Pavers: Brick pavers vs. stone pavers 2018-01-22T17:08:41+00:00

Pavers: Brick pavers vs. stone pavers

paver stone exampleHere we will discuss the practical differences between using brick and concrete pavers for your driveway, porch, patio, walkway, or other hardscaping project.

The term paver refers to thin, flat stones designed for use in projects such as walkways, patios, and driveways. Both concrete and brick pavers are installed the same way and both offer many years of use thanks to their durability.

The choice between brick and concrete pavers largely depends on your personal taste. Here’s some info that might help you make your decision.

Brick pavers

Bricks are made from clay that’s formed into its shape and cured by baking in a kiln (in a manner similar to pottery). However, be careful when shopping for pavers on your own, as the word brick is sometimes used to describe the shape of the stone – rather than the material – so you might see items labeled as concrete bricks that aren’t technically bricks at all.

Advantages of clay brick pavers

concrete paversColor retention: Bricks are naturally colored by mixing in various types of clays, so they retain color better than concrete, particularly when exposed to UV raysEnduring style: Bricks have a distinct edge in looks and style. An aged, worn brick walkway retains its charm while cracked or chipped concrete merely looks worn out.
Less maintenance: Clay bricks resist staining and require less maintenance and cleaning than concrete pavers.
Eco-friendly: In addition to being made from all natural materials, bricks are frequently salvaged, cleaned, and reused, making them a more sustainable choice.
Durability: Bricks may chip or crack over time, but they last for generations. Bricks tend to break in response to stress (e.g., ice, moisture, traffic) while the surface on concrete pavers can erode and fade over time.

Disadvantages of brick pavers

Higher cost: Brick pavers tend to cost a little more. Brick can be up to 15% to 20% more expensive than concrete.
Size variance: Due to the variables of kiln firing, bricks vary slightly in their dimensions, making them a little trickier to install.
Limited choice: Because they’re colored with natural clays, bricks have more limited color choices. They’re generally rectangular in shape and only come in a few sizes.
More breakable: While all pavers are durable, bricks are more likely to crack under heavy vehicle traffic. They’re also more likely to chip or shear, but the solid coloring makes small blemishes less noticeable than on concrete pavers.
Increased labor: Bricks are harder to cut and may cost more for labor to install.

Concrete pavers

Concrete pavers are made from cement and aggregate that is poured into forms, compressed, and air cured. Concrete can be formed into all sorts of shapes and sizes and pigmented in a wide range of colors.

Advantages of concrete pavers

Less expensive: Concrete pavers are less expensive than brick, due to the lower cost of raw materials.
Easier to install: Concrete pavers are precisely uniform and tend to be easier to cut.
Innovation: New and better concrete pavers are being designed all the time, so you might even find choices that correct the known downsides of concrete.
More choice: Concrete offers far more design and color options than brick. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen with concrete pavers.

Disadvantages of concrete pavers

Color can fade: Since they’re dyed with color pigments rather than natural clay, concrete pavers can fade over time, especially in sunny areas.
May need sealing: Optional sealants can help prolong the color of concrete pavers but also add to the maintenance time and cost.
Surface erosion: While brick tends to wear by chipping or cracking, concrete wears more gradually, eroding away the smooth finish and exposing more of the aggregate underneath. Over time, the surface of concrete pavers might look worn while brick stays retain their surface.
Varying quality: Concrete varies widely in strength and durability depending on the manufacturer’s recipe, and sometimes it’s hard to know what kind of quality you’re getting. I’ve seen gorgeous concrete pavers that looked like natural stone, and I’ve also worked with cheap ones that crumbled and cracked before it seemed like they should.
Shorter lifespan: While initially holding up better to traffic than brick, concrete pavers have a shorter lifespan (a couple of decades vs. generations).

Resources: Pavers vs bricks