Interlocking paver systems (IPS) are becoming increasingly popular. I often get asked the question why pavers instead of stamped concrete? Followed by- but stamped concrete is (usually) cheaper? Think again. While the upfront cost of stamped concrete is a cheaper alternative to an interlocking paver system (usually), the long term cost of stamped concrete far out weighs pavers.
When properly built- interlocking paver systems will out perform the longevity of the system against stamped concrete. In simple terms they distribute the load over a wider area of the base compaction area. Stamped concrete relies on the internals of the product to distribute the load into the base such as with rebar, interlocking paver systems distribute the load across the entire system and then span out over the base compaction area. This is why the base of the paver patio, walkway, driveway etc is the crucial building component of any interlocking paver system.
Stamped concrete expands and contracts especially during the freeze thaw months, this causes cracking. Once water penetrates the base through cracks the entire system has failed. You may be able to temporarily repair with sealing, mud jacking or filling cracks but the end result usually wont look the same.
While interlocking paver systems CAN fail the same way, they are designed to withstand the temperature changes much more effectively. If failure occurs but if it was caught early, the system can be restored to original working quality in no time.
Many people think “well I have seen so many of these paver systems and they are always shifting, popping out, or sunken in.” My answer is always- they were not built right. “they always have weeds growing through the cracks”. Not always but this is caused by improper or lack of polymeric sand in the joints. 9/10 the weeds grow through the top layer of the paver system perhaps through water coming up through the system (poor base compaction or material), or inside the joints where water and soils have penetrated due to a lack of polymeric sand. If weeds are present the fix is simple. Pressure wash the area and the joints, pull or spray all the weeds still present, then sweep in your polymeric sand and see directions on bag for final touches.
Choose a contractor with the experience and knowledge on these types of systems before investing your hard earned money and you will not regret it.
Interlocking paver systems are designed to withstand the freeze, thaw, expand, contract cycles. When properly built and with light maintenance you can have a patio, driveway, walkway system that will out last the house. Along with the incredible variation of style, color, and patterns, many people are choosing to incorporate the design of an interlocking paver system over stamped concrete into their landscaping.