Homeowners usually want their driveway to look nice, be reasonably priced, require little maintenance, and withstand many types of weather. Concrete provides many looks, styles, and colors, while brick pavers provide countless years of durability. The main things to consider when choosing driveway material are initial cost, maintenance, durability, and style preference.
Brick pavers are made of clay that varies from red to orange and grays. Bricks are available as rectangles or squares and feature a variety of textures. Brick pavers are stronger than concrete, require little maintenance, add a style that is unmatched by any other medium, and last for hundreds of years. Some of brick pavers' negatives include a high initial cost of $17 to $20 or more per square foot as of 2010; and the fact that the bricks don't interlock, which allows weeds to grow between them unless grouted. On the other hand, grouting would increase maintenance cost because you'll have to re-grout.
While costing nearly the same as brick, interlocking concrete pavers do not have the same problems as poured and stamped concrete. A natural joint between the pavers allows for adjustments during pressure and movement caused by weather. Concrete pavers are installed on a layer of sand and are strong and uniform in size and color. Concrete pavers come in many colors, shapes, and surface textures. The finished look is limited only by your imagination. Concrete pavers are not as strong as bricks and will crack more easily.
Stamped concrete is used to make concrete look similar to paving stones. A dye is added before the concrete is poured. Patterns are stamped into the concrete after it is poured and before hardening. Concrete stamping is initially cost-effective at $7 to $12 per square foot as of 2010, but comes with higher maintenance costs in the long run. Stamped concrete has the same difficulties as poured concrete--cracking and matching colors when repairing. Stamped concrete requires regular resealing and is nearly impossible to match color when repairing.
The cheapest driveway material is poured concrete at $4 to $6 per square foot as of 2010. Concrete is prone to cracks, which tend to be costly and unsightly. Cracks are caused by heavy loads, ground movement, and weather. It is nearly impossible to match the color of the concrete when repairing cracks that appear year after year. Poured concrete lasts 30 years or more, but is susceptible to costly repairs.
When choosing between brick and concrete for your driveway, your priorities are important. If your main concern is initial cost, poured concrete may be the best choice. If your main concern is little lifetime maintenance, bricks seem like the way to go. Concrete pavers look like a viable middle-of-the-road option.
- Photo Credit brown and white house image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com
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