The Difference Between Stamped Concrete and Pavers

[Posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Ashley Aguirre]

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Many people wonder what the difference is between stamped concrete and pavers. Since sometimes stamped concrete and pavers can look similar, it’s a good idea to understand the distinctions between the two before beginning your Houston stamped concrete projects.

Stamped Concrete Defined

Concrete is considered “stamped” when it has been marked with a pattern or texture so that it looks like brick, flagstone, slate, stone, tile, wood, or other types of patterns and textures. Stamped concrete works well in driveways, patios, pool decks, sidewalks, and walkways. Stamping concrete in Houston is generally a three-part process. First, color is poured into freshly mixed concrete to create a tint. Then, the concrete is poured into a form. Lastly, before it hardens, it is stamped with patterns and textures.

Pavers Defined

Pavers, also called brick pavers, paving stones and paving tiles, are often used to create driveways, patios, roads, walkways and many other outdoor features. Pavers are produced in factories by combining concrete and color and then pouring the mixture into a mold. They are installed by creating an edging, pouring a concrete base, covering it with sand, and then placing the pavers in a designed pattern. The pavers’ weight and the edging materials hold the pavers in place. Glues and other types of adhesives are not needed.

Facts on Pavers

Pavers don’t crack much since each piece moves independently from the others. When they do crack or get damaged, individual paver replacement is usually easy. Although it’s possible for pavers to shift and loosen with age, the base can be repaired without harming existing pavers. Since pavers are offered in many different shapes and colors, you will probably find it easy to harmonize them with the style of your home. And, they are especially known for adding appeal to gardens and patios.

Depending on your application, pavers can take longer to install than concrete, since each stone must be positioned by hand. The time it takes will depend on your project, but a driveway can take about two weeks. You can benefit from pavers, if you plan to keep your home for many years and can afford them, since some projects can initially cost 10 to 15% more than stamped concrete. However, you will save you money in the long run since projects made with pavers can cost less to repair.

Stamped Concrete Considerations

Stamped concrete can be poured into any shape you want or need and also comes in lots of colors. Although extremely durable, stamped concrete will most likely crack over time due to heavy loads, settlement, shrinking and swelling. These cracks can show up due to rain, freezes, thaws, drought, earthquakes, or when heavy cars are placed on driveways. Repairs made to stamped concrete are usually noticeable because almost all contractors find it difficult to match the original concrete’s design, tint, texture. Plus, the number of cracks and repairs can accumulate to a point where you may want to replace the stamped concrete entirely.

Again, the time it takes to pour and cure cement will depend on your project, but a driveway may only take about five days, so you will be able to use it quickly.  And, initially, stamped concrete is sometimes not as expensive as pavers. So, if you are short on cash and need a job done quickly, it may be beneficial to choose stamped concrete in that situation.