Are you trying to decide whether you should use pavers or concrete? Below, we’ll discuss the differences in strength between concrete and pavers. We’ll also touch on some of the pros and cons of concrete and pavers.
Pavers are usually stronger than concrete. Pavers are created with more density than concrete, so they are more resistant to water and less prone to cracking. However, this is all dependent on the type of pavers and the quality of the concrete.
Some people might be wondering if it’s worth it to spend time installing concrete pavers. In the sections below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the strength of pavers and whether they are more durable than regular concrete slabs.
Why Pavers Are Stronger than Concrete
Below, we’ll talk about some of the reasons that pavers are usually stronger than concrete. As you’ll see, pavers must be manufactured to a specific standard, whereas concrete can be quite variable in the way it’s created.
After we talk about the strength of pavers and concrete, we’ll touch on some of the general pros and cons of each, so you can decide which one is right for you.
Reasons pavers are often stronger than concrete:
- Pavers and manufactured to withstand higher pressure
- Pavers are resistant to cracking from outside forces
- Pavers resist water absorption, which reduces cracking
- Pavers don’t require to same long-term maintenance for strength
Note: the quality, as well as the environment, will play a huge part in whether the pavers are stronger than concrete. Indeed, some types of concrete that are reinforced with rebar and poured to extreme thicknesses may be stronger than pavers in some instances. However, if you’re comparing two equal sizes and thicknesses, the paver will usually be stronger.
Pavers are Built to withstand Higher Pressures than Concrete
Most concrete is made to withstand about 2000-3000 psi, though there is specialty concrete that can hold more. Pavers are made to handle up to 12000 psi. As you can see, the manufacturing standard for pavers is much higher than that for concrete. Part of this might be that concrete is more difficult to regulate. People can pour their own concrete slabs, so it’s impossible to ensure they follow all the steps required for maximum strength.
Pavers are a smaller unit, and since they don’t really support each other in the homogenous way that concrete does, they need to be stronger to achieve the same effect. However, resistance to cracking is not the only thing that makes pavers so durable. Let’s talk about some more reasons pavers are strong.
Pavers are Malleable and Don’t Build Up Pressure
If a root begins to grow under some pavers, the pavers might move but they don’t crack. Since pavers are just placed flat onto the ground, they don’t begin to build up pressure. If the ground moves, the pavers move with it.
On the other hand, roots can cause concrete to crack, as can hollow areas underneath the concrete. Let’s talk about the relationship between pavers and water.
Pavers Resist Water
Since pavers are denser than concrete, this also means they absorb less water. You may not realize it, but concrete can act like a sponge. This especially becomes a problem in cold climates where the temperature drops below freezing.
An unsealed driveway will soak up water. Then, when the water freezes, it leads to cracking. Pavers allow the water to run off them, as well as not soaking up as much water in the first place.
Now, let’s talk about some other practical pros and cons of concrete and pavers.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Slab vs. Paver Stones
We’ve talked specifically about the strength of pavers and concrete, but now let’s talk about some of the other pros and cons of each. Anyone who’s trying to decide between concrete or stone pavers should know what they’re getting into.
Here’s a list of issues we’ll compare between pavers and concrete:
- Repair and replacement
- Style and design
- Ease of installation
Let’s look at these in more depth.
Repair and Replacement: Pavers vs. Concrete
Let’s start with concrete. Over time, concrete will crack and chip. When this happens, you’ll have to make repairs. Sometimes, concrete will need to be completely torn up and replaced, especially if you want it to look normal again. Otherwise, you’re left with patch marks that are difficult to conceal. Concrete repair can be done, but it’s not easy.
On the other hand, pavers are much easier to repair and can be done by any homeowner who would like to do it themselves. All they need to do is remove the cracked or chipped pavers and then replace them with new stones – done. There’s no need for mixing concrete or getting out the jackhammer.
Overall, pavers win the repair category.
Design and Style: Pavers vs. Concrete
Concrete isn’t known to be the most dazzling-looking thing; however, when it’s poured and placed with care, it can certainly look nice, especially when the edges are properly manicured and maintained and when it is kept swept and sealed.
Pavers allow homeowners to achieve an infinite number of designs. For someone who wants to make their driveway or patio look unique, pavers are definitely the way to go. Done right, pavers are more eye-catching than concrete. But that’s not the whole story. . .
If you properly maintain pavers and ensure that weeds don’t grow in between the stones, then pavers will probably win this category. On the other hand, if your pavers were not properly installed, they can become overgrown in a hurry. We’ll say the style category is a tie, with a slight edge to the pavers.
Ease of Installation: Pavers vs. Concrete
When it comes to installation, this is a tricky one to calculate. Let’s start with concrete. Most of the time, you will need to hire a professional to place a concrete slab. You can certainly do it yourself, but it takes time to get the base correct, and you need to understand how concrete works and how to prepare the surface as it dries. This takes skill. If you do it wrong, you will have a mess on your hands that isn’t easy to clean up.
Pavers are probably more conducive to the DIYer, as they can be purchased from your local hardware store and placed on the path or the patio. Yes, there is a lot of work involved with pavers, but if you make a mistake, you can go back and fix it. For someone who will be DIYing their path or patio, pavers are probably the way to go. For someone who’s hiring a professional to install their patio, regardless of the material, then it’s a toss-up.
Ease of maintenance: Pavers vs concrete
Maintenance is a tough one to gauge. Both pavers and concrete will require a level of yearly maintenance, and if either of them is neglected then they will end up looking pretty shabby.
Concrete will need to be swept and washed from time to time. It’s also a good idea to seal concrete driveways, as this will help prevent them from cracking and staining. If concrete is correctly installed, then it won’t require as much maintenance and repair.
Pavers don’t need to be sealed necessarily. However, if the pavers weren’t installed with a good weed locking layer underneath, then the homeowners will need to pull or spray weeds from time to time. Also, pavers do seem to be more likely to become uneven (this largely depends on how they are installed).
Overall, maintenance is probably a toss-up.
Price of Patio material: Pavers vs. Concrete
When it comes to price, concrete will usually be cheaper. This is true if you’ll be installing it yourself, or if you’ll be hiring someone to come and install it for you.
Nice pavers are expensive, and if you have a large area that needs a lot of pavers, you could end up paying a significant amount of money to get them installed. With that said, pavers come with the benefit of longevity, and they are easy to repair if needed.
Of course, you’ll need to consider the size of the pathway or patios. If you’re just placing a really small area, then you won’t see a huge price difference.
Now, let’s go over our final words on pavers vs concrete.
Last Take on the Strength of Pavers vs. Concrete
Pavers will be stronger than concrete. They are made to withstand more pounds per square inch (psi) than concrete; however, this will be determined by the size of the paver and the thickness of the concrete.
Pavers have other advantages over concrete as well, they are easier to repair, arguably easier to install, and they are easier to personalize into a specific style. However, concrete will usually be cheaper per square foot.
The best thing you can do is look at some pavers vs concrete in real life and see what you like. Locate a friend who has experience with each and ask them about their experience.