You have some new design ideas for your patio or walkway and want to completely change your landscape with some pavers. You also search for “paving companies near me” to hire paving contractors. However, now you’re stuck choosing between concrete and stone paving slabs. Let’s check out how they differ and what you should use for your landscape.
- Variety – When it comes to variety, both stone and concrete paving slabs have a wide range and don’t lose to each other. For instance, concrete paving slabs are made from concrete mixed with all sorts of aggregates and pigments. The pigments allow you to create concrete slabs of any color you want, while the aggregates are made of things like plastic, rubber, porcelain, and other such materials
Aggregates in concrete slabs determine the strength, resistance, tolerance, and durability of the slab. If you want to offset the environmental impact of concrete, you can also get slabs made of aggregate mix containing recycled glass, stone, or concrete obtained from demolished old buildings and structures.
Natural stone paving slabs also offer you a wide variety of choices. With technological improvements and supply chain optimization, they have become more affordable over the years. However, it’s best to opt for natural stone paving slabs instead of cheap man-made varieties.
Natural stone paving slabs come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and textures. Moreover, since they are made from natural quarried stones, each slab will be unique in its own way and give your pathway, patio, or driveway a distinct character. You can opt for those that are rough around the edges or choose smooth stones that can be clean cut into the exact size you want.
- Cost – For concrete slabs, the cost can vary dramatically depending on the color, texture, and manufacturing technique. You can get budget slabs for just around a few dollars every square foot. However, depending on the aggregates and the texture, the cost can easily climb up to three digits.
However, when you pay the high price, you also get rewarded immensely. Carefully crafted concrete paving slabs that are made from porcelain aggregates look very similar to real stones. If you’re an inexperienced homeowner, you’ll have a hard time telling the difference between an expensive concrete slab and a natural stone slab.
A few decades ago, natural stone pavers used to be out of the reach of most homeowners. They could put you back several hundred dollars on every square foot. Some varieties are still several times more expensive than the priciest concrete slab and are usually opted for by celebrities and millionaires.
However, supply chain optimizations and the abundant quarries in India and China have brought down the price of natural stone paving slabs very quickly. You can get them for as low as $25 for every square foot. They are stones naturally occurring in the ground and are simply cut out of the ground, shaped to different sizes, and shipped around the world. That’s why they don’t lose out in terms of quality when compared to natural stone quarried in the West.
While costs are comparable for both concrete and natural stone paving slabs, natural stone wins out when you consider resale value. Natural stone is still perceived as a luxury material and when incorporated into your landscaping, it can fetch you a higher price than concrete when you sell your home.
- Durability – Natural stones are made naturally for thousands of years under heat and pressure and other geographic and climatic factors. When they are formed, they withstand the onslaught of natural elements, harsh weather conditions and still come out on top after thousands of years. That’s why most ancient architecture throughout the world was made from natural stones. When you use natural stone paving slabs for your landscape, you don’t need to worry about durability.
On the other hand, despite the advancements in technology and refinements in the manufacturing process, concrete paving slabs still lose out to natural stone when it comes to durability. While they have high resistance to temperature differences, prolonged exposure to extremely hot or cold days can develop cracks and other imperfections very quickly.
- Installation – Obviously, cost and durability aren’t the only two factors you need to consider while deciding on the material for your patio or walkway. You also need to think about installation time and convenience.
Both concrete and stone paving slabs are installed in a similar way. The ground needs to be leveled and several layers of sand and gravel need to be compacted before the slabs are put into their place. That’s why they take almost the same amount of installation time.
However, things look a little different when you factor in prep work. Concrete slabs are dense and relatively easy to work with. You can cut them into neat shapes very easily and adjust accordingly when you need to close off rounded corners. Natural stone doesn’t come with that convenience. You need more time to perfectly cut it into shape or risk damaging it.
- Aesthetic and timeless – Concrete paving slabs become dull over time and don’t look quite the same after a decade or two. It’s even worse if they get blemishes, stains, and other signs of damage. You may need to get a few slabs replaced or completely remake the patio or other landscaping features.
With a natural stone surface, blemishes can be a positive thing. They are like hardwood flooring. With surface blemishes and time, they develop a new look over the years and age like a fine wine. Moreover, depending on the style and texture, they can look good in both indoor and outdoor features.
Now that you know all about stone and concrete paving slabs, you should assess their advantages over each other and choose the slab that’s best for you. To get the slabs installed in your home, you can hire a professional by searching for “paving companies near me”.
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