Monday, 28 March 2016

Paving Stones vs. Stamped Concrete

Before I get into a bit more about the differences between “Concrete vs. Pavers”, we should mention the difference between “Concrete Contractors” and “Landscape Contractors”.

Contractors for either of the above mentioned products could be described as experienced long term contractors, with lots of equipment and experienced staff, versus someone new breaking into the business, perhaps under capitalized and with limited experience. Methods employed by these two installation crews can vary greatly. This affects the pricing and quality of the project.

Ground Preparation – excavation depth, tamping pressure and tools used, rebar (rebar size and spacing for concrete are crucial)

Pavers/Concrete – There are 3 types of Pavers and numerous qualities of Concrete

Concrete Pressure Relief Joints – Depth of cuts and experience dictates where cuts should be.

Concrete Sealers – There are many more sealers on the market now. Silicate Based, Acrylic, and water based densifiers are common with some contractors. Prairie Concrete in Saskatoon is a good source for your information on Sealers.

I believe that most Canadian suppliers are selling “Concrete Pavers”, although there are “Brick Pavers”, mostly shipped from the USA. Both pavers are cast under heat, making them strong. The brick pavers are made from clay and shale. They are a little more prone to efflorescence, typically brick pavers are available mostly in red or reddish brown earthy tones while concrete pavers come in a variety of colours.

Concrete purchased by reputable companies is normally a minimum 30mpa, or Dura mix. Dura mix is a standard trademark used by Saskatchewan Redi-mix plants, meeting a minimum standard used in our freeze thaw climates. With the addition of colours to mixes, sometimes the mix design in your concrete may be optimized or modified slightly.

My company, Rockscapes Concrete Service has been installing stamped concrete and Decorative concrete projects and / or Plain Broom finish driveways in and around Saskatoon for almost 20 years. We are a reputable standard in this industry. There is no doubt in my mind that properly maintained concrete driveway or patio can stand up very well. Notwithstanding, a concrete slab, in high water table area, high clay saturation in a freeze thaw climate will have movement and crack. But the concrete slab will stay reasonably flat, and if the rebar was positioned and lifted, and the concrete was of a good quality and maintained through the use of sealers and rinsing off the road-salts in spring, it should still wear very well.

The biggest complaint with paving stones seems to be ground movement. Once the pavers start to move and separate they sink, and gaps occur. My understanding is that most Paving Stone companies have maintenance or are willing to re-lift the pavers. I believe most of them do offer a warranty for this service. Paving stones are a very hard product and stand up well to salt damage without the use of sealers. A good size paving stone driveway may take a week or longer to install. It would be costly to be forced to continually pay and have them come and level your paving stones. This may be one of the reasons you will see more driveways made of concrete. Price is another factor!

Cost Comparisons – Pavers vs Concrete

My understanding of Paving Stones pricing and Concrete pricing is just a rough guideline, there are many factors that can affect this.

·      The grade of the land, how much fill needs to be moved or added.
·      Location and access are factors
·      Can equipment be used or is the job all hand work
·      How complicated is the job, is engineering required?
·      Are custom steps involved in the project?
·      Patio’s and Pool decks are often more difficult, and smaller square footage. Usually priced higher for this reason.

As a rough guideline:

Plain Broom Finish Concrete Driveways - $8.50 - $11.00 per square foot.
Plain Broom Finish Concrete Patio’s - $12.00 - $15.00 per square foot.

Stamped or Exposed Aggregate Concrete Driveways - $11.00 - $14.00 per square foot
Stamped or Exposed Aggregate Concrete Patio’s - $14.00 - $18.00 per square foot

Paving Stone Driveway - $10.00 - $15.00 per square foot
Paving Stone Patio - $17.00 - $25.00 per square foot

John Groves is the owner of Rockscapes Concrete Services in Saskatoon and these are his express opinions based on experience and feedback. John can be reached at 306-220-2333 or
#yxe #saskatoon #trustedsaskatoon #saskatoondriveway #saskatoonconcretecontractor #rockscapes


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