We are often asked to compare stamped concrete to interlocking stone in this industry, and we almost always answer that question with “ How long are you planning on living in your house ? “
Although every contractor or professional has their own opinion, we will try to shed some light on the pro’s and con’s of both products to help you make the choice that works best for your situation.
Benefits of using poured concrete…
Provides a strong durable surface on driveways or patios of any size, and has the ability to be finished several different ways. The broom finish is the most common finish you see on any public sidewalk or large surface area. You could opt to have it colored or possibly stamped. Concrete driveways require little maintenance and are easy to clear snow from, if staining occurs generally a light dose of detergent will do the trick to remove dirt and oil.
Concrete driveways are affordable when you compare them to high priced interlocking pavers or natural stone. When you choose the premium stamped concrete you will find the price will start to level out and not look like such a good deal.
Things to consider when using poured concrete…
With most stamped concrete driveways or patios you will start to see flaking of the top surface within two years of installation. All stamped concrete driveways or large areas require pressure cuts in the top surface area every 4 to 8 feet. This means your finished surface area will always have horizontal or vertical cut lines in the finished product. Most often this is where the water tends to drain which may result in heaving, especially during the late winter months or early spring days.
When cracking or heaving happens the only true way to fix the situation would be to jack hammer out the product and start from the beginning. Most repair costs to stamped concrete driveways or patios will tend to be on the high side of your budget. Most contractors will recommend sealing the finished product to protect against the color fading out of it, which will only result in added maintenance costs every 2 to 3 years.
Advantages to Interlocking Stone…
The biggest advantage to interlocking stone would be the endless options in style and color that are provided. Interlocking stone has a wide range of sizes, patterns and thickness that can be used in any situation with any house or commercial building ever built.
Interlocking stone is made from concrete with color additives placed in the mix at the time of production and not added after. This allows the contractor to be creative in mixing and matching colors to your house and at the same time creating a unique design for your investment.
Interlocking stone is extremely durable and does not crack. It will never need an expansion joint cut into it, and is extremely cost effective to repairs with minimal maintenance cost. Interlocking stone products are produce and per portioned for any size project or installation.
The most common story we hear is that the product sunk or that you can see ruts in the driveway. This tends to make people believe that the stone is to blame for this, when actually nine times out of ten it’s a result of the base materials not being prepared properly or the possibility that you hired the wrong person to do the job.
Things to consider…
There will be a minimal maintenance cost of adding sand to the joints. If polymeric sand or a hardening sand of some sort is not used you are opening the door to allow for weed growth. Most weeds grow from the top surface never through the base material.
The Professionals Say…
When considering spending your hard earned money I hope you choose the product that best suits you. If it was our choice to make, I would always prefer to pick the product that displays the best in your surroundings; matches well with the house, has minimal maintenance costs and allows you to complete the project one time. When comparing all costs involved with completing your project we are confident in saying that interlocking stone is a much better choice to make and will look great forever.