Pavement Comparison Guide

Concrete Pavers

Appearance: Wide selection of rich colors, shapes, patterns, and textures. Enhances any architectural style.

Strength (in PSI): >8,500

Initial Cost & Installation: Moderate. Pavers fit tightly together over a sand bed and compacted aggregate base. Easy do-it-yourself installation.

Performance: Lifetime beauty adds value to property. Can be restored to original condition if damaged. Can be reinstated without unsightly patch if underground utility repairs required. Accommodates heavy loads. Allows easy snow removal.

Durability: Excellent. Unaffected by oil and gas. Durable, dense pavers resist freeze-thaw, cracking, and deicing salts.

Asphalt

Appearance: Predominately black.

Difficult to get clean, neat edges.

Strength (in PSI): <1,000

Initial Cost & Installation: Low. Installed over a compacted aggregate base. Professional installation only.

Performance: Traffic and weather will break down surface. Seal coat required every 4-5 years. Repairs leave unattractive patching. Allows easy snow removal.

Durability: Fair. Ruts and cracks from freeze-thaw and settlement. Softens from oil and gas deposits. Resists de-icing chemicals.

Stamped Asphalt

Appearance: Limited color options. Color wears off under traffic. Stamped surface can appear artificial.

Strength (in PSI): <1,000

Initial Cost & Installation: Low-Moderate. Installed over a compacted aggregate base. Professional installation only.

Performance: Traffic and weather will break down surface. Seal coat required every 4-5 years. Repairs leave unattractive patching. Allows easy snow removal.

Durability: Fair. Ruts and cracks from freeze-thaw and settlement. Softens from oil and gas deposits. Resists de-icing chemicals.


Clay Brick

Appearance: Attractive shades of red and brown. Limited shapes.

Strength (in PSI): 4,000-5,000

Initial Cost & Installation: High. When set in sand over a compacted base, can be done by homeowner, but bricks must be individually tapped into place by hand. Inconsistency of dimensions make it difficult to maintain pattern lines. Mortared installation adds considerable cost.

Performance: Works best when mortared in place over concrete slab, but difficult to repair. Irregular surface difficult to plow and shovel.

Durability: Good. Salts can deteriorate some brick unless using the type designed for horizontal use. Unaffected by oil and gas spills.

Cast-In-Place Concrete

Appearance: Surface can be colored, though is typically gray and can be commercial looking. Likely to develop surface cracks.

Strength (in PSI): 3,000-4,000

Initial Cost & Installation: Moderate. Best if professionally installed. Compacted aggregate base. Must cure for 5-7 days. Weather conditions may affect finished product.

Performance: Can accommodate heavy loads. Difficult to access underground utilities and repairs leave an unsightly patch. Allows easy snow removal.

Durability: Very Good (with air-entrained concrete to resist freeze-thaw and de-icing salts). Unaffected by oil and gas spills.

Stamped Concrete

Appearance: Variety of patterns and several colors. Surface can look artificial if done improperly. Likely to develop surface cracks.

Strength (in PSI): 3,500-5,000 Initial Cost & Installation: Moderate-High. Best if professionally installed. Requires special equipment and tools. Must cure for 5-7 days. Weather conditions may affect finished product.

Performance: Accommodates heavy loads. Difficult to access underground utilities and repairs leave an unsightly patch. Some patterns may present problems for snow plows.

Durability: Very Good (with air-entrained concrete to resist freeze-thaw and de-icing salts). Unaffected by oil and gas spills.


Exposed Aggregate

Appearance: Look dictated by size and color of aggregate. Likely to develop surface cracks.

Strength (in PSI): 3,000-5,000

Initial Cost & Installation: Moderate-High. Difficult for homeowner to install. Must cure for 5-7 days. Weather conditions may affect finished product. Aggregate base.

Performance: Can accommodate heavy loads. Difficult to access underground utilities and repairs leave an unsightly patch. Snow removal may dislodge some stones.

Durability: Moderate. Stones likely to loosen over time and uneven surface may promote freeze-thaw damage. Unaffected by oil and gas, but should be sealed to prevent deep stains.

Granite/Cobble Stone

Appearance: Rich and elegant look of classic New England.

Strength (in PSI): >10,000

Initial Cost & Installation: Moderate-High. Each unit must be fit together by hand. If set in mortar, best if installed by craftsman. Compacted aggregate base.

Performance: Can accommodate heavy loads. Easy to repair if sand set. Rough surface may make walking difficult. Wide joints may encourage weeds and ants if stabilizer is not used. Irregular surface makes snow plowing difficult.

Durability: Excellent. High density stones resist cracking, freeze-thaw and de-icing salts. Unaffected by oil and gas spills.

Gravel/Crushed Stone

Appearance: Informal, rustic look.

Strength (in PSI): <100

Initial Cost & Installation: Low. Gravel is dumped and spread over soil. No base required.

Performance: Rutting likely to develop. Gravel must be replaced and re-leveled regularly. Stones easily scattered by tires and snow removal.

Durability: Poor. Stones resist freeze-thaw cycles and de-icing salts, but scattering of stones create loss of structural integrity at surface of the pavement.


A Word About Cost

In preparing our comparison section, we choose to describe costs without assigning actual amounts because there are many factors that affect costs. For projects that are professionally installed, the size of the job, the location, access to the site, and overhead recovery are just some of the factors that contractors use in determining price. In do-it-yourself projects, generally only the cost of the materials is accounted for - labor is often considered as “sweat equity”. Therefore, project costs are less than if professionally installed, even when you select more expensive products.

PSI = Pounds per square inch when tested under compression