How durable are pavers? Do they last longer than concrete slabs? Which is more prone to cracking? If I want a new patio or driveway, which product is going to give me the most bang for my buck? When trying to decide whether to use pavers or concrete, these are some of the primary questions people ask. Lucky for you, we have the answers!
Pavers and concrete are very similar. In fact, both products are made with cement. When you hear pavers referred to as "brick pavers", typically, that means the paver was made with clay instead of cement. Pavers are technically concrete; however, they are produced prior to installation and have to adhere to certain technical definitions to be considered a paver. The definition of a concrete paver is a cement based product that is produced with aggregate, sand, water, and color dye which contains a maximum aspect ratio of four and typically has a surface area less than one hundred square inches. The aspect ratio of a paver is its length divided by its thickness. A common four inch by eight inch brick shape, which is two and three eighths inches in thickness has an aspect ratio of 3.37. The reason the aspect ratio is so important is that it quantifies the durability of a paver. If you have a large concrete slab with a few expansion joints cut into it and you want to determine how strong it is relative to its own size, then the aspect ratio is the quantitative way to figure it out. Let's say your driveway is ten feet wide and one section, between expansion joints, is ten feet long. Now, in order to determine that slab's aspect ratio, you'll also need to know how thick the slab is. Let's give your concrete contractor the benefit of the doubt and say he loved your driveway extra thick and that it is six inches from top to bottom. If you take the length, ten feet and covert it to inches, you'll get one hundred and twenty inches long. Now, divide one hundred and twenty by the thickness of the slab, six inches, and your aspect ratio is twenty! What does this mean? Basically, it means that your concrete slab is a lot longer and wider relative to its thickness and therefore more brittle and easier to crack.
When compared to concrete, pavers cost more. Not only do they cost more to produce, but the steps taken to properly install them are more numerous and costlier than those taken to install concrete. Beneath pavers, one and a half tons of base material needs to be installed and compated for every one hundred square feet of area. This means that not only do you need to purchase this material and pay for its delivery, but you also have to excavate the area you areaving to a depth that will not only accommodate the paver, but also about four to five inches of base and sand.
If you make the investment in pavers, you will not be disappointed. Sure, they cost more than concrete slabs, but they are much more durable and less likely to crack. In fact, most pavers come with a twenty five year warranty against cracking! Their color, shape, and texture options are unmatched and they will last a lifetime. Contact Park Avenue Pavers for more information about your new paver patio!