The Pros, Cons & Alternatives to a Concrete Patio: A Guide for Midwest Homeowners
BY: Frisella Nursery
A patio can increase the possibilities of your outdoor living space by adding valuable, functional space. If you are thinking about adding to your outdoor living space, you might be wondering what type of patio is right for you. You don’t want to overspend but you also may be worried about taking a shortcut with materials that could ultimately cost you more in the long run. You just want to know that you made the best choice so that you get the most return on your investment and are happy with your decision in the years to come. That’s why we’re looking closely at concrete as a patio choice to help you decide if it’s right for you.
The Pros Of A Concrete Patio
The number one advantage of using concrete for a patio as opposed to pavers or a natural stone is the cost savings. If you’re looking at concrete patio cost vs. pavers or natural stone, then there is no question that concrete is the least expensive option. It can also be installed fairly quickly which some may find as an advantage.
Budget is obviously also a really important factor in a landscape or backyard renovation project. If you’re someone who is looking for a functional patio but isn’t looking to spend a lot, concrete can be a viable choice.
When making your choice be sure you consider the value of your home. For some, it may not make sense to spend a lot of money on a new landscape project. The least expensive route may be what best suits your budget and home. Maybe the home you’re currently in is not planned to be your “forever home” but you would like to have a usable patio space for the time being. If it’s a smaller townhome and all of the other surrounding homes have concrete patios, it could definitely be a modern and affordable choice for you.
Some people even do like the linear, simple gray look that standard concrete offers. It is definitely on par with a modern space. To sum up the key benefits, a concrete patio can add functionality without adding a lot of cost and it can complement an already-modern place where linear form and simplistic style make the most sense.
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The Cons of A Concrete Patio
The biggest con of using concrete is durability. To be honest, it’s not a matter of “if” a concrete patio will crack, it’s a matter of when… You see, when concrete is in a climate that has a lot of thawing and refreezing in the winter months, it is inevitable that it will eventually get some cracks. So concrete may not be that most ideal material for the unpredictable midwest winters.
For homeowners who have a project that is mostly driven by a low budget, cracks are not going to be a dealbreaker. The patio will still be functional but it is important to recognize that repairs for cracks require patching which is almost impossible to disguise. You will forever be able to see where there were cracks so that’s another important point to consider.
Repairing pavers and other natural stones can typically be done without impacting the aesthetic of your outdoor living space as they can simply be removed and replaced. Of course, pavers and natural stones are also more durable than concrete and may not crack in the first place so that is another benefit to using a higher quality material.
The return on investment of concrete will be lower since it is a lower quality material. If you are considering resale value, a paver patio or a natural stone patio is going to stand out and possibly be more valued by home buyers.
But it’s (again) a matter of weighing the value of your home and what you’re looking to achieve with the investment of building a new patio.
What about a stamped concrete patio?
When talking about concrete and ways to save money, the conversation often turns to stamped concrete and whether it could be a viable option. Stamped concrete is a special product that typically uses colored concrete and different pattern stamps to create a unique look.
However, something to consider when thinking about stamped concrete is that it could get quite close to the cost of a paver patio, so it probably does not make sense to go take this route, particularly if cost savings is your main concern. You’ll still have the downsides of concrete such as durability and the probability of cracking and you won’t save all that much money from doing a paver patio which is going to have a better return on investment. Unless for some reason you really prefer the look of a stamped concrete patio, this is probably not going to be the optimal choice.
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The Benefit of Pavers & Natural Stone
We have already dug into some of the benefits of choosing a material other than concrete, but let’s dig into it a little more.
One of the biggest advantages of a paver patio is variety. With so many different paver products on the market, you can choose the exact look and style to suit your taste and personal style.
You have the opportunity to choose from dozens of different patterns, use multiple colors, add borders and so much more. There are many opportunities for customization when you use pavers instead of concrete.
Paver patios typically cost more than concrete but they are less expensive than natural stone patios, so they make a good mid-price-point option.
Plus, like we mentioned earlier, pavers are easy to fix if one of them cracks or chips. Unlike concrete which would have to be “patched” in order to be repaired, pavers can simply be lifted and replaced.
While pavers often make a great choice, particularly for some very specific wants and needs, we believe that the optimal choice for midwest homes is natural stone. When designing and building a project, we are always looking at the surrounding landscape and we like to consider how to work the material into what’s already there.
Undoubtedly, natural stone is going to allow for the most seamless blend in most cases. It just looks like it belongs.
Natural stone is also the more durable patio choice. While the surface material of pavers can weather over time, and begin to expose the aggregate (tiny rocks and pebbles that compromise the structural filler in the concrete by acting as a binding agent), natural stone most likely will outlast your time in your home.
Natural stone is typically the most expensive choice (of the 3 discussed) so that’s an important consideration as well. Natural stone is “authentic” and while you might be able to get pavers that mimic a more natural look, there’s nothing quite like the “real thing”.
With all of that in mind, remember we do work with both of these choices (as well as concrete). We know there’s a lot involved in making the right decision as to what’s best for your outdoor space but we also commend you for putting in the research. With something as important as your patio, you should be positive that you are making an educated decision.
Choosing A Company To Build Your Dream Outdoor Space
When choosing a company to build your dream outdoor space it is important to remember a few things. You want to choose a landscape company that not only can work with all of the materials but who will also help guide you toward what might be best for your property, your family’s wants and needs, and of course, your budget.
Your patio will ultimately be a space where you spend a large amount of time. That’s why you want to be sure to choose what will be right for you and your family. At Frisella Landscape Group, we will help you weigh all of the options and ultimately come to the decision that is right for you.
No matter what choice you make, we want you to be happy with your choice and know that you made the right decision. We genuinely care about our clients and our projects and we do believe your material selection is one of those big decisions that will have a significant impact on your overall satisfaction with your project. You can count on us to provide you with as much guidance as you need.
Are you ready to begin the process of designing and building the outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming of? Let’s connect and talk about your project!