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stacy1061

Pavers vs Stained Concrete or something else?

stacy1061
9 years ago
Help pls! Building a mountain resort home that gets snow Nov-Mar. Trying to save money, the builder is recomending stained concrete for entry and large back covered patio. We are afraid the freeze thaw cycles will sooner or later crack the concrete. It's about $3500 more to do the pavers. We need to make this decision very soon. Advice welcome.

Comments (98)

  • madeliene
    9 years ago
    Guycaron,/ can brick not be put on top of a layer of poured well doneConcrete), outdoors? or even under slate?slate? Our living room was slate, thck large peices and beauticully done(), but in my kithchen i will want OLD bick flooring, will cenent be necessry inder that? The floor should not need to leveled, but I believe Cocrete can do that part?madeliene.PS: this is the nicest group online I speak to, Bless you all. MadelieneSomeone pleselet meknow whar is done ion the marble bathroom????
  • PRO
    Beautiful Space Co
    9 years ago
    Hi Madeline, regarding the difference between cement and concrete? - aggregate (which is different sizes/types of rocks/gravel) is added TO cement for strength. (Along with sand, water etc) Generally speaking, the thinner the concrete, the smaller the aggregate.

    ALL sidewalks, foundations, footings, slab floors etc are made from concrete, never from just cement. However, many people call concrete, cement.

    Cement alone can be used as a skim coat over another surface, and is the main ingredient in stucco along with lime, water etc.

    Hope this helps

    Steve
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  • kencandrews
    9 years ago
    If you go stained concrete, get a fibre mix. Expansion joints and cuts. And sealed. Is your builder local to the site? Ask yourself, or him, why is he recommending concrete. Look around , what seems to be prominent? Which ever you go with, the base is key, and slope away from the house. Since you're in a heavy snow area, ask your builder to do a 3" per 10 feet slope. Counter that with a course broom finish to prevent slipping on ice. Pavers have a natural traction as they are more pitted on installation but keep in mind, shoveling pavers can be tiresome. Your shovel can catch each and every edge of the pavers. Either way, go on a field trip and check out previous work that he has done. Try to see a range of age of the completed work. Get in writing a satisfaction warranty. Even with the extra finishing and style choices you can get with concrete, the extra labour involved, there is still a huge profit laying concrete. Don't knock the price down as much as get an iron clad warranty and don't be shy to use it. Pavers are a retail price on the bricks and labour, not a lot of price movement to negotiate. All that said, to answer your question, I prefer concrete. I live in Winnipeg, snow nov to mar , and cold.
  • Kim Brandon
    9 years ago
    Wow lots of suggestions. We have a concrete drive way and patio area. I wasn't sure about the patio being concrete for many reasons. One year ago we poured the concrete and this year we are noticing a small crack beginning. We had not put cuts in the concrete as was suggested, apparently that would have stopped the cracking. We live in a typical Canadian climate - freezing and snowy from Nov til Mar and hot and humid the rest of the year. I like the stamped and/or stained concrete look over your other option because with the winter freeze and thaw those bricks/stones will be heaving out of place and over time will also require maintenance. Save your money for the products that are available to cover and fix cracks in concrete.
  • Janet Robinson
    9 years ago
    What would your suggestion be for Florida. Pavers verses stained concrete
  • kencandrews
    9 years ago
    Concrete and pavers up here in Canada aren't solely on esthetics. Pavers are usually the 'pretty' choice, but preparation and local conditions should be the deciding factors. Think of drainage and soil moisture and how it changes over the year.
  • kencandrews
    9 years ago
    Concrete and pavers up here in Canada aren't solely on esthetics. Pavers are usually the 'pretty' choice, but preparation and local conditions should be the deciding factors. Think of drainage and soil moisture and how it changes over the year.
  • PRO
    Haskell Design
    9 years ago
    At our mountain home, we poured 3 foot squares of colored concrete and put a warm colored gravel in the 3 inch spaces between the slabs. It looks great, wears well and allows for drainage. Unique and very serviceable .
  • mathomson5
    9 years ago
    If it were my home, I would wait a season and let the ground settle! Freeze, thaw, whatever, observe the runoff. Consider that the soil has been disturbed. (Is there a basement or deep footings below the frost line -- area under the first floor with a cement floor for air circulation?) Presumably you have a good builder who knows the soils in your area and on your site; presumably, he has done his job well. However, next year, you may regret making any decision if there is water flowing towards your home instead of away from it. According to County maps, our home is on one watershed in the front, and another in the back; and on clay soils. I also -- although I also manage a summer residence in a national forest on a sloping site without a basement -- over an underground acquifer. Our primary home was built in 1989 with the best available everything, and the regrading (after six years of flooded basements) was supervised by the building department of a county larger than six states! the same County that built the home. Ten years after this additional landscaping -- that did not solve the problem -- we had a cracked foundation (cement pour with rebar) -- we learned that this was a ten year "fix" and that the 2'x3'x2" Pennsylvania blue slate pavers (about $50 each in Virginia) had sloped towards the house as the added soil settled. In addition, we learned that the area where the foundation had first cracked was covered by a brick patio that had a less than one degree slope away from the house --one consultant said that he had never seen a brick patio last more than twenty years. Removing these pavers and digging 6"x12" ditches traversing away from the house, and fixing a more typical crack probably due to age -- and lots of water sitting outside the foundation -- solved the problem on a temporary basis. After consultation with many experts (and knowledge from participating with these experts in a county watershed management planning study) I learned that the lot grading could have been better near the corner where we experienced flooding, and later a cracked foundation. So, DON'T BE RUSHED. Disturbing the grading AFTER construction is completed to fix a leaky basement, cracked cement or sloping pavers would likely require a permit for disturbing the soil. In my county a permit is needed to change a grade more htan two feet. And more is needed to ease the ire of neighbors who would have more water on their own lots from me directing the water away from my own half acre. Rain gardens would not solve the problem. A good contractor should not rush a decision in an area where there is freezing and thawing. Consult a licensed landscape architect - not the buidling department -- and a soils engineer -- or anyone with lots of experience who is not the builder. Keep ten percent of the funds, or ask for a bond to ensure against drainage issues after a freeze and thaw. Ask for a rebate for the front and back porches if you can. Or excrow the funds and make arrangements to have the work done next season when it is landscaped. You can live with a wooden temporary porch until its time to landscape. 20 years of problems -- living on a watershed. Or two. Clay soils. Cracked cement, pavers that slope!! This is a recreation property? Relax and watch nature. AND IF YOU MUST GO AHEAD, stack the pavers and install them next year -- it's twice as much work to remove them and then re-install them as it is just to install them AFTER you know the drainage works as planned.
  • PRO
    zapex
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago
    We can offer you Granite Pavers in any shape, material and size. normally they are very expensive in the USA but we are located close to the biggest quarries in South China and ship them daily to the USA. you will get a natural product for the best price you can imagine.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    Wow! Thank you all so much for the information and great advice. We will bite the bullet and go with pavers. Just returned from vacation to a mountain resort in central Oregon and noticed they used beautiful pavers almost exclusively. The areas that were in concrete were pitted and cracking. Our builder is pretty great, he is just trying to be budget conscious which is why he suggested the stained concrete.
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    9 years ago
    thanks for keeping us informed, send pics when done
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    Will do KOH Const.
  • Pat K
    9 years ago
    I think you will be very happy witht the pavers for a long time. Good choice. Just an fyi....we have had to pick ours up and relevel after some settling and you would never know.. Thats the beauty of pavers. Can't wait to see the finish photo whenever you get it done! Happy "paving" !!
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    BTW it's a large covered rear patio and a covered entry with 2 steps up from driveway. Actual driveway will be blacktop. I wish it could also be pavers, but that would have been many thousands over budget.
  • guycaron
    9 years ago
    Stacy, what kind of pavers and how much oer sq ft?
  • PRO
    zapex
    9 years ago
    Consider granite pavers,
    You will love them
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    9 years ago
    Zapex, I may have a few projects in the near future that could use the granite pavers. How do I get pricing and available color?
  • PRO
    Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
    9 years ago
    Whoop! Pavers our choice too! All comments before have said it pointedly and succinctly -
  • PRO
    zapex
    9 years ago
    K.O.H we will be happy to work with you.
    All of our work is custom and made for order, please visit our site at: www.zapex.co and write us an email with the qty shapes and other info and we will prepare you a quote with some options to choose from.
  • PRO
    Vikrant Sharma Homez
    9 years ago
    See people are crazy for Pavers !
  • shellfish711
    9 years ago
    I live in detroit so may cannot speak to consistent large amts of snow. I have had both pavers and stamped concrete both as patio and driveway and hands down stamped concrete is my favorite. It does have to be sealed every 2-3 years however there is an additive that prevents a slippery surface. My driveway did develop some small cracks after several years however they were only superficial . Patio did not develop any cracks. Pavers very rustic however no matter what small weeds will grow and will get moss, You will have to put down weed killer 1-2 times per year and also occasionally add sand to joints. After about 6 years had to pull up and relevel a few areas of the pavers for proper drainoff. Never had any problems with draining of concrete, never iced as drainage set properly with installation. Pros and cons with any choice.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago
    After much thought and research we are now going with flagstone under teh covered back patio and entry, something like montana slate (haven't picket it out yet). It was actually our first choice, but we didn't think it was in the budget. For the fun of it, had the builder price it and it actually ended up being $600 less than the pavers. Will post pictures when they install it, tho it may not be for several weeks. Thanks for all your input!
  • PRO
    Ekhaya Designs
    8 years ago
    I am would have suggested acid stained concrete period.
  • PRO
    Ekhaya Designs
    8 years ago
    This above is regular concrete with attidute. Acid or water base stained and Engraved.
  • madeliene
    8 years ago
    Ekhaya Beautiful for inside! I think the pavers from the China Co above would be nice outside.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Update- we went with flagstone. Made the mistake of not specifying which kind or thickness and were not happy at all with the end result. The subs that installed it did not know what they were doing. For example, the pieces they used were too small and the grout lines too big. Many spots that dip and collect rain water due to an inexperienced crew. The sand they used was a newer "rubberized" product and after the winter is bubbling and falling apart. Luckily our wonderful general contractor is not happy with it either and is going to replace it using Roman Dominion Tumbled pavers with a new sub that has experience, and all for under $800 which is the cost difference in materials. Will have pictures soon.
  • Sharon
    8 years ago
    I had two bad experiences with pavers, so I had the same debate with our present home. The ideal solution is pavers that are placed OVER CONCRETE. Other pavers shifted and had poor appearance within 10 years. Do spend the extra money and heartily check references of your landscaping contractors (there are many unscrupulous ones). A hidden cost of stamped concrete is that it must be re-coated every few years to protect the surface.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Thanks Sharon, but stamped concrete was never considered. We were going to go with rustic looking STAINED concrete, until we noticed several homes near ours with badly cracked stained concrete, even if it was scored. There must be a reason so many mountain resorts use the pavers. With all the freeze thaw cycles we get, pavers have a definate advantage. I've seen this next crew's work and luckily they know what they are doing.
  • PRO
    Ekhaya Designs
    8 years ago
    Please keep up posted on the pics after the final touch. Did you take the picstures for the bad they did? Good luck and make sure there is proper drainage, meaning after rain or snow, the water doesn't flow towards the structure because the will lead to some expensive and serious structural damage in the future.
  • Nancy Messnick
    8 years ago
    Pavers......by an experienced professional. You will not be sorry.
  • PRO
    MINIMIS
    8 years ago
    Pavers only drain, until they get clogged up by decomposing leaves and dirt. they then essentially become an impervious surface. And don't use them on roof terraces.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    That is the first negative I've ever heard regarding pavers. Perhaps it depends on where you live. There should not be decomposing leaves to worry about, as we are in the middle of a very dry pine and douglas fir forest. Also my husband loves using his blower and the patio is covered. Not one of the paver patios of my neighbors are having any problems. If you have a better idea MINIMIS please let me know.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Here are pictures of what we are replacing. As you can see the rubberized sand is bubbling and looks pretty bad.
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    8 years ago
    that is bad and i agree with pavers
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    I appreciate all the viewpoints, however, it would be more helpful if you (HOH) could say exactly why you do not recommend pavers and what you would recommend? If you have ever traveled to vacation spots in high Mt ranges pavers are overwhelmingly the product of choice. From Whistler in Canada to Black Butte Ranch in Oregon to Sun Valley Idaho- pavers predominate.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Sorry KOH I misread your post! I need coffee :) Pavers it is!!
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    8 years ago
    Stacy, no problem. Polymeric sand (rubberized sand) is a good product and it takes a lot of experience to install. Hence the end result on the stone. They use it on pavers also and I would stay away from it. A good slope on the pavers should eliminate many potential problems. Good luck and we're looking forward to a beautiful finished product.
  • PRO
    Matt Patterson Custom Homes
    8 years ago
    If you use patterned concrete and score it deep enough, it should crack along the scores.
  • PRO
    Nick Dellos Creations
    8 years ago
    It looks like you have a great new pad! I agree that pavers properly installed have a great look. I hate to see concrete dismissed due to cracking. While it is rare that concrete is installed as a driveway in these harsh locations without cracking, it is due to engineering mismatch for the climate.

    The cost of a concrete drive with engineering and additives sufficient to handle these elements could be equal to pavers, but it is possible. Hardeners, extra thickness, more rebar and deeper gravel bed are all ways to enhance concrete.

    I am sure that pavers offer a more natural look on this great mountain setting but I couldn't help but add that either can work if the right team is calling the shots!
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Finally our landscape contractor is starting the paver job. We're really happy with the care and professionalism his crew is demonstrating. Very meticulous which we appreciate. Will have more pictures soon, but this is one midway through. Now we have another "problem" that woke up from the winter. The chipmunks are burrowing little tunnels under the patio. Any ideas anyone? We would prefer not to kill them if at all possible.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    90% complete, just sand grout left to do in this picture. Job is actually done and we are super happy just need to take a couple of more pictures this weekend.
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    PS much credit to Dave Wagner of Triple Sixteen Landscaping out of Monroe, WA. A true artist!
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    8 years ago
    Looks great. What is that area outside and left of the covered patio?
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    That area is phase I of our landscaping, which Triple Sixteen also designed and installed. In the curve of the arch will be bubbling basalt columns. Beyond is currently a base of 5/8th crushed gravel which will be Montana slate leading to the sunniest part of the back yard and will have a couple of steamer chairs for sunning and low curved stacked stone wall behind. We needed them to bring in the topsoil and rock and get the landscape design past the review board. We (husband and I) will plant (mostly native) this spring and fall. I am a landscape designer with my own small business since 1996, but because I am not an "architect" I could not design our own yard (per the restrictions of the Design Review Board). It's all good, now we get to do the fun part!
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Some more pictures of the first phase...
  • PRO
    K.O.H. Construction Corporation
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    This is really nice, keep the pics coming as plants go in. The basalt columns are very cool, are the readily available there?
  • stacy1061
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Thanks KOH! Will have more pictures next week. Yes the basalt columns are available at a local rockery in a nearby town. Due to the weather extremes we need the real deal rather than the "nice until they crack" precast imitation rock columns. The slate paths and patio won't be done until this fall.
  • Ann
    8 years ago
    Very nice! We had our driveway done in pavers 3 years ago and I love it.
  • PRO
    All Terrain Landscaping
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nice to see all the comments! We agree with almost everyone and feel that for a long term solution, pavers are definitely the way to go (when properly installed). Here is a look at a paver courtyard in Northern Colorado that we recently installed.