So which is the better swimming pool patio material: Stamped Concrete or Pavers?
That's currently the debate in the pool patio world. Both are durable, relatively affordable, and look great; that's probably why consumers find them the two most popular options on the market today. But which is better? Let's discuss the pros and cons of each so you can decide for yourself.
Cost: Usually priced between $12-$16/square foot depending on the region.
- Many stamp patterns are available. Seamless stone, slate, and flagstone are some of the most popular.
- Wide variety of colors to choose from. Stamped concrete is often composed of at least two colors; a base color that is mixed in the concrete or trowelled into the surface, and a second color called a release agent that is broadcasted on top of the concrete just before stamping. The relationship of these two colors is what gives stamped concrete it's unique antiqued look.
- It can mimic other materials such as slate, flagstone, or brick for a fraction of the cost of the natural material.
- Stamped concrete is sealed which protects it from the elements as well as pool chemicals like salt from salt water systems.
- It's concrete so it will crack. Two guarantees on concrete: it will crack, and no one will steal it without you knowing about it. The contractor's job is to place control joints to cause the concrete to crack where they want it too....but sometimes concrete cracks where it wants to. The only way to guarantee no crack is to get no concrete!
- If more than one truck load of concrete is required there is no guarantee that the colors of the two trucks will match perfectly.
- The sealer needs to be re-applied every 2 to 3 years.
- The surface can be somewhat slippery without the addition of an anti-skid agent mixed in with the sealer (and it should be).
A picture of stamped concrete pool patio.
Cost: Usually between $16 and $24 per square foot.
- They won't crack...if installed correctly.
- Can be easily added to in the future.
- If underground repairs are needed, a seamless fix is possible.
- Not slippery unless sealed, which is seldom done around pools.
- There's a possibility that they will settle and move over time if not installed correctly.
- Weeds can grow up between pavers unless polymeric sand is used. This is sand with a polymer additive that causes it to bind together between the pavers and harden. It does prevent weeds, but needs to be re-applied every couple years.
- More limited color and pattern selections.
- There can be unwanted variation in color of the product. Even between different pallets of material from the same truck.
Here's a picture of a paver pool patio.
So what say you...which do you prefer? Asking me if I prefer stamped concrete or pavers is like asking me if I would rather have a porter house or rib eye steak....the answer is "yes". But seriously, there are situations that call for both. A few things to consider are the compatibility of the material with existing elements of the yard, color compatibility, and weather you plan to add to expand the patio in the future. One things for sure, with the durability and beauty of both of these patio materials it's hard to go wrong.