You can construct a patio from many materials. Brick, concrete, pavers, tiles, cut-stone, flagstone, or loose material such as mulch, pea gravel, crushed stone, aggregate stone, or rubber mulch are suitable for patios. Each material has its own use, and mixing materials can give your patio a texture.
Pavers and concrete, however, are similar materials in some ways. Putting a concrete or paver patio yourself may be more than your back or skill level can take. However, doing all or much of the job may save you hundreds of dollars.
Cost and Longevity of a Poured Concrete Patio
A poured concrete patio will cost between $6 and $13 per square foot, which equals $600 for a ten by ten patio on the low end, and $1300 on the high end. However, costs are variable, and where you live may be higher or lower. Whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to help you is also a significant cost factor.
Not all homeowners have the skill to build a patio in their backyard. However, you can save hundreds of dollars on labor alone by doing it yourself for those who have the skill and a strong back. Material costs are fixed, but a reduction in the labor cost is a significant saving.
A concrete patio has a lower cost to install; however, the repair costs over its average lifespan will be higher than if you construct your patio with pavers. A concrete patio will last between 30 and 50 years. A determining factor of its longevity is where and how you build it. For example, if you live in an area where the ground freezes and thaws, or if tree roots undermine your patio, it may not make it 30 years.
Cost and Longevity of Pavers
Pavers are more costly per square foot than poured concrete and average between $13 and $20 per square foot. So, materials for that same ten by ten patio now come in at $1300 on the low side and $2000 on the high side.
Pavers have a unique advantage over poured concrete. The paver won’t crack like concrete if the ground shifts or roots run under the patio. Now they will shift, but crack? No. This benefit alone is worth the added cost, and pavers are more pleasing to the eye than concrete.
Even though you can stain concrete to give it a nicer appearance, it will not be as appealing as pavers that lay in various patterns. Because pavers are made from concrete, a blend of water, Portland cement, sand, and gravel, they can be formed into different shapes and colors. This mix is put into a particular machine that forces it under pressure into a mold, allowing it to remain until dry.
Various items are added to the mix as it is made, including pigments for color and additives that help the concrete cure and release the mold. Because pavers are made like they are, they can take more weight and wear than poured concrete and have a useful lifespan of 100 years.
Site Preparation — the Hidden Cost
Whether you are pouring concrete or laying pavers for your new patio, the area where you are putting the patio needs to be level. There will also need to be ground prep for drainage. And, if necessary, a bed of stone or sand was put in place for pavers to rest in. Be sure that you and your contractor see eye to eye on these costs.
Site prep for a concrete poured patio requires that you level the area where you are putting the patio and then build a ten-foot, by ten-foot form out of wood. You then install steel rods and wire at the bottom of the frame. After that, the cement mix is poured in, leveled off, and allowed to cure (dry) for several days.
Laying pavers is similar; however, they are not embedded in concrete but are set on a weed barrier and sand or gravel. They are fitted together in a puzzle-like fashion, and pavers can be natural in color or dyed in color to suit you.
The Durability of Pavers Over Concrete for Patio Construction
Concrete is cheaper than pavers, and pouring a concrete patio will probably take less time. However, pavers will give your home more appeal and add to its value. Building anything in today’s market is costly, so there are things you need to consider besides cost only when deciding on the design and construction of a patio.
How Long Do You Intend to Keep Your House?
Of the people who sold their homes in 2021, their average time in a home was six years, three months, and 22 days, to be exact. But, of course, you may stay longer, or you may only want to occupy your current home for a couple of years. Since cost is a factor in every home project, so is a return on investment.
You need to consider the cost of home improvements and determine if you can get a return on your investment in a reasonable time. Or, if the addition adds value that goes beyond its initial cost because it adds to the home to make it worth more, then, by all means, go for it.
Fortunately for you, if you consider adding a patio to your property, this addition’s return on investment (ROI) is 90.3 percent. However, landscaping has a return of 100 percent, and if you combine the projects to add appeal to your home, you have a winner.
So, Which is Cheaper For Patios, Pavers, or Concrete?
The initial cost for concrete is less than a patio of pavers. However, maintenance of the functional life of this area of your home will be more costly down the road. So, it comes down to whether you want to spend more money now or less, knowing to plan for the future maintenance that a concrete patio will require.
Or, you could shuck out what comes to twice the cost for pavers, and if you plan to keep your home for many years or add to its curb appeal for a sale, pavers are hard to beat. Then, once your patio is built, you can add new landscaping, a few outdoor furniture pieces and enjoy your new space.