A new patio is a great way to turn your yard into a welcoming space for relaxing and entertaining outside — and few patios are as beautiful, functional, and long-lasting as those made with pavers, which are blocks made from clay brick, concrete, stone, or other materials. A paver patio may cost a little more than a standard poured concrete patio, but the end result will be more eye-catching and will give you a better return on your investment — around 69 percent versus the 45 percent you could expect from a standard concrete patio.
Paver patios present a variety of material, color, style, and layout options, providing homeowners with nearly endless choices for their final design. Aside from their versatility, most paver patios are nonslip, low maintenance, and durable (most pavers can last up to 50 years), and if a few pavers are damaged, they can simply be swapped out.
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So how much does a paver patio cost? Here's what you need to budget — and how to hire for the job.
The national average for the total cost of a paver patio is $3,400, but prices vary dramatically based on the patio size, materials, and labor expenses, with the average cost per square foot being between $8 and $25.
Choosing a Design
Before you take efforts to install the patio, be sure to create a patio design that suits your home's style and your personal preferences. You'll need to determine the size and shape of your patio space, the material and shape of the pavers, and the layout pattern of the blocks. Some of the most common layout patterns include herringbone, concentric, jigsaw puzzle, modern, and circular. You may also consider building matching walls, benches, columns, or stairs on the patio as well as including amenities like an outdoor kitchen or fire pit.
How Are Paver Patios Installed?
Most paver patios are made of three basic layers: gravel, sand, and pavers. The gaps between the pavers are typically filled with sand for what's known as a dry installation, but some installers prefer to fill the gaps with mortar or grout depending on the material and the local climate.
Whether you opt to hire a professional to build your patio or like the idea of doing it as a DIY project, it pays to know how the patio will be constructed ahead of time. The actual installation process begins with the ground preparation. This is done by marking out where the patio will be placed and then excavating around 7 to 9 inches of soil to create a level base plus a few extra inches equal to the height of the pavers.
Once the required soil has been removed, the remaining dirt will need to be graded and evened out with a gentle slope leading away from the home for drainage. The soil should be tamped down and then covered with a weed barrier to prevent roots from growing into your base materials and to minimize settling of pavers.
Next, at least 6 inches of gravel should be added to create a drainage base; more may be required for particularly wet or rainy areas. Half of the gravel should be added and tamped down before the second half is poured on and tamped down again. A 1- to 2-inch layer of sand will then be added and leveled out with a board. The completed sand layer should be just high enough that the pavers will sit 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the surrounding landscaping so water does not puddle on the patio.
The pavers should be gently tapped into the sand with a rubber mallet and care needs to be taken to ensure they are level with one another. A chisel or wet saw can be used to cut pavers as needed. Next, edging (metal, plastic, or wood) needs to be added to keep the pavers and sand in place. Then, a broom should be used to sweep polymeric sand into the gaps between the pavers. Once everything is perfect, sealant can be added to the paver surfaces if desired.
Paver Patio Installation Costs
The average cost for a paver patio is around $3,400, with a typical price range of $1,900 to $7,000. A patio's specific price will vary dramatically based on the size, whether a contractor is hired, and the materials used. A typical cost range for materials and installation is between $8 and $25 per square foot. Just the pavers and base materials themselves typically cost between $4 and $10 per square foot, but some high-end natural stone pavers cost as much as $50 per square foot. Those who want a wet install patio that uses mortar or grout can expect the price to be $2 to $6 more per square foot depending on the adhesive material and the layout.
Those who want to save money on their patio can decide to go the DIY route, but it is important to recognize that while this project is not the most difficult home improvement project, there are many ways it can be done wrong (particularly when creating the base layer), leaving you with a shoddy, uneven patio that may only last a few years. On top of that, the job is very tedious and labor intensive.
Those going the DIY route will typically need to rent equipment for the excavating, grading, and tamping required to properly prepare the soil and base materials. The materials cost may also be a little higher since professional landscapers typically get bulk discounts on hardscaping materials. DIYers will also need to pay delivery fees for their material choices as well, which could be included in a professional's estimate. Even with these expenses, though, building your own paver patio can save you as much as 50 percent of what it would cost to hire a professional.
Of course, it's important to also take into account the value of your time, and building a 300-square-foot patio can easily take an amateur between 40 and 50 hours since it takes a professional between 35 and 40 hours. The difficulty of lifting and pouring heavy bags of gravel and sand and the serious time commitment should be considered before deciding if it is worth it to save money by installing a paver patio yourself.
Paver Material Cost Estimates
One of the biggest factors when it comes to the total cost of a paver patio is from what the pavers themselves are made. Whatever material you select, it's important to always order 10 percent more material than you need so you can account for broken pavers and wasted material from blocks you need to cut. If you're working with an angled pattern, you should order as much as 20 percent more to account for the increased number of cuts and the associated waste.
Clay brick pavers are one of the most popular options for paver patios because they are highly durable, and they offer so many different looks. Bricks come in classic red as well as brown, tan, blue, green, gray, and more, and they also have a variety of different finishes, including flat top, tumbled, honed, antiqued, saw cut, polished, textured, flamed, and more. Your choice of colors and textures will impact the price, but expect brick pavers to cost somewhere between $4 and $8.
Concrete pavers vary in price depending on size, thickness, strength, pattern, and color. Concrete is very versatile and can be a great low cost option, but more expensive designs are also available that look like traditional bricks, natural stone, or wood. It's important to recognize that concrete pavers typically require sealant and are not ideal in cold areas since snow sticks to the material. Using pavers made of concrete, your patio may cost as much as $1.25 to $18 per square foot for just materials, with standard concrete pavers coming in at the low end and high-quality faux wood or artificial stone pavers on the high end of the scale.
Natural stone for patios may be sold as cut stone or flagstone. Like other pavers, cut stone is cut into uniform shapes, whereas flagstone is flat with rough edges and comes in mixed sizes and shapes. Technically, flagstone is not a paver, but since the installation process for both is essentially the same aside from the jigsawlike nature of fitting flagstone together, many people still consider flagstone to be in the same product category as pavers. Because flagstone must be fitted together based on each stone's shape, always order 15 percent extra to account for wasted stones that don't fit together properly.
Some of the most popular stone patio materials include sandstone, granite, slate, travertine, and marble. Some materials, like marble, are only available as cut stone, while others, like slate, may be sold as cut stone or flagstone. The prices for cut stone and flagstone will vary based not only on the actual type of stone but also on size since smaller stones are easier to come by. Your location will also matter when it comes to pricing since stone is expensive to ship, so materials local to your area will always be less expensive. This means that in order to save money on stone, you should source pavers or flagstones from a local quarry. Stone pavers and flagstones start at $3 per square foot but can cost as much as $50 for materials like tumbled granite.
Polished stones may require an anti-slip treatment or sealant, which may cost extra. Also, some stones, like slate and travertine, wear down quicker than many other materials, so they may need to be replaced more often.
Patio tiles are another popular option for paver patios, but it must be patio tile, which is rated for use outdoors, and not interior tile. The most common material for patio tiles is porcelain, but they may also be made from brick or stone. Porcelain is a particularly good choice in cold regions since it is durable, has a slip-resistant finish, is stainproof and frostproof, and is strong enough to withstand de-icing chemicals. Patio tiles, including those made of porcelain, average around $5 to $10 per square foot.
Who Installs Paver Patios?
When it comes to hiring someone to install your paver patio, your three best options are landscaping contractors, landscaping design companies, and brick contractors. In each of these cases, it's a good idea to ask the contractors how they plan to prepare the site and lay down the patio to make sure they will not be skipping any crucial steps. Your contractor may also be able to help you select the right pavers for your patio and offer help with the design phase. Always do your research to make sure the installer has a valid contractors' license, good customer reviews, and sufficient experience with similar projects.
As for the price, installation costs vary based on location, with more expensive rates in areas with higher costs of living. As an example, it costs 45 percent more to install pavers in California than it does in Arkansas. Nationwide, the average cost for labor is between $50 and $100 per hour, which breaks down to between $4 and $11 per square foot. Expect to pay more for complicated patterns and complex patio layouts, particularly if your design incorporates any upgrades that may require water, gas, or electricity connections, like an outdoor kitchen.