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Choosing between concrete, natural stone and porcelain pavers

Eeny meeny miny moe. Of course, deciding on pavers for your walkway, driveway or patio shouldn’t be left to guesswork. Basically, it comes down to two things. You want pavers that complement the architectural style and color tones of your home. You also want to be sure that you choose the right type of product – concrete pavers, natural stone or porcelain – for your outdoor project.

While the array of styles and materials can be overwhelming, understanding the specific qualities of each type of product will help you feel more confident in making the right selection.

Concrete pavers – Fit the mould for variety, strength and durability

Concrete pavers are made by pouring concrete into moulds. Concrete pavers come in a wide range of colors, shapes, sizes and textures with various finishes. The diverse assortment makes it easy to find the perfect paver to harmonize with any decor and outdoor landscaping.

From a practical standpoint, concrete pavers are individually and collectively strong. They are able to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle and deliver a durable, long-lasting surface that won’t crack, even when used in heavy traffic areas such as driveways. How strong are they? Unilock pavers are manufactured using a 700-ton hydraulic press at intense pressures that exceed 2250 PSI, resulting in extremely dense pavers with incredible compressive strength.

Concrete pavers are a low maintenance option and some, like permeable pavers, are specially developed to benefit the environment. Permeable pavers reduce the amount of rainwater flowing into storm drains by diverting it back into the ecosystem.

Natural stone from Unilock – Unique, organic beauty carved from the earth

Natural stone comes in a wide range of materials from limestone to granite to sandstone. Quarried directly from mountains and deep layers of the earth, precisely cut and calibrated, natural stone is not only incredibly strong, but also comes with a unique organic beauty all their own. Their rich earthy tones and varying sizes and patterns create a rustic aesthetic in any outdoor setting.

Natural stone from Unilock feature low water absorption, excellent freeze-thaw durability and flexural strength. The stone’s natural beauty is enhanced with a variety of surface treatments.

These high-quality stones are low maintenance requiring occasional sweeping and rinsing, and easy snow removal. Due to their natural composition, natural stone pavers won’t fade over time. In fact, their beauty is enhanced with age.

Natural stone makes beautiful borders and accents around patios and are ideal for pedestrian traffic areas like front walkways.

Porcelain tile –  Functionality and toughness in a rich, elegant form

Porcelain may sound like it has the fragility of a china teacup, but outdoor porcelain tiles are anything but. Made from dense clay, porcelain pavers are non-porous, fade- and moisture-resistant and extremely durable.

Porcelain won’t crack in extreme weather conditions and can easily withstand tough freeze-thaw cycles. They are impact- and fire-resistant making porcelain pavers ideal for busy areas such as patios and outdoor kitchens. Porcelain pavers with slip-resistant surfaces make stunning pool decks or walkways. They won’t stain, discolor or develop mold or mildew, and cleaning takes very little effort. Often a wipe with a damp cloth is all that’s required.

They are also a great solution for overlay applications. At less than one inch thick, porcelain tiles can be installed over concrete or wood decking where other paving stones may be too heavy or thick.

Unilock porcelain tiles come in stunning stone and woodgrain finishes with realistic surface textures that make it difficult to distinguish them from the real thing.

Now that you know the unique differences between concrete, natural stone and porcelain pavers, the only thing left to do is choose one for your outdoor project! If you’re still not sure, ask a Unilock Authorized Contractor for some advice and a free design consultation. We’re here to help.