In the blue-collar world of hardscape construction, nothing stimulates curb appeal quite like a new driveway. Be it for your home or business, there can be no argument that these beauties are responsible for a whole lot of first impressions. So if you want your clients to feel good before they even set foot on that brand new terrazzo floor in the lobby—or if you’d just like to change your neighbor’s complexion to a certain shade of green—a driveway is a great place to get things started. But what kind of material for it do you have in mind? The three most common are concrete, brick, and natural stone.
Today we’ll be comparing the concrete driveway vs. brick driveway, and with some information and a little luck, help make your decision easier.
Upon hearing this question, most contractors will jump right to concrete’s greatest strength: versatility. They’re right to do so. Because if you choose to install your new driveway using concrete pavers, the design options are almost limitless. Pavers are basically blocks that are laid together to form a full surface. Concrete pavers are manufactured off-site to your specifications (color, size, and shape). After that, they’re placed one by one to form your driveway. Pavers are great if you’re looking to put on a real show for anyone who sees them. They’re low maintenance, easy to repair, and can even be designed to replicate—wait for it—brick.
But if what you seek from concrete is something a little more basic (though no less clean and crisp), concrete slabs manage the trick just fine. Slabs form a flat, horizontal surface that is poured directly on site. They’re more affordable than pavers, easy to clean, and yes, they can be stamped in the guise of brick, or natural stone, or just about any design you wish. However, we can’t have the wine and the roses without the sulfites and the thorns, so there are a few disadvantages to consider when choosing concrete over brick. For one thing, its color will fade faster, since dyes are used for pigment as opposed to brick’s natural clay. You’ll also need to make certain the manufacturer is providing quality material. Depending on the mix it can and does vary. Contractors have told stories about beautiful pavers that looked just like natural stone; these same contractors have also seen new pavers break apart right out of the box.
Chances are you know the answer to this question already. Just close your eyes and picture a brick paver driveway. There, see? There’s nothing quite like that old-time colonial look. A brick driveway doesn’t need to be stamped or colored or twisted into different designs. What you see is what you get, which is plenty. Its color won’t fade the way concrete does, nor will it need replacing in your lifetime or your children’s or your grandchildren’s. Brick is in it for the long haul, and even when it does happen to get damaged, why, that only adds to its rustic charm.
All that being said, this material does run a little more expensive than concrete—around 17% higher. Colors are limited to different shades of red, and because brick is natural, the size of each paver is going to vary, making installation a bit more ticklish.
So here’s the scoop:
Choose concrete if you want: Design versatility at a good price (around $900 to $1700 per square foot, depending on whether you choose slabs or pavers), easy maintenance and easy repair.
Choose brick if you want: A classic, natural look that will hold on for generations to come, color that won’t fade, a charm that only improves with age.
We hope the information above helps you with the final call. In either case, that driveway is sure to look fantastic. For even more tips on how to choose what building material is best for you, get in touch with your local contractor.