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  • Stamped Concrete Vs Pavers – Which Offers the Best Value for Money

    If you’ve read our driveway guides then you’ll already know concrete and pavers are the two top choices for homeowners looking to install or replace their driveway. Concrete driveways can be stamped to resemble paver driveways so which option offers the best value for money? So if you’re trying to choose between stamped concrete or pavers read on as we compare the costs and declare a winner!

    Any product’s cost value compared with another can be determined with this equation:

    • Initial cost + maintenance + repair costs / how long the product lasts = value

    When plugging in data about stamped concrete vs pavers cost, an objective monetary value can be arrived at.

    The Initial Cost of Stamped Concrete and Paver Driveways

    These handsome driveway choices are among your more expensive driveway options, costing significantly more than gravel, asphalt and plain concrete. The preparation required for these two driveway types is basically the same. For new driveways, the path is excavated and aggregate materials are used to form a base at a cost of about $2.00 per square foot.

    Here are stamped concrete and paver driveway costs just for the final material and installation:

    • Stamped concrete driveway costs: $10.50 to $18.00 per square foot
    • Paver driveway costs: $9.50 to $16.25 per square foot

    In the stamped concrete cost spectrum above, the price rises with stronger concrete, a more complex stamping pattern and the addition of tinting or acid staining.

    For the paver cost spectrum, the price rises with the type and quality of the pavers and the complexity of the installation design.

    Maintenance Cost for Stamped Concrete and Paver Driveways

    Stamped concrete must be sealed; for paver stones, sealing is a recommended option. Sealer makes both concrete and pavers resistant to dirt and stains.

    The frequency of sealing is about every 3 years. The concrete or pavers should be power washed first. Some homeowners have their driveway power washed on an annual basis, even if they don’t also have it sealed.

    • Concrete (mandatory) and paver stone (optional) power washing and sealing: $1.75-$3.25 per square foot
    • Power washing alone: $0.33-$0.75 per square foot
    • Average cost for the combined services: $2.25 per square foot

    Repair Costs for Stamped Concrete and Paver Driveways

    Driveway repair is where costs vary quite a bit and the value difference becomes clear.

    The most common repair need for paver driveways is to remove and replace the infrequent cracked paver. Professional installers charge a minimum fee of $50 to $150 for the first hour of work. In that time, 5 to 10 pavers can be replaced. Because of the minimum fee, many homeowners do the repair themselves, live with a few cracked pavers or wait until there are several in need of repair before calling a pro.

    Concrete is prone to cracking, and cracks must be filled or else they will grow quickly. Crack repair can be included in the sealing cost or done on an individual basis. When cracks are numerous and large, an entire section of concrete might need to be replaced.

    • Stamped concrete crack repair when included with sealing: $0.75-$1.50 per square foot
    • Individual crack repair: $2-$5 per linear foot based on the severity of the crack and material used to repair it
    • Concrete section removal and replacement: $10-$15 per square foot

    Life Expectancy for Stamped Concrete and Paver Driveways

    Stamped concrete driveways start showing their age in 20-30 years. Let’s use 25 years as an average lifespan.

    Paver stone is the most durable type of driveway commonly installed. There are paver driveways 50+ years old in good condition, though 40 years is a useful average.

    The Bottom Line: Paver Driveways are Better Value than Stamped Concrete Driveways

    When maintenance is done every three years, the lifetime cost is $18/sf for a 25-year stamped concrete driveway and $27/sf for a 40-year paver stone driveway. Here are the cost equations:

    • Stamped concrete: Initial cost ($10.50-$18) + lifetime maintenance cost ($18) / 25 years = $1.14 to $1.44 per square foot lifetime cost
    • Pavers: Initial cost ($9.50 to $16.25) + lifetime maintenance cost ($18) / 40 years = $0.69 to $0.86 per square foot lifetime cost

    The variable we left out is repair, because the cost of paver driveway repair is so small relative to the cost of concrete driveway repair.

    In years 10-25 of a concrete driveway, you’ll probably spend the equivalent of 15 to 25 percent of your initial cost on repairs, boosting the lifetime cost to $1.20 to $1.62 per square foot.

    After about age 25, the deterioration rate and repair costs can speed up quickly until replacing the driveway is the cost-effective option.

    The bottom line is that the lifetime cost of paver driveways is approximately 57 to 60 percent of the cost of stamped concrete driveways.

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