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Generally, builders and landscapers are equally divided on whether poured concrete or pavers are better for the homeowner. There are numerous and varied pros and cons that a homeowner needs to consider regarding concrete block pavers. Some of the characteristics that strengthen the argument for concrete pavers include the variety of product available, the ease of installment and repair, and the environmentally friendly nature of the products. Two major disadvantages of concrete block pavers is the fact that they shift or settle and that weeds to grow in the spaces between the pavers.
Manufacturers make concrete block pavers by pouring concrete into molds. There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes available, which is one of the pros of choosing this medium for paving. The makers often dye the concrete to create products that are more attractive. Some makers texturize the pavers, such as in the process of creating aggregate pavers. This variety in pavers is one of the major benefits to using them.
Companies have introduced dyed and textured solid poured concrete applications. Some of these applications use a stamping technique on the unset concrete to mimic pavers. The advantage of this application is that it is faster than laying the pavers individually.
Another advantage of using pavers is their ease of installation. Although the process is tedious, most homeowners are able to lay pavers. The underlayment preparation is almost the same for solid poured surfaces and for paver installation. Generally, homeowners need to hire professionals with large, heavy equipment to pour the concrete or asphalt.
Usually, concrete block pavers are more expensive to install, especially if a professional crew lays them. Over the years, pavers have become less expensive than solid poured surfaces because there are fewer maintenance costs. It is very inexpensive to repair a paved surface, and a homeowner can replace one or two broken pavers rather than try to repair a cracked or chipped solid poured surface. Concrete pavers are slightly more expensive than clay pavers because they need to be sealed more often.
Pavers tend to be more environmentally friendly than solid poured surfaces. Solid surfaces cause water and chemical run-off that may pollute natural water sources. Pavers allow the water to drain by seeping through the cracks between the pavers. One environmental disadvantage of pavers is that many homeowners use strong pesticides to prevent weeds and anthills between the pavers. Homeowners may want to plant herbs or short-growing ground covers between the pavers and use the planting as a design element.
Concrete block pavers generally are more durable than clay pavers are. They are suitable for areas where there is heavy traffic, such as driveways and roads. Clay pavers often crack under the pressure.
Homeowners may want to check with local building codes before choosing the solid poured surface or the pavers. Often solid-poured concrete areas, such as patios and driveways, raise the property taxes and require a building permit before installation begins. Concrete block paver areas sometimes are not subject to the same regulation. It is normally up to the homeowner to research the laws and codes in his or her region.
A definite disadvantage of concrete block pavers is the trip hazard that is created when the pavers shift or sink. This settling can leave small potholes or raised edges that may be hazardous. Solid poured surfaces also may have this problem when they crack. It is easy to lift the offending pavers out and repair the uneven surface under them. Repairing solid surfaces is expensive and complicated.