With so many different paving materials to choose from, deciding on the right paver for your outdoor area can be tricky. You might start to wonder: what’s the difference between concrete and brick pavers? What are the disadvantages of getting bluestone pavers? For some, the process can quickly become overwhelming.
When choosing a paving material, it’s important to understand your options, your budget and your lifestyle requirements.
To help you choose the right paver for your home, we’ve created a list of common paving materials that includes the pros and cons of each.
In Australia, bluestone is a type of sandstone often used in driveways, walkways and pool paving. New bluestone starts out with a deep blue tone but over time fades to a natural grey that complements many modern home designs. Bluestone can be cut into different shapes, giving it aesthetic flexibility when it comes to tile patterns.
In terms of durability, bluestone paving can withstand extreme weather conditions and constant temperature changes. This makes it suitable for patios, verandahs or any other area that might be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
However, because of its aesthetic and practical qualities, authentic bluestone can be one of the more costly paving options. Additionally, because of the varying shape and thickness of bluestone, the installation process will be a bit more difficult compared to other pavers. Bluestone pavers must also be sealed regularly to protect it from moisture and to minimise discoloration. Both the complex installation and the re-sealing process adds to the overall running cost of bluestone pavers.
Travertine has been a popular building material for thousands of years. It’s a form of limestone that has been used to build cathedrals, sculptures and architectural wonders like the Roman Colosseum. Today, travertine is used as indoor and outdoor flooring in commercial and residential properties.
A characteristic feature of travertine is its naturally-occurring surface patterns. These subtle, hazy patterns will add an aesthetic flair to your outdoor spaces without being too distracting. In terms of the overall colour, you will have a choice between muted earth tones. These tones can be easily implemented into a clean and modern home design.
Much like bluestone, travertine is able to endure extreme weather conditions and temperature cycles. Its non-slip texture also makes it perfect for pool decks and garden paths that are near ponds.
Unfortunately, due to its porous surface, travertine is prone to staining. Strong acids like vinegar and citric juices can leave enduring stains on your flooring even when it’s sealed.
For homeowners looking for a low-cost paver, concrete is the most popular choice. Because they’re man-made, they are available in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. This versatility allows homeowners to achieve the look that they want without having to spend money on expensive natural materials. Also, because the shape and thickness of concrete can be made consistent, the installation process can be easier and more cost effective than some natural stone.
When compared to more premium pavers, however, low-cost concrete has a significant shorter lifespan. Additionally, since the colour is artificially added in, the pigmentation can easily fade when exposed to sunlight.
Granite is a natural stone known for its simplistic beauty and style. It offers a wider range of colours than other natural stone pavers. It comes in various shades of tan, beige, yellow and blue. Of course, for a more understated and minimalist look, you can also opt for a timeless white or black finish.
When it comes to durability, granite is at the top of the heap. It’s hard surface allows it to endure heavy foot traffic and surface damage. It’s resistant to chipping, scratching and cracking. Unlike travertine, granite is stain resistant, making it quite easy to keep clean.
Granite pavers also offer a couple of safety features. It is non-slip, making it an ideal paver near pools and ponds. Additionally, it is heat-resistant and non-combustible. So, if you have a fireplace or another area that is exposed to a heat source, granite can be a great paving option.
Unfortunately, these grand features come at a cost. Due to its hard surface, granite is quite difficult to acquire and process. This makes it quite an expensive paver even when compared to other natural stones. It’s also extremely heavy, which can add to transport and installation costs.
Brick pavers are eco-friendly, easy to install and features that classic patterned look. The interlocking system of brick pavers allows it to be more flexible when compared to concrete. It’s flexibility allows it to adjust to the shifting soil underneath it.
Although brick pavements can withstand soil shifting, it can be prone to cracking when exposed to direct sunlight. Also, despite it’s classic aesthetic, the design options that are available to you are quite limited. The colours and patterns can be altered, but you won’t have the same range of options as you have with granite or concrete.
There are plenty of paving materials to choose from. The best thing to do as a homeowner is to understand the pros and cons for each option and see how it suits your budget, practical requirements and aesthetic preferences. Hopefully this blog gave you a solid understanding of what is available in the market. If you need help, contact a paving specialist to help you build an outdoor space that you’ll love.