Choosing Brick vs Concrete Pavers for a Patio, Driveway, or Path

Bricks offer a classic and elegant look for a patio

There are many steps that go into a paver patio installation, from excavation to applying polymeric joint sand. The multiple phases of the project can catch some weekend renovators off guard. Of course all of these processes are putting the cart ahead of the horse. Before any prep work can be done the actual paver types should be chosen.

Knowing what types of pavers you’re using will allow you to calculate the quantity of pavers needed and can help you adjust the size of the patio based on your budget. One of the biggest conundrums most people face in this step of the project is choosing bricks vs. concrete pavers as each have their pros and cons.

Brick vs Concrete Paver Color Options

When choosing between brick and concrete pavers you’re essentially selecting among clay (brick) and concrete. The durability of each obviously depends on the materials but so do the color options that are available. The color of brick is changed by altering the amount and types of clay added into the mixture during manufacturing. That being said, this results in only the traditional colors of brick (oranges, reds, browns) being available for your pavers.

Concrete pavers are available in many different colors

Concrete on the other hand has a virtually unlimited option of colors and designs available when it comes to pavers. For lighter colors, concrete pavers are the route most homeowners take. Those who want a more natural, Earthy, and rustic look opt for brick. One thing to note is that the color of brick pavers is the same throughout the entire piece which means they’ll maintain their shade longer.

The Durability of Bricks vs Concrete Pavers

When analyzing the durability of brick and concrete pavers it comes down to not only strength of the pieces, but also how well they maintain their look. Clay brick will maintain its color longer and will not fade even when exposed to UV rays. This is a very important feature when considering resale value down the line. Concrete pavers can achieve the same sustainability, but only when applied with a sealant every 3-4 years.

Both types of pavers are strong and have a resistant force of over 10,000 psi. Of the two however, it might be surprising to know that the clay in brick pavers will break down faster than concrete and is more likely to chip and crack. The freeze and thaw cycle in colder climates is especially harmful to the brick makeup. Concrete pavers become more durable because of the sealant that prevents moisture from seeping into their joints. Both pavers can be damaged depending on the type of wear but brick is generally easier to find matching replacements for.

Style and Design Options

Concrete pavers come in many shapes and sizes offering more pattern options

The design options are limited with brick – however some people prefer that. “Brick” is essentially the name of the shape that the pavers come in so the shape doesn’t cipher from the traditional rectangle. Concrete pavers lock together for installation which means any shape that accommodates this joint can be used. Rectangles, squares, octagons, and even triangles and more are shapes offered in concrete pavers allowing many different layout patterns. Concrete pavers can also be colored during the manufacturing process and they can even be integrated with textures, either at production or with sealants.

Comparing the Cost of Brick and Concrete Pavers

There are high quality and low quality versions of both concrete and brick pavers. Average concrete patio pavers can range from $6/sq ft to $15/ sq ft. Bricks on the other hand are significantly more expensive at $10/sq ft all the way up to $50 sq ft. Using pavers of similar quality, a brick project will typically cost 15% to 20% more than concrete pavers. Learn more about how much it costs to install a patio.

Maintenance Matters

Sealing a concrete paver patio makes it significantly easier to maintain – but at the same time that sealing process itself is required maintenance. A brick paver patio is essentially a “set it and forget it” home feature although general cleaning and weed maintenance is recommend to prolong the life of your investment.

Brick vs. concrete pavers will both last for several years after initial installation, it’s just the amount of maintenance that you want to put in that will determine that overall life span. This as well as budget, style, and climate are all ideas that must be considered when choosing the perfect paver material for your needs.