Stamped Concrete vs. Pavers (Detailed Guide)

When using heavy-duty materials and means to make some home renovations, researching and learning are key elements of the process! However, when renovating the exterior of your home, should you install concrete pavers or stamped concrete? Which one is better?

Stamped concrete is cheaper than concrete pavers and is easy to maintain. However, it is difficult to repair. Meanwhile, concrete pavers are expensive and hard to maintain, but they can easily be repaired. Both last for about 30 years if taken care of properly.

In order to get an idea of all the combined pros and cons connected with working with stamped concrete and concrete pavers, and learn how to best decorate and personalize your front yard, or backyard with them, keep reading!

Stamped Concrete Process

When using concrete for architecture, landscaping, or decorating, it is important to know that depending on where a homeowner lives, this process is often the most affordable option. When this concrete is poured, it can be stamped with designs that offer a huge span of various stone-like textures and patterns.

Stamping concrete can also yield many different color options to pick from. Maintaining stamped concrete proves to be pretty doable and easy, as it only needs some routine cleaning and occasional resealing. On the other hand, repairing this concrete can be pricey and complicated as weather, tree roots, and time break down concrete.

If preserved well, stamped concrete can last and serve homeowners well for as long as 30 years! Cleaning and managing this type of concrete is a full-time job in a way. It should be swept and washed every now and again in order to get rid of dirt and debris.

Garden hoses, push brooms, and mild detergents can all be utilized when cleaning stamped pavement. In order to clean the concrete, it should be rinsed with a hose on high-pressure mode, scrubbed with a bit of liquid dish soap with a push broom, and rinsed once more to remove soap, dirt, and debris.

Concrete Pavers Process

Concrete pavers have gone by the alternative name of interlocking concrete slabs, and offer many positive results. These pavers often cost more than stamped concrete since pavers come in diverse colors, designs, stone-like sizes, and a variety of shapes!

The finish and color of pavers often cannot be altered after the base color is picked, however. The maintenance of pavers is thus very complex since it also needs consistent replenishing of joint sand in between the chosen slabs of concrete.

Repairing these pieces usually proves to be fairly seamless and simple, since these pavers are far stronger than poured and stamped concrete, so they stand up better to adverse weather and wear and tear. Plus, if one paver is broken, you can likely just remove it and replace it with a new one that is similar in size, color, and shape.

Just like poured and stamped concrete, concrete pavers can last up to about 30 years of use when they are cared for correctly. For smaller and more manageable sections of landscaping, like smaller patios or pathways, concrete pavers can be created and laid out by the homeowners themselves.

For bigger, more intense projects, like making a driveway or putting in a huge amount of paver slabs, a professional should be hired to get the job done. Every type of concrete paver has sand, gravel, water, and portland cement mixed into it. Depending on the amount of each of these ingredients the mixture being used has, both the texture and durability of pavers vary.

To learn how to install concrete pavers, watch the following video.

Interlocking pavers are wonderful since they can be made with uniform joints created with edge spacers, they can be made thick and durable, and pavers can even be made with impressively strong and stiff concrete mixes. Another type of paver slab is an architectural slab. Architectural slabs are created from molds of wet concrete that look very similar to bricks or stone pieces. There are no edge spacers for architectural slabs, and it should be known that they are often too thin to use in driveways.

Cost Figures

Oftentimes, it is more cost-effective to simply pour concrete around the home and then impress a pattern into it to finish it off. Pouring concrete is cheaper than hauling heavy paving units and spending the time to place them by hand. If homeowners go with the more diversified, and thus expensive, concrete pavers, they can cost as much as $20 per square foot.

Usually, normal stamped concrete can cost anywhere between $8 to $12 per square foot of concrete. For more complex projects, poured and then stamped concrete costs as much as $18 per square foot. However, this cost might vary depending on where you live.

For people who have a tighter budget, this process can be made more affordable by mixing up the stamped concrete with cheaper, plain concrete. Even though it is mixed with this other type, the concrete mixture will still yield satisfactory and admirable results! The cost of installing the concrete and stamping it isn’t the only important element to consider. Years later, the same concrete will be in need of maintenance and repairs.

At the end of the day, both stamped concrete and concrete pavers are shockingly close in price. Because of the small difference in prices, it is more than worth it to think ahead and plan out what the specific costs will be for installation, hiring contractors for installation, long-term maintenance, and future repairs. This can be done by consulting with architectural experts and concrete contractors who can give fairly accurate feedback on what the best choices will be.

Consultations will aid in determining the best course of action. No matter which option is decided upon, either one is going to be more costly than simply pouring in-place concrete. Of course, the level of price variance, labor costs, price of materials, and the local market will all collectively affect the cost to install concrete pavers or stamped concrete.

Repairing and Replacing

When it comes to repairing whatever style of concrete is put in, it’s important to know the ins and outs of what to do going forward. Oftentimes, precast concrete pavers are advantageous due to their seamlessly easy replacement and repair method, especially when compared with pour-in-place concrete.

When concrete pavers become cracked, damaged, or even sunken, they can be reset or replaced. The end results will be more than wonderful because you likely won’t notice where the new paver is after it has been properly installed.

Stamped concrete often is installed by pouring the concrete in large slabs, which are vulnerable to cracking thanks to large and snaking underground tree roots, various disturbances, earthquakes, and the freezing and thawing cycle of the winter. Emergencies and disruptions like these can shift the sub-base underneath the concrete slab, causing damage.

When this cracking occurs, there is not much that you can do in order to fix it or make it look how it did before. On the bright side, as long as the concrete is structurally sound, minor defects can be repaired and you can avoid ripping out and replacing the entire concrete slab as a whole.

When all is said and done, whether it’s concrete pavers being installed or stamped concrete, there will always be repairing and replacing in the future. However, the likelihood of these repairs decreases if the concrete or pavers are installed correctly and above a hard compact subgrade. These types of repairs can rack up a high bill quickly, so do research and take precautions from the start and throughout owning these special yard touches!


In order to maintain pristine stamped concrete and concrete pavers, use pressure washing on stains that can occur on the driveway, walking path, or patio. Make sure the water pressure isn’t set to be too high, since that could damage the sealant or textured surface! Luckily, there are contractors that can perform professional concrete cleaning if cleaning is forgotten for a while.

While sealants will help to prevent staining, it’s still a better idea to get rid of any oil, spills, grease stains, and any other potentially damaging substances right after they happen! With careful routine cleaning, these surfaces will be kept looking beautiful and will be better protected from harmful wear and tear! There is even a sealant that can be purchased and used to minimize surface abrasion and enhance the color of the pavers.

Keep in mind, for concrete pavers especially, the joints in between slabs will require extra attention and maintenance in order to keep the in-between areas properly filled with sand. There is also the matter of the weather–the more extreme the weather, the more damage occurs.

In concrete pavers, sand within the joints may need replenishing about every 2 or 3 years in order to prevent any weeds from growing in between the pieces. By filling these joints with a polymer sand, the special ingredients of polymeric additive will help bind and harden the mixture as a terrific guard against erosion and plant growth.

To learn more about maintaining pavers, watch the following video.

Using the appropriate corresponding sealers will make the cleaning process far easier and faster since this helps to prevent oil and stains from penetrating too deep. On the other hand, if these extra steps of resanding paver joints don’t sound doable or worth the effort and time, poured-in-place and stamped concrete will probably be the better and easier choice in some ways.

Decorative Options!

Once the form of landscaping is decided, either pavers or stamped concrete, the decision of decorating can also be considered! For instance, pavers can be made in a variety of patterns and colors in order to form gorgeous contrasts and borders. Helpful photo galleries can be researched and found online for ideas with landscaping decor.

Stamped concrete can be versatile in the sense that it can be altered to look like brick or natural stone. Something that stamped concrete can do that pavers can not is be altered to visually look like wooden or randomized stone patterns and symbols. With stamped concrete, seamless stone-like textures can be ingrained into the material.

This also bears the advantage of having no grout or pattern lines and marks! By using texture skins, stamped concrete can truly be made into a masterpiece, all in customizable color options thanks to dry-shake color hardeners and color stains!

Which Option is Better?

These differences are why it can be such a great idea to compare and contrast the differences between these pathway options. Whether choosing concrete pavers or stamped concrete, make sure to investigate what these competing costs turn out to be, particularly on the nearby local level. Costs can vary a bit depending on where materials are bought from state to state, store to store, and even service to service! After budgets, limits, time constraints, and decoration preferences are all known, it will likely become clear which choice you should go with!

For more clarification on which option is better, watch the following video.

Which is Easier to Install: Pavers or Stamped Concrete?

Both of these types of pathways are best arranged when installed above closely compacted and properly graded subgrade beneath it. You will need to put time and effort into clearing and preparing the foundation for both options.

However, pavers tend to take longer than stamped concrete since the work and labor required for the placement of each singular unit takes a long time on average. For example, it usually takes around 3 days to install a 2,000-square-foot paver driveway. The complexity of each project also affects and factors into how long each project will take, no matter which option is chosen.

On the plus side, concrete pavers can be ready to use and walked on right after being placed. Poured-in-place concrete usually needs to be set for about 24 hours before foot traffic travels over it, and it needs a whole week before cars and vehicles can be driven over it. If it’s still a tough decision between pavers and stamped concrete, concrete contractors can always be questioned about what the overall process will likely cost and how long it will take to complete!

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