How to choose between Concrete or Natural Stone pavers? Which is the best option for me?
Choosing pavers is an exciting time, and there are several factors to consider. Some paver types are better suited to some applications than others, and to ensure you get a top-notch paved area that's going to serve its purpose well over the years, it's essential to make the right decision.
While there are many options available, here are two of the most popular ones to help you make your choice:
Like many other paver types, concrete comes in a generous selection of textures, colours, shapes, and sizes. They are extremely versatile and can be used for driveways, patios, pathways, and everything in between. One, two or more different paver types can be used depending on the overall look you are after, and they are suited to both residential and commercial projects. The most common installation technique for concrete pavers is on a compacted bed of soil and sand. They tend to be permeable which allows water to seep through them and into the ground below, rather than pooling and running off the top of the pavers. Weeds can be a problem as there isn't typically any grout between each paver so, ensure that they are laid correctly to prevent weeds from shifting your pavers out of place.
Natural stone pavers have always been and continue to be a crowd favourite and are widely used in both interior and exterior applications. This paver type is manufactured using natural stone rather than being man-made using additives or additional materials. You are getting a hardscaping material in its most natural form, and this reflects in its appearance. Whether your home is mid-century, contemporary or something in between, natural stone works well to complement any style of home. Unlike some other hardscaping materials, natural stone is timeless and will continue to look great for decades to come.
How to determine which of the two is the better option for you
Here are some things to think of when deciding which paver type will be the most suitable for your project:
How much weight it will be exposed to daily
The pavers you choose for a driveway require more consideration than say a low weight-bearing hardscaped area such as a patio. The pavers used for a driveway need to be exceptionally strong, and if it is sloping, you may need to consider an interlocking paver for additional strength. Both concrete and natural stone are good choices for this application. Concrete is economical and hardwearing. Natural stone is slightly more expensive but can look more appealing. Some good natural stone pavers include bluestone and granite. For a driveway, it's recommended you use a 50mm paver to ensure it doesn't crack or chip under the weight of vehicles.
Whether you're paving your driveway or outdoor space, you'll need to consider the integrity of the paver and how well it fairs against scratches. The last thing you want to do is spend a sizeable amount of money on beautiful pavers only to discover large scratches in them from the kid's scooters. Concrete is very resilient whereas some natural stone pavers are more prone to wear than others.
Quality stone pavers can be expensive so, it's a good idea to determine how much you'd be happy to pay to avoid blowing out the budget and then potentially having to cut back on other things to compensate. Not all pavers are equal, make sure you are purchasing a quality product to ensure its longevity. While cheaper pavers may cost less upfront, their lifespan may be less too.
Natural stone has one up on concrete pavers in the appearance department as they often have unique formations, marbles, and swirls throughout which makes them an attractive feature in any setting. Although, you can create a striking focal point by using different coloured concrete pavers to form a pattern. At the end of the day, it comes down to you and your preferences.
If the area you are paving is prone to water pooling, drainage should be of uttermost importance. Water will need to be able to run off and away from the house when it rains, to aid this further, installing permeable pavers can help. Rather than the water sitting on top of the paver, it seeps through the paver and into the ground underneath. Pervious concrete pavers are a good choice in this instance, they are a little extra when it comes to cost, but the benefits they can provide in terms of ensuring your home is protected from the water makes them a worthwhile purchase.
Concrete vs natural stone
If your budget is tight, you can't go past concrete pavers. They look good, offer premium traction, and are long-lasting. If your budget allows, natural stone can add a touch of luxury and comfort to your outdoor areas. They require little to no upkeep over the years and age very well. Regardless of which one you choose; they are both superior options and can help you to transform your exterior into something special that is not only functional but looks fantastic too.
Speak to the professionals
If you are considering a paving project at your place, contact the professionals here at Bonita Stone. We hand-make a collection of beautiful pavers designed for our love of the great outdoors, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Our pavers can be used for driveways, paths, entertainment areas, around swimming pools, patios, and so much more. Contact us today!