FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Stamped Concrete vs Pavers

POOL DECKING


How do pavers hold up around pools? Is chlorinated water damaging?   

Pavers are an excellent substitute for slabs of concrete.  Whether using paver made of Brick, Stone or Concrete, there is a design and type for any pool or spa Jacuzzi.  For maximum protection against pool chemicals and the elements, a good sealer should be used to protect the investment.


What pavers are best for pool decks? Should they have a certain surface texture to provide more traction?


There is a wide selection of pool deck paving materials produced from natural stone or man made from cement or clay. Three types of pavers are often featured in and around pool decks.  They are: natural, clay (brick) or concrete pavers.

Each individual type of natural and manufactured paver has different durability, strength and resistance values.  They will have different prices and long term performance variances.

A paving specialist should be consulted to determine which paver type best meets the project requirements.   

Concrete pavers are frequently used for pool decks and are durable, versatile, affordable and tough. They have many qualities making them the perfect choice for pool paving applications. While very smooth in texture, they are salt resistant, slip resistant, and chlorine will not affect their colors. They require sealant to assure best results.      

Brick pavers are a manmade product and are cost effective.  Fired at high temperatures they produce natural earthy tones. They are not affected by chlorine, or sun’s heat. They are both smooth in texture and slip resistant.  There are a number of sealants to further enhance the long-life, slip-resistance, and beauty of this product to ensure even greater protection from pool water and the sun.  A good sealant is highly recommended to insure longer life and best appearance.      

Stone pavers are a natural product from quarried materials.  They are formed over millions of years in sea beds, riverbeds and the earth's core. Natural in texture and varying in colors, they can be sealed to make them slip resistant, and to protect them from salt water, pool chemicals and the elements.


Are certain paver types too hot in the sun on bare feet? 


Pavers actually are better than poured concrete around pools as the joints will take on moisture and leave the pavement cooler under foot. However, like any colored concrete, brick, or natural stone, darker colors tend to attract more heat than lighter colors that repel it.  Some pavers’ materials tend to remain slightly cooler, regardless of heat. These include rubber pavers (made from recycled tires), limestone, sandstone, and cobblestone, to name only a few.  

Due to the wide and varying array of pavers and utility sealers, pavers for pool decking have seen rapidly increasing popularity.


What are some of the pros/cons of pavers vs. stamped concrete?


Stamped Concrete

Pros:

  • Wide selection of patterns and colors·        
  • Can create look of natural stone or segmented paving design at lesser cost·        
  • Colors can be hand blended on site in addition to color added to concrete mix·
  • A sealer is recommended to protect concrete from the elements and pool chemicals


Cons:

  • Initial installation cost of colored and stamped concrete greater than standard pour
  • Difficult for a DIYer to install (professional installer recommended)
  • Control joints and saw cuts are required to help control points where concrete cracks
  • Possibility for deterioration and discoloration from de-icing salt       
  • Repairs require spot patching and matching color of new concrete to old is never exact       
  • Sealer needs to be reapplied every 2-3 years·        
  • Colors fade over time


Interlocking Concrete Pavers


Pros:

  • Won't crack - when installed properly·        
  • Don’t need to replace entire surface if repairs are ever necessary·
  • Repairs are easy and seamless·
  • Paver patterns and colors can be mixed and matched to create striking designs with accent borders and bandings


Cons:

  • Pavers have slightly higher cost than stamped concrete - depending on material and application·      
  • Joint sand needs to be re-applied every couple of years if polymer sand is not used ·        
  • Weeds and small insects can penetrate between pavers unless polymer sand is used·        


  • Dye lots can vary from pallet to pallet – care should be taken when installing to avoid marked changes in coloration. A skilled installer knows how to blend the pavers to eliminate this issue·


Pavers can settle and move over time if they are not installed properly.  Soil and base rock preparation should be compacted properly or the pavers will heave unevenly with the frost.


Why do people choose pavers for pool decks?


To many, the difference between pavers versus concrete is in the variety of colors and designs.  Although stamped and colored concrete also offers a wide choice of designs and colors, pavers are longer lasting and can be spot-repaired, if necessary.  Concrete, on the other hand, tends to crack and discolor over time.  Further, if concrete repairs are necessary, larger portions of concrete must be removed and re-poured at considerably higher costs than spot-repair of a few pavers.  Lastly, pavers are more durable and longer lasting than concrete.


DRIVEWAYS


How does a paver driveway compare in cost to alternative driveway materials, such as stamped concrete?


The cost of driveway paving stones is typically greater in terms of initial capital outlay, especially when compared to slab options. For example, the price per square foot for professional installation of pavers will be higher than that of a concrete, stone, or asphalt driveway. However, the paver driveway will pay for itself over time, both in lower maintenance costs and sheer longevity, as it will last for decades. The reason is due to the structure of paver driveways versus any other options.

For concrete and asphalt driveways, the project ends up being one huge, connected slab. While strong, the slab is not as strong as interlocking pavers.  The slab does not do well with freezing and thawing cycles. As water freezes beneath the slab, it forces itself into it. The slab cannot bend, so, in response, it cracks. As freezing and thawing continues, these cracks get worse, eventually forcing a new driveway to be installed.

Pavers do not have a cracking problem. The bed of aggregate beneath the driveway is strong yet flexible. In addition, the joints between the concrete pavers provide the best of both worlds: strength and flexibility. These driveways will not crack from any freezing or thawing.

Slabs do have an advantage of not being susceptible to settling, while interlocking pavers will occasionally settle. However, this is easily fixed, as the offending pavers can be removed and reset as necessary.

Overall, in the long term, the maintenance and replacement costs are lower for paving stone installations than for any other alternate selection.


If pavers are installed properly and sealed by a professional, they are more durable, offer greater design and versatility, and are longer lasting than ordinary concrete.  Properly installed, there should be no settling, breaking or shifting of the surface. By definition, concrete pavers have a minimum compressive strength of 8,000 psi (about 3 times stronger than regular poured concrete) and a maximum water absorption rate of 5%.


WALKWAYS


Most paver sizes and styles are appropriate for walkways.  It is solely based on a person’s preference.

Any special requirements for pavers exposed to lots of foot traffic, such as skid resistance?

Some paver bricks are not rated for foot traffic.  Wall pavers do not hold up well under foot traffic either. Ask for pavers with ASTM C902 standard specification for pedestrian and light traffic.

Note: The placement of brick pavers are a crucial part when completing a paver project. If placed below a watershed or hill, clay pavers will gather a lot of slippery fungus during rainy periods without proper drainage.
For proper drainage, install perforated drain pipe, gravel and fine sand.

Most paver sizes and styles are appropriate for walkways.  It is solely based on a person’s preference.

Any special requirements for pavers exposed to lots of foot traffic, such as skid resistance?

Some paver bricks are not rated for foot traffic.  Wall pavers do not hold up well under foot traffic either. Ask for pavers with ASTM C902 standard specification for pedestrian and light traffic.
Note: The placement of brick pavers are a crucial part when completing a paver project. If placed below a watershed or hill, clay pavers will gather a lot of slippery fungus during rainy periods without proper drainage.

For proper drainage, install perforated drain pipe, gravel and fine sand.


How well do patio pavers hold up and what maintenance is required?


Pavers are the best choice due to reduced repair or replacement costs versus slab concrete.  If installed and sealed properly, pavers are fairly indestructible.  If repairs are ever needed, only those damaged pavers need to be removed and replaced.  


Maintenance is limited to adding sand to the joints every 2-3 years (some can go as long as 5 years between sand “topping” and maintenance resealing in more moderate climates.  If polymer sand is used and sealed at time of installation, the “topping or joint sand addition” may never be necessary.  

Paver patios using polymer sand, properly installed and professionally sealed will go decades without the need for additional attention.


Is weed growth in between the Pavers joints a problem?


This is not an issue if Polymeric Sand is used.  When activated with water according to manufacturer’s instructions, this sand will harden; inhibiting weed growth, insect infestation, and sand run off from the joints. Generally, polymeric joint sands tend to cost more than C-33 washed concrete sand and masons sand, and requires extra steps and time.  The long term benefits are cost effective.
Further, if polymer sand is not used, the need for “topping” joint sand every 2-3 years becomes necessary.  Also, other types of sand can experience reduced effectiveness in bonding and joint levels are impacted by burrowing insects and weed growth between pavers.


Both Stamped Concrete and Pavers provide an attractive and long-lasting beauty for outdoor living.  Pavers are slightly higher in cost.  However, over time, pavers are the better value.





Pavers as pool decking offer variety of design and carefree maintenance. Less costly over time.

Pavers as pool decking offer variety of design and carefree maintenance. Less costly over time.

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