If you’re thinking of building or renovating a patio, one common decision you will face is what material to use. Before selecting your patio material, you must first consider the qualities needed or desired. Resistance to wear/tear, adaptability to extreme high/low temperatures, permeability, and cost are all factors to consider.
There are many options to choose from, including concrete, stamp concrete, interlocking concrete pavers, clay pavers, and natural stone to name a few. Each option has different obtainable benefits. Let’s take a look at these different patio material options and their different qualities.
The least expensive option when it comes to building your next outdoor patio is concrete. While it may not look aesthetically pleasing to the eye as some of the other options listed, it does have a high durability rating and generally doesn’t fade.
Homeowners now have many different options when it comes to patterns, styles, colors, and options when it comes to utilizing stamped concrete for a patio project. Stamped concrete essentially is the same composition as concrete, with the exception that it has dye added to the cement mixture creating a base color, and a variety of release colors added to create a unique color combination. Stamp patterns have grown over the past few years enabling the ability to imitate brick, natural stone, wood, and slate.
Pros: Concrete is highly durable and low maintenance (especially raw concrete), making it an ideal choice for a wide array of climates and projects. It can be poured into any shape and colored in any style, providing limitless design opportunities and upping the “wow” factor.
Cons: While control joints are installed within stamp concrete patios, the concrete may at times crack outside of those joints becoming unsightly. Stamp concrete will fade over time unless sealed.
Homeowners now have an even wider variety of interlocking concrete pavers (a.k.a. concrete pavers.) Interlocking concrete pavers can be found in a variety of sizes and styles resembling natural stone, old world cobble, marble, granite, and even wood. Since interlocking concrete pavers are comprised of high strength concrete, manufacturers are able to put limited-lifetime warranties on their product.
Pros: Unique composition in that each paver is an individual unit provides homeowners a wide selection of style and options. If sub-base fails or settlement occurs pavers, can be raised and leveled at minimal cost vs. substantial high cost to tear-out and replace concrete. The life span is far greater than concrete and stamped concrete due to the high strength of the concrete as a result of the manufacturing process. Many unique options exist providing the ability to utilize multiple different styles and colors to create endless possibilities. Some pavers hold value in permeability allowing reduced run-off into storm systems.
Cons: Like any concrete product, color will fade over time. If installed on an aggregate base, the patio can feel “spongy” during wet months. Older patios installed prior to polymeric sand have a high tendency for weed growth and ant colonies.
A traditional option, brick is a timeless patio material. The rich, natural colors create a warm, inviting, earthy environment. Brick can be installed via two different methods: dry-lay and mortar. Dry-laid brick is placed upon a thick layer of sand and gravel without any bonding agents to permanently hold the individual bricks together. The joints are then also filled with sand and compacted. Mortared bricks are placed upon a concrete slab and secured with mortar or grout both beneath and between the bricks, creating one solid structure.
Clay pavers have been around far longer than concrete, stamp concrete and interlocking concrete pavers combined. Interested in history, most major cities had clay paver roadways before being paved over. Clay pavers often get confused with their interlocking concrete counterparts, but with minimal difference in cost, many are unaware of their natural ability to longevity.
Pros: Clay pavers have been known for their ability to withstand fading, most withstanding over centuries of wear. High durability strength providing long term solution. Since fading isn’t much of a concern, can be added onto decades apart with minimal difference in color, appearance.
Cons: Clay pavers can only be found in select colors and shapes, unlike their counterpart interlocking concrete pavers. Since they are comprised of natural material, may be more susceptible to moss growth.
Like clay pavers, natural stone has been around as long as human kind as roamed earth. Some of the earliest stone structures have lasted the test of time, centuries later. Natural stone can consist of a variety of different materials ranging from; granite, marble, sandstone, limestone and bluestone to name a few.
Pros: High durability, natural stone will outlast any other patio and/or walkway material. Wide range of ideas, colors, some unique to the property in which they are installed upon.
Cons: Most expensive of the patio materials. If installed with mortar, joints typically fail prior to natural stone degradation.