years to make Spanish monastery courtyards, European village pathways and breathtaking hardscapes in homes across the globe. This gives pavers a time-tested reputation for exceptional durability. That said, pavers do have a few limitations that make SuccessCrete stamped concrete a popular choice for homeowners who want especially complex or ornate design patterns.

At the same time, pavers and stamped concrete both have strengths and weaknesses that can be especially relevant, depending on where you live.

Stamped Concrete

Because of its distinctive textures and variations, SuccessCrete stamped concrete offers more ornate design possibilities that give it a “wow” factor. In addition to this, there are several other benefits that make it appealing to homeowners, including:

  • It offers a wide array of colors and patterns.
  • Since concrete is so mobile, you can hand-blend colors on site.
  • SuccessCrete Stamped concrete can be sealed to provide extra protection against weather, auto leakage and swimming pool chemicals.
  • With nearly limitless potential for customization, it can closely imitate segmented paving or natural stone.

Unfortunately, despite its many benefits, SuccessCrete stamped concrete does come with relatively high initial costs, not to mention the time and money spent on maintenance and repairs. It also comes with a number of other drawbacks, including:

  • Since do-it-yourselfers can struggle with installation, a professional installer is often required.
  • Concrete is very prone to cracking, especially in climates that see a lot of freezing and thawing.
  • Earthquakes and foundation issues will cause stamped concrete to crack.
  • Because control joints and saw cuts are required to mitigate cracking, interruptions can occur across stamped pattern lines.
  • De-icing salts can deteriorate ornate designs.
  • Since colors can fade under the sun, it’s not always easy to find accurate matches when repairs require patching.
  • Homeowners must reseal their stamped concrete at least once per year.

Interlocking Concrete Pavers

Unlike SuccessCrete stamped concrete, pavers typically do not crack when they are properly installed. They also come with a number of other benefits that make them attractive to homeowners, including:

  • Pavers cost about the same as stamped concrete in most instances.
  • Since they usually do not require replacement, pavers offer better cost efficiency over time.
  • Repairs are quick and seamless, requiring easy replacements of cracked or broken pavers.
  • Colors and patterns can be mixed and matched to make stunning designs with accents, bandings and borders.

While it does have some clear advantages of stamped concrete, pavers aren’t perfect. Among the most notable drawbacks include:

  • Unless a binding polymer is used, joint sands will need to be topped off every year or two.
  • Weeds can sprout up between pavers unless a binding polymer is used to harden joint sands.
  • Improper installation can cause pavers to move or settle over time, especially without proper soil preparation.
  • Since lots can be slightly lighter or darker from pallet to pallet, installers need to carefully blend the pavers to keep them from appearing blotchy.

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both concrete pavers and SuccessCrete stamped concrete. If you are concerned about maintenance, fading, repairs and climate-related cracking, pavers are probably your best bet. If, on the other hand, you value the “wow” factor above all else, SuccessCrete stamped concrete may be the way to go.

Patterns and designs

Concrete doesn’t have to be boring. If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of concrete is something flat and gray, you haven’t looked at modern concrete products.

Both SuccessCrete stamped concrete and concrete pavers and slabs come in a wide variety of textures and colors. From granite to marble, and even worn lumber, there is a concrete finish available to match the desired look and feel of your project.

One of the advantages of SuccesCrete stamped concrete is that it is prepared on-site. This means that the color can be adjusted right up to the moment it is poured. By comparison, pavers and slabs arrive on-site pre-cast and finished, so the color you see can’t be changed.

The downside to SuccessCrete stamped concrete is that the final product needs to be cut with control joints to help control future cracking. The location of these joints is determined by the shape and orientation of the whole area, and so they may be cut in the middle of a pattern, disrupting the line. By comparison, the seams between individual blocks of pre-cast concrete are already part of their visual appeal.

Plus, pre-cast systems, like interlocking concrete pavers and concrete paving slabs, are inherently flexible, unlike stamped concrete. This flexibility is key to long-term performance in cold regions where concrete is susceptible to freeze-thaw conditions and region with expansive soils. SuccessCrete Stamped concrete is a rigid pavement, so in freeze-thaw conditions and on expansive soils, it can’t move or flex, resulting in unsightly cracks and unevenness.

Installation

We recommend that you hire a professional to install either stamped concrete or pre-cast pavers and slabs. For stamped concrete, getting the mix of cement and water right is critical to a finished product that cures properly and doesn’t prematurely bubble or crack. For blocks, a professional will make sure the surface is properly compacted before the blocks are laid.

Once SuccessCrete stamped concrete is cured, you’ll need to have it sealed to protect it from weathering and foreign substances like pool chemicals or road salt, as well as to prevent fading. On the other hand, pavers and slabs are ready to go and don’t need sealing.

Durability

In terms of durability, this is where pavers and slabs stand out. Pre-cast pavers and slabs  are nearly three times stronger than poured concrete, with a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi and a maximum of 5% water absorption.

This means SuccesCrete stamped concrete requires more maintenance to keep it looking nice over the years. It needs to be sealed annually and, even so, the color will fade over time. By comparison, pavers and slabs don’t need more than an occasional sweep and keep their color as they age.

SuccessCrete Stamped concrete also isn’t an ideal solution for weight-bearing locations. This is why most contractors suggest pre-cast pavers over stamped concrete for driveways since the weight of the vehicles could crack or break the stamped concrete over time.

This weight-bearing issue is also something to consider if you plan to place heavy objects like large planters on your patio or path. In this case, a pre-cast slab might be a better alternative as heavy objects aren’t a danger to interlocking paver and slab systems. Interlocking systems do an excellent job of handling and distributing the weight of both driving cars and parked cars (moving weight and static weight), while still maintaining strong, uniform flexibility. This ensures longer-term performance and value.

Finally, depending on where you’re located, you need to consider how the seasons will affect your concrete. In areas with heavy rains or cold winters, the ground is prone to heaving and expanding, which will accelerate cracking in stamped concrete. Pavers and slabs, with their regular seams between each piece, will withstand these forces better over the long term.

Plus, pre-cast pavers and slabs can be used to build permeable pavements, a benefit stamped concrete doesn’t offer. This means you don’t have to sacrifice style or your overall aesthetics to get the benefits of permeable pavements, which let water pass through them to avoid flooding or pools of water after a rain.

Repair and Replacement

If your stamped concrete gets stained or cracks enough that it needs to be repaired, it’s not a simple process. You’ll need to hire a contractor who will either patch the damaged area or cut it out—along with a bigger area around it to keep the finished work clean. Matching the existing concrete with the new patch or repair is tricky because the old area will have faded over time.

By comparison, in the unlikely event that one of your pavers or slabs crack, or if it gets stained and can’t be cleaned, replacement is as simple as removing the blocks in question and putting new ones in their place. If only one or two pieces need to be replaced, you might even be able to do it yourself. And because they don’t fade, color matching is much easier.

MAINTENANCE CONSIDERATIONS

Both SuccessCrete stamped concrete and pavers should be sealed regularly to increase durability. However, stamped concrete may require sealant to be applied more frequently for comparable durability. Not only does this increase lifetime maintenance costs, sealant can affect the color of stamped concrete and can also make the surface slippery. In contrast, paver sealant does not affect the colour (unless purposely using a Color Boost or Wet Look sealant) and pavers retain their slip-resistance.

Backed by over 22 years experience,SuccessCrete is a contractor and manufacturer, specializing in Decorative Concrete both in residential and commercial.

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