Compare Concrete Patios vs Interlocking Pavers Cost
Poured concrete is a traditional and low-maintenance option for creating a patio in your yard. Poured concrete is installed in large, continuous slabs with no joints or spaces where weeds can grow. It is a durable material that will last for decades.
If you’re looking for something a little more decorative than plain concrete, you can opt for stamped concrete. With stamped concrete, patterns and textures are impressed onto the concrete before it is dry, then pigment is added. Stamped concrete can be designed to mimic cobblestones, pavers, slate, flagstone - even brick.
Concrete Patio Cost
A plain concrete slab usually costs $2 to $5 per square foot installed, depending on your region of the country. Decorative concrete patios start at about $6 to $10 per square foot for a simple design. Custom work involving borders, multiple colors and hand-application techniques costs $10 to $15 per square foot or more.
Let’s say you’re planning to build a 16x20-foot patio: Budget $640 to $1,600 for a basic concrete slab; $1,920 to $3,200 for a decorative concrete patio with a basic design; and $3,200 to $4,800 for custom work.
Concrete Patio Pros
- Low maintenance - Because concrete slabs don’t have joints or spaces like interlocking pavers, weeds and grass won’t go through. This is ideal if you dread spending hours weeding.
- Less expensive - Concrete patios tend to be less expensive than pavers, unless you opt for a highly-customized design.
Concrete Patio Cons
- Prone to cracks - All concrete will crack eventually; it’s pretty much a guarantee. A quality installation job will help to delay or prevent some cracking, but there’s no foolproof way to avoid cracking altogether.
- Difficult to repair - Fixing a cracked patio is tough. In most cases, you’ll have to replace the patio when cracks start to become unsightly.
- Requires sealing - To extend the life of your concrete patio, it’s a good idea to seal it every two or three years. This will prevent stains and cracking. Pavers, on the other hand, do not require sealing.
Pavers are blocks of stone, concrete, tile or brick that interlock to form decorative patios, pathways and driveways. They’re available in a wide variety of shapes, patterns and colors. The design possibilities are vast.
Pavers are typically installed over a base of gravel, sand or crushed limestone. Only very experienced do-it-yourselfers should tackle the installation: Significant excavation and grading work is required to prepare a level base for the pavers and ensure proper runoff.
Interlocking Pavers Cost
Patio pavers are usually more expensive than concrete patios. They cost anywhere from about $12 to $22 per square foot, including the cost of installation, which is very labor intensive. For a patio that is 16x20 feet, that works out to a total of $3,840 to $7,040, based on the price range above. The price varies widely based on the type of pavers you choose and local labor rates.
- No cracks - If installed properly, patio pavers will not crack. With concrete, cracking is almost guaranteed.
- Easy to repair - If a block is damaged, simply remove it and replace it with a new one for a seamless fix. With concrete, you have to replace the entire patio if it’s cracked or damaged.
- Easy to expand - It’s easy to expand your paver patio if you decide that you need more space. Simply add more pavers. With concrete, it is difficult to create a seamless look when adding on.
- Require weeding - Weeds, grass and moss will grow in between the seams of your pavers, requiring some regular maintenance. The best way to prevent this is to have the seams filled with a binding polymeric sand.
- Settling problems - Pavers settle individually, while concrete patios settle in one piece. Settling individually causes differences in height that look unsightly or be a tripping hazard.