Are Paving Stones As Good As the Real Thing?

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So your patio or driveway needs a face lift and you have no patience (or cash) for some of the more extensive patio surfaces. Concrete is pricey, flagstone and slate are fussy and interlock is not your style. What can you do that’s fast and easy, not to mention won’t break the bank?
Paving stones will do the trick in a pinch. But are they as good as the genuine article?
Basically paving stones (or pavers) are preformed, flat slabs that come in a wide selection of shapes, sizes and colors. You can fool your neighbors into thinking that you forked out the big bucks for flagstone or fancy cobblestone – as long as they’re not peaking over the fence during the install.

Can you tell the difference between paving stones and whatever it is they’re trying to duplicate?
In a word, yes.
Maybe you’ll be fooled with a glance or even a quick walk across the patio, but when you look closely the uniformity and feel doesn’t have the random and raw beauty of natural stone.
That’s not to say that paving stone isn’t an excellent choice. Did I mention that they’re cheaper? That alone is a big selling feature for most homeowners. But paving stones have other benefits over their straight-from-the-earth’s-core cousins.
Pavers are formed using engineered specs. That means they’re strong, stronger than poured concrete, and that is fantastic for wear and tear in your yard.
They’re also installed in a flash, without mortar and using a simple base. Sand is usually between the pavers, making for beautiful drainage. Often paving stones are designed to direct the water straight to those sandy cracks, clearing the rain water quickly off of your patio.
That makes pavers smart too. Cheap and smart, who would have thought?
Another selling feature is the speed of repairs. Should junior decide to drop his metal Tonka truck on a paving stone, leaving a dump truck-sized crack, you can just lift that paving stone out and plop another on in. Bang. Patio repaired and still lots of time for a burger and a few drinks.
Are you convinced yet?
Paving stones aren’t for everyone. Die hard fans of the genuine article probably won’t be satisfied. Others who are looking for a strong, durable patio with a smaller price tag that’s easily repaired will jump at the chance to install pavers.
Impatient? Want to save your money? Check out what type of gorgeous patios you can build with paving stones.
photo courtesy of flickr/Rosenwald

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