The Al Manaratain sales team are often asked which style of the driveway we recommend out of interlock pavers or stamped concrete and it’s always a difficult question to answer. Both options have a long list of pros and cons as well as areas that they excel over the other. Depending on the project you have in mind the answer will change every time so below we’ll try and highlight the ways that each option shines and help you make the right choice.
The Pros & Cons Of Stamped Concrete
Stamped concrete is essentially poured concrete with a pattern stamped into the surface either for aesthetics or to provide more traction. Being poured concrete it is strong and durable and stands up well to heavy stress and extreme weather conditions. With a wide variety of options when it comes to patterns and the choice of colouring the concrete, you can easily create a uniform finish over a large or small surface area. This uniform look makes stamped concrete popular for commercial use as it is slightly more affordable when it comes to installation compared to interlock pavers.
A number of the cons for stamped concrete are intrinsically linked to the pros, unfortunately, negating some of them over time. Being poured concrete makes it very difficult to remove, meaning that picking stamped concrete makes it a long term choice. It also has a tendency to lose its colour over time, slowly fading away and leaving irregular patches. Stamped concrete requires regular sealing, without this it can blister and crack, which can be expensive to repair as it requires the concrete to be broken up and new concrete poured in. Stamped concrete is also more expensive than simple poured concrete which narrows the gap between it and interlock pavers.
The Pros & Cons Of Interlock Pavers
Interlock paving is an incredibly versatile choice, as seen with Al Manaratain’s own large range of Concrete Pavers. This versatility in styles and approaches allows you to tailor your driveway to your own tastes and gives you a beautiful finish regardless of the finish you choose. It has a fast and easy installation process and can be used almost immediately after the work is finished. Interlock pavers are also incredibly durable and are capable of withstanding heavy loads, extreme weather or continuous footfall without any issue.
By being made up of individual interlocked pieces it is also easy to maintain as single pieces can be removed and replaced as required. Interlock is also more flexible than concrete and can adjust with the ground beneath it meaning it won’t crack and distort. This is in part due to the gaps between each stone which is filled with polymeric sand or stone to keep the foundation dry and prevent weed growth. It also allows for faster water drainage without compromising the foundation layer.
The initial installation cost of interlock will be higher than of stamped concrete owing to the nature of the materials and the skill required to lay the foundations and driveway correctly. Interlock paving will also need the polymeric sand or stone to be topped up once every few years to prevent weed growth and ensure good drainage.
Al Manaratain’s Recommendations
We feel that the choice between the two should always come down to which style best fits your needs and requirements. Ideally, you want to pick a driveway that matches with the look of the area that it is being laid in, whether that is the front of the house it is leading to or the general style of the surrounding area. If a sleek, smooth, stamped concrete matches best and fits your briefing then that’s your best choice, if a more individual or stylised driveway is what you’re after then there is going to be an interlocking pattern that suits you perfectly. If we were pushed to give our final word on any project it would always be to look at the long term benefits that can be gained from interlock pavers, the longer lasting finish and vastly reduced maintenance costs sway our vote slightly in favour of interlock pavers nearly every time.