Selecting a hardscape material for your Reading, PA, paver patio and other outdoor areas is one of the most important decisions you can make for your landscape. Your choice of hardscaping material is a far bigger commitment than, say, plantings and furniture, as it cannot be easily changed once installed. It’s therefore a decision not to be taken lightly.
With this in mind, many homeowners ask what the best hardscape material for their landscape is. It’s not a simple answer, but one that depends on your style and vision. Analyzing these qualities will help you determine the best option to suit your needs.
There’s a vast variety of paving materials available, so consider each one as you anticipate making a decision. As you contemplate the pros and cons of natural stone vs concrete pavers, the following information will hopefully make your decision a little easier.
Natural stone encompasses a wide variety of naturally occurring materials, including flagstone, bluestone, limestone, granite and travertine - each with their own unique properties. Each stone comes in varying colors and generally provides an earthy look, with a rich, textured appearance. One advantage of using natural stone is the natural beauty and character that it offers. This character can often change with age as the stone wears, fades and matures.
Natural stone offers a variety of shapes, textures and sizes of pavers, including irregular slabs that can be used to create a high degree of character and visual interest. Randomized irregular flagstone paving, for example, is not something that is easily achieved with concrete pavers. Using natural stone, an earthy feel is achieved with rugged lines and lack of obvious symmetry, giving the feeling that the patio is naturally crafted. Every piece of stone also possesses a unique look, from natural aging, weathering and formational processes.
Because of availability, transport costs and quarrying processes, however, natural stone generally comes in at a higher initial investment than concrete pavers, and depending on the stone, may require continuous maintenance expense as well.
Concrete pavers are manmade, meaning they can be found in virtually any shape, size, color or texture suited to your needs. The shapes of concrete pavers range from elongated plank-like pavers to large format squares, and the traditional brick shape, ensuring an endless selection of styles, from modern to classic. Concrete pavers can also be manufactured to almost perfectly replicate the details of other materials, such as brick and natural stone, to establish an authentic look. This means that softer, less durable stone, such as limestone or travertine, can be effectively substituted with long-lasting alternatives. Concrete pavers are manufactured for strength and durability and many are guarded against fading, wear and weathering, ensuring that the surface remains looking new for longer.
Another advantage of concrete pavers is their ability to withstand temperature changes, expanding with the winter freeze and contracting with summer thaw without cracking. Concrete pavers are easily replaced, and perform well under heavy loads and frequent use.