Pavers vs. Concrete: Making the Best Choice for Your Outdoor Living Space in Ohio

When designing your ideal outdoor living space, one of the significant decisions you will face is choosing between pavers and concrete. While pavers are more expensive than concrete initially, they offer superior long-term benefits, particularly in Ohio’s unique climate and soil conditions. Join the experts at Werbrich Custom Outdoor Living and discover why pavers might be the better investment for your outdoor project.

Paver Patio & Fire Pit

Concrete: The Affordable Yet Challenging Option

Concrete is a popular choice due to its affordability and versatility. It can be molded into various shapes and finishes, providing a clean and functional surface. However, concrete has its limitations, especially in regions like Ohio, where the climate and soil can pose significant challenges.

Ohio’s soil contains a high clay content, which expands when wet and contracts during dry conditions. This fluctuation can lead to substantial movement beneath concrete slabs, causing them to crack. Further, Ohio experiences multiple freeze-thaw cycles each year, exacerbating the pressure on concrete surfaces and leading to further cracking. According to Michael Boeck,
Landscape Architect at Werbrich Custom Outdoor Living, “There is no pretty way to repair a crack or an easy way to level it.”

Another issue with concrete is its color consistency. You can never be entirely sure what color you will get, and over time, the color tends to fade significantly. In Ohio, concrete surfaces must be sealed every 2-3 years to maintain their appearance, as the UV rays from the sun can rapidly deteriorate the material.

Sealing concrete also incurs ongoing costs. “Sealing a concrete patio
every couple of years does cost money,” noted Boeck. “While concrete can perform well in dry and arid areas, it is not ideally suited for Ohio’s climate.”

Pavers: A Durable and Aesthetic Solution

Pavers, although initially more expensive, offer a range of benefits that can make them a more cost-effective solution in the long run. Pavers are set on a base of aggregate, which allows water to drain and accommodates minor movements without causing significant issues. This flexibility is crucial in dealing with Ohio’s clay soil and freeze-thaw cycles.

With a properly prepared base, pavers experience minimal movement. However, they might require leveling every decade or so. Unlike concrete, pavers are easily repairable. If a paver becomes damaged or sinks, it can be lifted and replaced without disturbing the surrounding area. Additionally, the polymer sand used between pavers hardens and acts like grout, enhancing the interlock and preventing weed growth, explained Boeck.

Pavers also offer superior durability and aesthetic appeal compared to concrete. Their color is less likely to fade over time, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and colors, allowing homeowners to achieve any look they desire, from modern to traditional to natural. “You can achieve any look with them,” said Boeck.

Recent advancements in paver technology have further improved their performance. Some modern pavers are made with a concrete top surface that is more stain and weather-resistant, adding to their longevity and ease of maintenance.

Paver Patio Covered Pavilion

Considerations and Recommendations

While pavers offer numerous advantages, they are not suitable for every budget. The initial cost is higher, and the installation requires more skill compared to concrete. Proper cutting and elevation adjustment are crucial to ensure a seamless look and function.

Despite the higher upfront cost, Boeck strongly recommends waiting until your budget allows for pavers if you are looking for a premium, long-lasting result. “If you only want to do this once, then wait to get your budget to where it needs to be to get pavers,” he advised.

It’s also important to note that stamped concrete, while visually appealing, is not ideal for areas around pools due to its slippery nature. Colored concrete can look good initially, but depending on the pigment, up to 50% of the color may fade within the first five years, requiring regular sealing to maintain its appearance.
While concrete can be a serviceable and cost-effective option for outdoor spaces, pavers provide a more flexible, durable, and aesthetically pleasing solution, especially in Ohio’s challenging climate and soil conditions. If your budget allows, investing in pavers will likely yield greater satisfaction and longevity. For those looking to create a beautiful and enduring outdoor living space, pavers are the superior choice.

For more personalized advice and to explore the best options for your outdoor project, contact the experts at Werbrich Custom Outdoor Living. Our team is dedicated to helping you create the outdoor space of your dreams with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship.

fire pit and paver patio