Whether you are considering building a patio, a walkway or a driveway, there are a few differences between pavers and concrete. Material selection is always an important part of the planning stages of a project, and while you might feel more comfortable spending less money on concrete up front due to the fact that pavers cost substantially more money, the trade-offs could leave you unsatisfied with the finished results.
Square Foot Price
Pavers are always more expensive than concrete due to the manufacturing process. While concrete is poured directly into an area and smoothed over by simple tools, pavers are created through a tedious process depending on the type of material they are created from. They are rectified to be similar in size, which requires complex machine processing. As of publication, concrete costs around $3 to $5 per square foot, while pavers generally run between $5 and $15 per square foot. Your area's cost of living will affect this price.
While the cost of living in your area will also affect the labor charges associated with professional installation of your patio, walkway or driveway, the labor costs of concrete installation versus paver installation is roughly the same. As of 2011, professionals from both arenas charge between $40 and $60 per hour as a general rule, although master craftsmen will charge significantly more.
While concrete is usually cheaper than pavers at installation, pavers require less in terms of long-term maintenance. While a professionally installed paver area will last a lifetime without needing anything other than the occasional sweeping or cleaning for personal preference, concrete can require sealing, patching and other maintenance depending on the type of concrete you have chosen. As a result, concrete can potentially be more expensive over time than pavers, depending on the environment.
One thing you should consider when deciding between pavers or concrete is the way concrete ages versus pavers. While pavers do cost more money to install up front, if they are installed properly you will never notice the aging of the installation. Concrete, on the other hand, is prone to cracking over the years, which causes unseemly visual defects. As the concrete shrinks during the curing process, expands and contracts with the seasons and settles over time, cracks are a natural occurrence, marring the surface.
Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.