Pros/Cons of Pavers vs Concrete Decking 31, 2010

Here we go! I contacted six local builders last night to get the process started. I included approx 700 sqft of concrete decking in my request, when husband tells me "but I thought you wanted pavers?" He had seemed so against the idea, and since I was pretty indifferent I went ahead with concrete.

I want to hear your opinions on the pros and cons of pavers vs concrete decking. If we went the paver route, they would more than likely be travertine squares or something that looks similar. If we went concrete route I would want it to be scored into squares. Squares is the look we're going for.

So far I have:

-pavers can be pulled up and reinstalled if needed

-pavers cost more

-pavers are cooler

-pavers may become uneven if not installed properly

-concrete will eventually crack

-concrete is hotter

-concrete costs less

We currently have a 6" raised patio that is aggregate rock that the decking would butt up against. Thanks for your help!

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If this is for a pool deck, if the pool is a fiberglass shell, the 3' around the perimeter needs to be concrete with rebar tied to the shell and embedded in the concrete. This provides a more stable weight to hold the pool down if it needs to be emptied for service.

I have seen pop ups because this wasn't done. It cost almost as much as a new pool being installed to fix.

I have seen pavers added after. I don't like it when pavers are on top of the deck. The water level and the deck level are too great for my taste.

As for liner and gunite pools, proper compaction is so critical. Done well, the paver installation will last and last without too much maintenance. Finding someone that installs them right may be difficult and when you do, I guaranty you will pay more for the installation.

Pavers can get just as hot a concrete deck because they are concrete.

Travertine tends to be cooler. Sealing it can make it very slippery when wet. Stamped concrete can also get slippery when wet after sealing. Adding anti-slip aggregates to the sealer such as sand, will just get you road rash when you slip.

Safety covers on a pool with pavers or travertine have special needs that will increase their cost.

See the contractors work before putting dollar number one down and signing off.

Hairline cracks happen because concrete shrinks. Settlement cracks can be avoided usually if the prep work is done. Hairline cracks are not normally a big deal because they don't keep growing. Settlement cracks may widen.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 5:21PM
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Thanks for the feedback Scott. This would be for a gunite pool surround. Should also probably have mentioned that in my area of DFW we have pretty solid clay soil which tends to expand and contract rapidly depending on how much rain we get that can be dry and hard as a rock or retain water for months.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 5:27PM
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Pavers are good, but can become uneven over time. There are many things you can do to concrete to make it prettier and cooler. There are mutliple types of concrete surface coatings and you can get them scored in a paver pattern if you like. The concrete route with a surface coating is still likely less expensive than pavers.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 10:46PM
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If you haven't dug the pool yet, I suggest you pay for a soils engineer's testing and report. It's cheaper than a cracked or shifted pool shell and may also provide some guidance as to what might be needed to prevent a paver deck from forming waves or concrete from forming settlement cracks.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 6:05AM
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