Deciding Between Poured Concrete and Paving Stones on Your Driveway

Concrete and paving stones

Paving the driveway adds curb appeal to your property, and also creates a safe and low maintenance area for parking. Asphalt paving remains the most affordable option for driveways but some homeowners want a material that will do more for their home’s curb appeal. Contemporary homeowners are considering poured concrete or paving stones as viable, attractive options.

heavy-grain concrete

Do your research before deciding which type of material to use for driveway paving project. Before falling in love with a style you should figure out what the benefits of these materials are, and what you can expect to pay for design and installation.

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The Basics of Poured Concrete Driveways

Poured concrete is routinely used for sidewalks, pathways, and even roadways across the country. Dense and durable, concrete bears heavy loads without a problem. It can stand up to all sorts of weather for years. A professional concrete contractor who properly mixes and pours the material can build a driveway that runs little risk of cracking. A well-made driveway can be easily maintained.

stamped concrete

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Concrete is a versatile material. Your contractor can form a straight or curved driveway by sing wooden forms and an adequate amount of concrete. Professionals can mimic almost any shape. Use concrete on walkways, the porch, and the stairs.

Removing concrete is a messy job, but with heavy equipment or brute strength, even thick slabs can be broken up and carted away. Cutting holes in concrete involves using a grinder or heavy-duty saw, and concrete debris is often recycled into gravel.

The Benefits of Using Poured Concrete

1. Strength and durability

concrete driveway

Strong and extremely durable, poured concrete provides a uniform, attractive finish on any sized driveway. Opt for a skilled concrete contractor and ask for the standard gray brushed concrete finish. You could also invest in other styles and finishes, including stamped concrete, polished concrete, or coloured concrete. Tailor the appearance to suit the home’s architecture and coordinate the front and backyard landscape for a beautiful exterior.

2. Low maintenance

Concrete requires very little maintenance. Snow can be easily cleared away in the winter, and ice melting products can be used to eliminate slippery surface conditions. Poured concrete driveways can be cleaned off with a mild detergent when they become stained. Difficult stains, such as oil or grease, may require a granular cleaning product. Concrete can be scrubbed and swept without damage, and most power washers can be safely used on concrete driveways and walkways.

3. Price

concrete press

Concrete driveways are quick to construct and are extensively affordable—especially when compared to high quality paving stones or natural stone. Some concrete styles come with a premium price, including exposed aggregate or stamped concrete. These designs require more labour and use specialty products to create a unique appearance.

Basics of Paving Stones

Paving the driveway with pre-formed paving stones provides a durable, attractive finish that reflects character and style. Paving stones come in a wide array of colours, shapes, and textures, providing homeowners with almost unlimited choice in terms of design. Your paving stone driveway will be completely unique and built to last for decades.

Paving stones are manufactured to carry heavy loads. When laid on a layer of gravel for drainage, paving stones stand firm through any weather, including anything from below freezing temperatures, to high humidity, or extreme heat.

paving stone driveway

Pavers may be formed from concrete and interlock over the surface of your driveway to form a strong area for foot and vehicle traffic. Natural or cut stone can also be used for driveways, provided the top surface creates a safe, flat surface. Gaps in the stones are filled with sand or crushed limestone. Weeds should not be a problem if the contractor uses an adequate base.

Water drains away quickly and safely with paving stone driveways. Pavers control water much more efficiently than on asphalt or poured concrete. The gaps between the stones allow water to flow through diverse paths, which results in less erosion and more controlled runoff. Paving stones are used in urban areas to reduce runoff, and direct rainwater and thawing snow away quickly from traffic areas.

Benefits of Using Paving Stones

1. Unique aesthetic

paving stone sand

Most people opt for paving stones due to their attractive and unique appearance. You can create an old world look with a cobblestone driveway, or opt for something more contemporary and use a modern-style paver.

2. Durability

Paving stones are flexible and move freely with seasonal changes. Each stone shifts slightly with the frost and thaw cycle, without affecting the overall surface. Avoid cracked driveways by paving your property with quality paving stones. They will present a beautiful reliable finish for years. It's wise to get the stones repointed every decade for proper driveway maintenance.

3. Flexibility

Experts state that quality paving stones contain less moisture than poured concrete driveways. This provides greater load-bearing capabilities. It also increases the driveway's strength in extreme climate conditions. Paving stones present one of the most durable surfaces for vehicle and foot traffic when they properly installed in an interlocking pattern.

4. Return on Investment

paver installation

Unfortunately, you can expect to pay a premium for a paving stone driveway. However, it will substantially increase the value of your home. Opt for an attractive pattern that mimics the architecture of your home and style of your landscape. This will ensure the driveway remains part of the overall exterior design. Incorporate pathways, patios and even garden edging to create a synergy in your outdoor living space.

So, Paving or Poured Concrete?

Consider your budget and taste when deciding between poured concrete and paving stones. The house style will dictate a certain style, which will reflect in your product choice. Modern homes designed with a minimalist style are complemented by poured concrete in a brushed or polished finish. Traditional homes look best with a unique pattern of paving stones laid in the driveway and front entrance. Both of these products will fit into a certain house character, and that combination should also suit your own tastes and style.

paving stone walkway

Paving the driveway makes for a safe driving surface and impressive curb appeal. Whether you choose affordable and attractive poured concrete or unique and charming paving stones for your driveway be sure to hire an experienced contractor. A professional will create the ideal design, prep the job site and use only quality materials. Expert installation ensures durability and allows your home improvement investment to retain value for years to come.

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