Is it cheaper to do pavers or concrete?

Backyard Patio ConcreteHave you ever stood in your backyard, envisioning a beautiful patio or walkway, only to be stumped by the choice between pavers and concrete? Both options offer unique advantages, but cost often becomes the deciding factor. Every homeowner knows the value of a dollar, especially with renovation projects where budgets can spiral out of control.

Understanding the economics of outdoor renovations requires a deep dive into not just the initial price tag, but also the long-term financial implications. From the size of your project to the climate you live in, numerous variables will sway your wallet in favor of one or the other.

Reading this article, you’ll embark on a fiscal journey comparing the upfront investment and enduring costs of maintenance for pavers and concrete. Discover the dollars and cents behind the aesthetics of these popular landscaping choices, and see which could be the better investment for your property upgrade.

Factors to Consider in Cost Comparison

When deciding between pavers and concrete for outdoor projects such as a patio or driveway, homeowners often find themselves balancing various factors to determine the most cost-effective choice. It is a common misconception that simply looking at the square foot cost of materials will yield a straight answer. However, the true cost comparison extends beyond initial expenses and delves into future maintenance, overall durability, design complexity, and the impact of weather conditions on the chosen materials. In this analysis for Crafted Outdoor Living, we will explore the intricacies of opting for pavers or concrete, considering all the financial implications that can influence the total expenditure over the lifespan of the outdoor space.

Square Footage Considerations

The first component in our cost assessment is square footage. When we talk about the average cost of a concrete patio or driveway, we refer to a specific price per square foot, which includes both material and installation costs. Concrete slabs often present a lower square foot price compared to individual pavers. Nevertheless, the cost of pavers can vary significantly based on the type of paver chosen, such as concrete pavers, brick pavers, or natural stone. Larger areas will naturally increase the cost simply due to the volume of materials required and the labor involved in installation.

Design Options and Material Costs

Concrete is known for its straightforward application, leading to a smooth and even surface that is functional and relatively inexpensive. However, the paver patio offers a myriad of design options, increasing the aesthetic appeal and potentially the property’s curb appeal. The cost of pavers, especially when considering high-end materials like natural stone, can be substantially higher than that of poured concrete. Furthermore, design complexity can inflate installation costs, as intricate patterns and customization with pavers require more labor and expertise.

Upfront Costs vs. Long-term Maintenance Costs

Examining upfront costs, concrete generally comes out as the more affordable option. The initial cost of a concrete driveway or patio can be lower than that of a paver driveway or patio due to the lower material costs and simpler installation process. However, when projected over time, the repair costs and maintenance requirements of the two materials might tip the scales. Concrete surfaces can crack and require whole-slab replacement, while individual pavers can be replaced selectively, possibly resulting in lower long-term maintenance costs. Additionally, the use of polymeric sand in paver installations can aid in water drainage and reduce weed growth, possibly reducing overall repair and maintenance expenses.

Weather Conditions and Durability

The final assessment involves the resilience of the materials under various weather conditions. Concrete slabs may crack with freeze-thaw cycles, whereas pavers offer better resistance to such conditions due to their individual movement and the joint space between them. The durability of pavers can extend the lifespan of the outdoor space, potentially making them a more economical choice over decades. Moreover, proper water drainage is crucial in preventing long-term damage, and paver systems typically provide superior drainage options over concrete slabs, which can suffer from pooling and related damage.

In conclusion, homeowners should consider immediate installation costs alongside potential long-term financial obligations. While concrete may present a lower immediate expenditure, pavers offer greater flexibility, aesthetic diversity, and might result in a more cost-effective solution when maintenance and durability are accounted for over the years.

Initial Costs of Concrete and Pavers

Pavers In Backyard

When evaluating the initial costs of using concrete or pavers for a new patio or driveway, homeowners must consider more than just the price of materials; installation costs also play a significant role. Generally, concrete is the more budget-friendly solution initially, with the material and labor for concrete slabs and patios coming in at a lower cost per square foot. The process to pour and finish a concrete surface is typically less labor-intensive than laying individual pavers.

However, the cost-effectiveness of concrete can shift when comparing it with concrete pavers, which might offer a slightly more economical choice than their more luxurious counterparts, such as brick or natural stone pavers. The key is to assess both the price of materials and the complexity of the installation to discern the most financially sensible option up front.

Cost of Concrete Slabs and Patials

Concrete patios and slabs are known for their relatively low initial cost due to the straightforward nature of the material and installation process. On average, including both material and installation, concrete costs less per square foot as compared to pavers. Prices can fluctuate depending on local rates, the thickness of the slab, and any additional surface finishing or coloring.

The average cost per square foot for a fully installed concrete patio or driveway usually includes the cost to prepare the site, pour the concrete, and finish the surface. It is paramount for homeowners to seek detailed quotes from contractors to ensure all aspects of the project are accounted for when budgeting for a concrete surface.

Cost of Pavers and Paver Patios

Opting for pavers, on the other hand, introduces a broad spectrum of costs, significantly influenced by the type of paver selected. Concrete pavers tend to be less expensive than brick or natural stone but offer a middle ground between plain concrete and high-end paving options. The initial cost of pavers encompasses the materials, preparation of the ground, laying the pavers in the chosen pattern, and filling the joints, usually with polymeric sand.

Installation costs for paver patios are higher on average because the process is labor-intensive. Each paver must be laid individually and arranged to follow the planned design. There are additional considerations, such as the base material, edging, and the potential need for cutting pavers to fit specific spaces. These factors can make the upfront cost of paver projects go beyond only the price of the pavers themselves.

It is important for homeowners to obtain estimates that break down these costs comprehensively when contemplating a paver patio or driveway, ensuring they have an accurate picture of the initial investment required.

  • In a comparison table, homeowners might find the following information useful:

Material Type

Average Cost Per Square Foot (Installed)


$6 – $10

Concrete Pavers

$10 – $17

Brick Pavers

$10 – $20

Natural Stone Pavers

$18 – $30

  • A list summarizing the initial costs might look like:


  • Site preparation
  • Material cost
  • Installation (pouring and surfacing)


  • Site preparation
  • Material cost
  • Installation labor (laying and joint filling)
  • Base materials
  • Edging materials
  • Potential cutting of pavers for design purposes

In conclusion, the initial investment in a patio or driveway will vary greatly depending on the chosen materials. While concrete offers a less expensive entry point, pavers bring a wider range of upfront costs, influenced by the choice of materials and design intricacies. Homeowners should weigh these financial considerations against their design preferences, maintenance expectations, and long-term value to make the best decision for their outdoor space.

Long-term Maintenance and Repair Costs

When deciding between pavers and concrete for their outdoor space, homeowners should take into account not only the initial costs but also the long-term maintenance and potential repair expenditures. The maintenance requirements of these materials and the costs associated with keeping them in pristine condition can have a significant financial impact over time. Concrete might require less frequent attention but can incur substantial costs when major repairs are necessary. Pavers, while generally more costly to maintain, allow for easier and often less expensive individual repairs. Both options present differing challenges and expenses that need to be considered to make a well-informed decision.

Maintenance Requirements of Concrete vs. Pavers

Maintaining a concrete patio or driveway is relatively straightforward, usually needing only periodic cleaning and resealing every few years to prevent stains, cracks, and weather damage. In contrast, pavers require a more meticulous approach to maintenance to retain their curb appeal. This includes routine cleaning, re-sanding of joints with polymeric sand, and resealing to combat weeds and shifting.


  • Periodic cleaning
  • Resealing every 2-3 years
  • Crack monitoring


  • Regular cleaning
  • Re-sanding of joints
  • Resealing to prevent weed growth

Repair Costs for Concrete vs. Pavers

Concrete surfaces, when damaged, can be more challenging and costly to repair; options include patching, resurfacing, or replacing entire sections, each with varying price points. Paver repairs, however, offer more flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Damaged pavers can be individually replaced without affecting the surrounding area, which significantly reduces the cost and complexity of repairs in comparison to concrete.

Damage Type

Concrete Repair Cost

Paver Repair Cost

Small Crack/Chip

$ – $$


Major Crack/Section Damage

$$$ – $$$$


Lifespan and Durability of Concrete and Pavers

The expected lifespan of concrete slabs and paver installations differs considerably. A well-installed and properly maintained concrete driveway or patio can last up to 30 years; however, it is susceptible to cracking under extreme weather conditions or due to ground movement. Pavers tend to be more durable and adaptable to environmental changes. Their lifespan can extend beyond 40 years when installed correctly and with diligent maintenance. It’s noteworthy that the longevity of both materials is significantly affected by weather exposure, usage, and adherence to maintenance routines.


  • Lifespan: Up to 30 years
  • Less tolerant to ground movement and heavy loads


  • Lifespan: 40 years or more
  • Highly resilient to shifting and weight

Both concrete and paver options offer individual advantages in terms of lifespan and durability. A homeowner’s choice will often reflect their readiness for upkeep demands and their tolerance for potential long-term repair costs. It’s clear that both materials come with different sets of long-term financial implications that are as important to consider as the aesthetics and functionality they bring to an outdoor space.

Curb Appeal and Value

Enhancing the frontage of a property with a beautifully designed driveway or a quaint patio can dramatically elevate its curb appeal. Curb appeal is the allure and attractiveness that a property exudes from the outside, a factor which can significantly influence a home’s marketability and value. Whether homebuyers are consciously aware of it or not, the external appearance of a property, inclusive of the quality and state of its paths and patios, can sway their purchasing decisions.

When comparing the aesthetic value added by pavers versus concrete, pavers generally offer a superior boost in curb appeal owing to their vast array of design possibilities and upscale look. They mimic the elegance of natural stone and come in a multitude of colors, shapes, and textures. Installing a paver driveway or patio can turn an ordinary outdoor space into a standout feature with a custom, high-end appearance.

Paver Advantages:

  • Wide variety of colors and textures
  • Customizable patterns and designs
  • High-end, elegant appearance

On the other hand, while concrete may not offer the same level of sophistican and variety, advancements in texturing and staining can bridge the gap slightly. With these enhancements, a concrete patio or driveway can achieve a personalized look that compleplements the home’s exterior and adds to the property’s charm and character.

Concrete Advantages:

  • Texturing and staining for a unique look
  • Sleek and modern finish options

Both pavers and concrete can add value to a property, but the degree to which they do can vary. A paver driveway or patio, with its distinctive and customizable aesthetic, may contribute more considerably to increasing a home’s curb appeal and, consequently, its overall value.

Design Options and Aesthetic Appeal

The design flexibility of pavers is nearly unmatched, allowing homeowners and designers to craft unique and visually engaging outdoor environments. Not limited to just the variety of colors and designed shapes, pavers can be laid in intricate patterns such as herringbone, basketweave, or a running bond, among others. This level of customization provides homeowners with the creative freedom to match the outdoor space to the architecture and style of their homes, achieving continuity and harmony in design.



Design Versatility

Limited patterns


Color tinting possible


Standard look to unique designs with extra treatment

Moreover, newer technologies and innovative methods in concrete design, such as stamping and acid staining, have broadened the aesthetic possibilities of concrete, though generally not to the imitative detail and intricate design potential of pavers.

Lastly, the natural look and feel of pavers, especially those made from natural stone, resonate with outdoor and landscaping trends that favor organic and timeless materials. These trends further endorse the idea that selecting the right type of paver can be a significant design statement, enhancing overall aesthetic appeal.

Impact on Property Value

The impression a well-executed patio or driveway installation leaves on potential buyers can be substantial. Real estate experts often highlight outdoor improvements as key elements in adding value to a property. Installing high-quality pavers can make a strong, positive statement, potentially increasing a home’s resale value. The customizable nature of pavers allows for designs that can be seamlessly integrated with a home’s aesthetic, presenting potential buyers with a move-in-ready outdoor space that requires minimal future investment.

Concrete installations, when expertly installed and well-maintained, can also add to property value, especially if decorative techniques are employed to give them a unique finish. However, the impact might be more muted compared to the appeal of high-end paver installations, which ideally blend form, function, and a touch of luxury.

Investing in either pavers or concrete can result in a favorable return, but it’s the pavers that often attract homebuyers willing to pay a premium for the perceived value of a custom-designed, aesthetically pleasing outdoor living area. The choice between pavers and concrete, ultimately, will not only reflect in the beauty of the outdoor space but also in the financial benefit should the home go on the market.


Impact on Value


High potential to increase resale value


Can add value with decorative treatments

Both pavers and concrete can enhance the appeal and value of a property, yet the former oftentimes presents as the more beneficial investment when considering long-term value addition and aesthetic versatility.