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Paver Patios vs. Concrete Patios: Which is Right for You?

September 18th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Phil Parsons

You’ve got a backyard space you want to transform. And if that’s your goal, you’ve probably gone looking for info online, only to be dizzied by a flurry of yard design sites. You know the two big options for a patio are pavers or concrete, but you’re confused about how to choose.

At KP Contracting, we’re familiar with all different kinds of patios. And we know there are upsides to concrete slabs and pavers. But what really matters is which set of upsides better suits your goals. 

Are you more of a paver or a concrete person? By the end of this post, you’ll know how to compare both options, so you can answer that question intelligently. We’ll walk through the pros and cons of both options, so you’ll know which option suits your outdoor living needs.

Paver Pros

Pavers are more attractive 

Concrete is utilitarian. It’s the material of city sidewalks, elementary schools, and county rec centers. Those connotations are unshakeable. Your brain will notice them, even if your conscious mind doesn’t.

Paver stones contrarily look real. Whether you’re dealing with real flagstone and brick, or the concrete-based pavers most contractors use today, most people would agree pavers look better. Having a range of different colored paver stones that resemble slate creates a more attractive look than a solid, undifferentiated concrete slab.

Paver stones aren’t just more attractive alone. There’s a broader range of attractive possibilities when they’re combined.  Although many pavers today are fabricated, modern factory processes produce a realistic appearance that is far superior to what can be achieved in field applications such as stamped concrete.

Very few people would prefer concrete with a painted green design to this.

Pavers are more durable

If you go with real paver stones, you’ll be going with a much stronger material. Real stone can take up to 8,000 psi of pressure, compared with the 3,000-4,000 psi that average concrete can withstand. For reference, 3,000-4,000 psi is the rating used in most driveways, so that psi level can handle an average car. Stone can tackle twice that amount. Some forms of granite can even hold up to 19,000 psi.  Fabricated pavers are fabricated with a very high-strength concrete that could not be used in stamped concrete because the curing profile is not suitable for stamping.  

Pavers offer more design options 

Pavers offer more patterns than concrete. The range of possible designs for pavers is dizzying. They’re as diverse as traditional herringbone, and more unorthodox options like pinwheels or ashlar. The range is limited only by budget and imagination. For example…

Pavers are easier to repair

Get ready to take notes, because I’m about to tell you how to replace a damaged paver stone:

  1. Buy a new one and replace the old one
  2. Why are you still reading this. You’re done.

A crack in your concrete patio’s going to require either some quickrete, or a visit from your installer. A damaged paver stone simply needs to be replaced. Repairing stamped concrete is extremely difficult because every batch of dyed concrete will dry a slightly different color.

Paver Cons


Pavers cost more than concrete

Where a concrete patio is usually in the $12-$20 range per square foot, a paver patio is more often in the $28-40 range per square foot. Stamped concrete will normally run about $20 - $28 range per square foot.  Labor cost is also an issue, as paver patios require at least a six-inch base, which often requires excavation before a single stone is even laid.

Pavers aren’t good on unreliable soil

If you have soft soil, a paver patio  could require removal of unsuitable soils before installation of the paver base. Otherwise, you might be looking at pavers that sink into the ground. 

Two types of patio base, from Family Handyman. The left shows a typical patio base, and the right shows a patio where plastic pavel panels have been substituted for granite.


Concrete Pros

Concrete costs less

In general, a concrete patio will be ½ the cost of a paver patio. If cost is the driving factor for you, that’s a big plus for concrete. Concrete patios can run from $4 to $30 a square foot, but more often fall in the $12-$20 range. If you want a design stamped onto the concrete (a stamped concrete patio), that will add roughly 50% to the overall price of concrete with a troweled or brushed finish.

Concrete’s more attractive than normally acknowledged

Concrete itself may be drab, but there’s a wide range of colored stains to liven things up. On one hand, colored concrete isn’t as attractive as flagstone. On the other hand, how often will a guest inspect the surface of your patio? The concrete/paver debate is similar to the real wood/composite debate in decks or flooring: a “good enough” artificial material still looks good. 

 A brief perusal of just one brand’s offerings will likely have a color you’re interested in. 

Regardless of your home’s color scheme, you can probably find something.

Stains come in acid-based and water-based varieties. Since acid-based stains fade less under UV rays than water-based stains, that’s likely a better option for your patio.

Concrete can work on soft soil

A paver patio won’t work on soft soil, but steel rebar in a concrete patio makes it a possibility. Steel-reinforced concrete is incredibly durable. Concrete that’s been installed properly and reinforced with steel will likely only have ⅛ to ¼ inch cracks at most. Those, in turn, can be mitigated by placing relief lines that will attract and direct cracks. 

Concrete cons


Concrete is prone to cracking

If they made contractor fortune cookies, one would surely read: “there’s concrete that’s cracked, and concrete that hasn’t cracked yet.” Once you got past the irony that you had to break the cookie to read that, you’d realize it’s right. 

Concrete may be a metaphor for solidity, but it’s surprisingly pliable. Heat and cold makes it contract, creating cracks. Water gets into its porous surface, creating cracks. When soil pushes upward (when it “heaves”) or sinks (when it “settles”), those phenomena can create cracks, too. 

Concrete is less aesthetically pleasing 

“Follow the yellow-concrete road” sounds a lot less impressive for a reason. Pavers arranged in a tight, well-constructed pattern project a sense of ordered elegance. Concrete, on the other hand, is inevitably reminiscent of brutalist Eastern Bloc architecture:


In Soviet Russia, con-cretes YOU

Put differently, no one is trying to make paving stones look like concrete, but you can get concrete stamped in multiple patterns.

Paver Patios vs. Concrete: Which do you choose?

The pros and cons boil down to this: which option matches your needs? There’s maintenance involved with pavers or concrete, and either can look great with the right design. What really matters is the vision you have for your outdoor space, and what suits your family’s needs.


Interested in what you could further do with a paver patio? Check out this post for ideas. If you’re ready to get started on either option, give us a call at 240-266-5900, or reach out to us here

Phil Parsons

Phil Parsons is an owner at KP Contracting with 20-years’ experience in custom remodeling and the development of outdoor living spaces that bring friends and family together. He is a degreed engineer, and his work has been featured on HGTV.