Concrete vs Porcelain Pavers: Advantages and Limitations
If you are considering a paver for your home, the two that will come up most frequently are either concrete or porcelain pavers.
Whether you’re paving a driveway or a patio, they are both excellent choices. However, it’s imperative that you are aware of their differences and take these into account when making your final decision.
So if you are choosing between concrete and porcelain pavers and would like to make the right choice for your project, this quick guide will help you better understand both of their potential advantages and drawbacks.
The Advantages of Concrete Pavers
Concrete is a sturdy material.
As such, concrete pavers fall into the same category of sturdiness.
They are also conveniently available in a range of colours and shapes which makes them a versatile option for outdoor spaces.
1. Range of Options
Concrete pavers are available in a wide variety of colours, shapes, and sizes, so you can customise your driveway or patio layout to your taste and design. As concrete pavers are an inexpensive material with a low-cost manufacturing process, manufacturers are always delivering innovative designs, which broadens the variety of concrete pavers available on the market.
Concrete pavers mix well and can be mixed and matched to create unique walkways and outdoor surfaces. Along with an already broad range, you can also buy pavers with different textures and edges. Whether you like smooth shapes or novel shapes – like tongue-and-groove designs – concrete pavers can be cut to your desired pattern and design. In this regard, they’re an extremely versatile and flexible material.
Concrete pavers are a cost-effective paving option. Thanks to their smart manufacturing processes,concrete pavers are less expensive than other paving options like poured concrete or asphalt, or even sandstone, granite, or clay. If you are on a tight budget, concrete pavers are a good choice for your project.
4. Strength and Durability
Concrete pavers can be as strong as natural stone, more durable than black asphalt, and multiple times stronger than poured concrete. Additionally, they come as interlocked pieces which allows for expansion and contraction without the risk of surface cracks.
5. Weather Resistance
If you live in a location that experiences extreme colder climates, especially with significant snowfall, then concrete pavers are a good option for your home. This is because concrete pavers remain durable against the cycle of freezing and thawing, can tolerate de-icing salts and are naturally slip resistant.
6. Low Maintenance and Quick Installation
Another advantage to concrete pavers, as opposed to pouring concrete, is that repairing concrete pavers can be much cheaper as you simply need to swap any damaged piece rather than re-concrete the whole area. As it is easy to cut concrete pavers into uniform shapes, they are also easy and hassle-free to install.
Limitations of Concrete Pavers
As with any paving option, concrete pavers come with their own potential limitations, including:
Concrete pavers are manufactured with colour pigments. As such, the colour may fade a little over time, especially if the pavers are installed under direct sunlight.
While concrete pavers are typically unaffected by the chipping and cracking that is often associated with other paver options, like most materials, they can gradually erode. With time and general wear and tear, the smooth finish can wear away completely and expose the composite material underneath.
We have mentioned earlier that concrete pavers are ideal for colder climates due to their durability and strength. However, as mentioned in the previous point, they can erode over time and as such, if you are looking for an even more durable stone paver, you may find that natural stone or porcelain pavers have better longevity. Again, this largely depends on your project and where you will be installing the paver.
4. Sealing and Installation
Concrete pavers require good sealing and it’s recommended to re-apply it over the paver’s lifespan. In this regard, you might consider that the pavers require a bit more time for maintenance and upkeep.
Now that we have detailed the advantages and limitations of concrete pavers, let’s review the advantages and limitations of porcelain pavers.
Advantages of Porcelain Pavers
If you are looking for a ‘natural stone look’ paver without the price-tag of natural stone, or because you are installing the paver near water and want to use a more suitable material, porcelain pavers are an ideal choice for your project.
Structural porcelain is a type of ceramic that is manufactured into a paver. As such, it can be stronger and tougher than other paving options. It’s other advantages include:
1. Strong Aesthetic Appeal
One of the leading benefits of porcelain pavers is its aesthetic appeal. Manufactured from high-quality materials, porcelain pavers are luxurious and alluring when installed around your home. Their design resembles natural stone, so if you prefer this aesthetic, you may want to consider porcelain pavers for your project.
2. Variety of Options
Porcelain pavers are made from clay. As such, they are available in a vast variety of colours and prints. For example, our selection of porcelain structural pavers is available in over 50 different prints and 10 different stone-looks. Thus, you can have the beauty of natural stone, and thanks to it being a man-made material, you have an additional bonus of easy upkeep and maintenance.
Porcelain is one of the toughest flooring pavers available on the market. It’s resistant to most heavy impact, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and even industrial sites that use heavy equipment.
4. Moisture Resistant
Porcelain pavers perform better than most other paving options when exposed to moisture. As porcelain pavers are more dense and less porous than natural stone pavers, their composition makes it nearly impossible for moisture to seep through them. This is why porcelain pavers are an ideal solution for pool surroundings and colder climates that experience heavy rainfall or snow.
5. Stain Resistance
Porcelain is naturally a stain resistant material, and even more so when it has a glazed finish. Since it’s also less porous than other materials, it is very easy to wipe off stains or spillages. Porcelain pavers can also be kept clean with harsher cleaning products, like acid, which would otherwise damage natural stone pavers.
We mentioned earlier that porcelain pavers are made from clay. As a result, porcelain pavers are extremely heat resistant. They simply don’t catch on fire and can help limit the spread of fire if one does break out. Living in Australia where we are constantly subject to bushfires, this is an extremely advantageous quality in a paver for your home, especially outdoors.
7. Long Lifespan & Longevity
If properly installed and maintained, porcelain pavers can last decades. You will save time and money on replacing pavers and renovating.
Limitations of Porcelain Pavers
While porcelain pavers have their advantages, like any product, they also have particular limitations. Let’s review these:
While one of the advantages to porcelain pavers is that they are dense and strong, this makes them harder to cut. So if you need particular shapes or designs, unless you’re an expert, porcelain can be hard to install. So instead of doing it yourself, it may be advantageous to call an installer who has experience working with these pavers.
Again, because porcelain is made from clay, it is a dense and tough material which makes it heavy. As such, not all areas in your home may sustain its weight. If you are installing porcelain pavers on a deck or any elevated structure, we strongly recommend checking with a professional if the structure will support the added weight before investing in the material.
Unlike concrete pavers, porcelain pavers have a higher outright investment in terms of material cost and installation. On the flipside, they are more durable and can stand the test of time. So it really depends on what you want from your paver and where in your home you’re installing it. If you would like any help with this, call our experts in Sydney at 1300 560 560. We would love to help you out.
Choosing the Right Paver For You
Now that you fully understand the advantages and limitations of both concrete pavers and porcelain pavers, you can see how concrete pavers could provide you with a durable, cost-effective solution that requires little maintenance, whereas porcelain pavers could be preferable for such projects where you want to prioritise longevity and aesthetic appeal.
In order to decide which paver would best suit your needs, you’ll want to consider your budget, the space you are paving, the climate and whether you need a water resistant option.
If you decide that neither of these options suit you and instead you’re interested in natural stone pavers, read this article we wrote about the pros and cons between porcelain pavers and natural stone pavers.
If you need any help making the best choice for your project, contact us today for more information.
Or, if you’ve already decided which paver you want to install, browse our range of high-quality pavers online or visit our Sydney showroom in Glebe and see the beautiful pavers in person.
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