Concrete or pavers for your driveway

The signs of wear and tear might be making themselves visible on your concrete slab driveway in the form of cracks. If you’ve considered replacing your driveway and are unsure whether to go with pavers or concrete for your new driveway, here are a few points to consider to help settle the debate.


Resistance to cracks


Winner: pavers. One main cause of driveway cracks is the temperature. Fluctuations in temperature will cause the concrete to expand and contract accordingly. As you might have guessed, concrete isn’t exactly a flexible material so the natural tendency is for the concrete to crack to relieve the pressure from expansion/contraction. Pavers in contrast, have ample space to expand and contract. The spaces around each paver give the masonry the space it needs to expand and contract. This prevents the cracking so prone in traditional concrete pavers. 


Surviving seismic activity


Winner: pavers. To our Bay Area residents, another main cause of cracks in your driveway are those earthquakes that happen a couple of times in the year. The rigid nature of concrete slabs just makes it susceptible to cracks when we experience those earthquakes. Pavers are not immune to cracking during serious earthquakes but cracked pavers are easy to fix. Unlike concrete driveways that are essentially one continuous piece of concrete, pavers can be individually replaced if damage does occur.


Erosion due to water


Winner: pavers. It might seem silly to consider watershed if you live in sunny and dry California but it is a serious consideration. If watershed is not properly directed to the drain line underneath the driveway, the soil underneath the driveway will erode and result in a number of undesirable events, namely; the sides of your driveway being fully exposed, cracks, or settling in eroded areas. Pavers do a better job at directing the watershed since they are more permeable than concrete slabs. Pavers allow a relatively even distribution of the water through the driveway unlike concrete slabs which typically direct watershed to its sides where the slab ends.


Concrete or pavers for your driveway




Winner : concrete. Raw material for concrete and the labor for installing concrete slab driveways are less expensive simply because it’s easier to install compared to pavers and well installed concrete slabs will last you a number of years before cracks appear. Although one thing is for sure, cracks will appear with time. Pavers are the more expensive alternative but the benefits of pavers over concrete are apparent. 


In summary, if you plan on redoing the driveway in the home you plan to live on for your lifetime, go with pavers. You’ll pay more upfront but reap the benefits of having a more durable product. We offer free estimates on replacing your driveway with pavers so don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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