The materials used to craft a stunning walkway, driveway, or patio is what will set it apart from other hardscape features in your Sterling Heights, MI, neighborhood. Once you’ve decided to upgrade your outdoor living space—with brand-new patio pavers or stepping stones to lead to your entranceway—you’ll be asked the critical question of what kind of pavers you want to use. You’ll need to know the differences between concrete and clay pavers.
While clay pavers (sometimes referred to as brick pavers) and concrete pavers may look similar at first glance, there are important differences between them:
Material Choices for Your Hardscape
While you may come across concrete pavers that mimic the look of brick, technically these are not bricks. The word “brick” is often used to describe a brick-like shape, not necessarily the material it’s made from. Brick pavers are made from kiln-fired clay whereas concrete pavers can be fashioned to mimic the look of traditional clay bricks. Concrete pavers are made with Portland cement and aggregates (sand and gravel).
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Uses for Pavers
Clay pavers have been used for centuries as an all-purpose building material. Outdoors, this material is commonly used on patios, walkways, and in retaining walls but less commonly in high-traffic areas. For hardscape features that will see a lot of traffic, concrete pavers are often preferred; the Portland cement in concrete pavers gives them higher compressive strength than clay bricks, making them extremely durable.
Both clay and concrete pavers complement many architectural styles, from traditional to ultramodern. Today, concrete pavers are usually chosen for modern/minimalist applications.
Clay pavers can be as much as 20 percent costlier than concrete pavers of similar quality, partly due to the higher installation cost. The process of cutting them can be more involved, adding to the price of labor. They’re also more varied in size while concrete pavers are exactly alike and are relatively easier to install.
Because their pigment comes from natural clays, clay pavers are limited in choice of colors. But the colors they do have are gorgeous, especially in the sunlight, and will be retained for years. They are also stain and fade resistant.
With concrete pavers, you have more color choices. Some pavers’ colors may fade from UV rays if they are left unsealed although many homeowners find that sealing is unnecessary and prefer to see their pavers mature naturally. If you do seal, the sealant needs must be reapplied every three to five years to maintain colorfastness.
Both types of pavers are durable options and will last for generations if they are installed properly. In the unlikely event that damage occurs, the paver can be replaced without disturbing the rest of the hardscape.
There’s very little maintenance required with either paver choice. While some homeowners may chose to seal their concrete pavers periodically, others have found that moss growing on brick pavers is desirable. Both materials may require weed maintenance and cleaning to extend their lifespans.
Concrete pavers may be chosen for their eco-friendly natured. Since they are dimensionally consistent, there is very little cutting or shaping needed onsite to install them, resulting in less waste.