How to Pick the Best Pavers for Your Patio & Driveway

Megy Karydes
Written by Megy Karydes
Updated September 7, 2021
Natural stone patio with a modern house in the background
Robert Nicholas/OJO Images via Getty Images

Choosing the right pavers for your patio and driveway can lead to years of enjoyment

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Pavers for a patio can add more living space while increasing your home’s value. There are a number of different paver options for outdoor spaces, whether it’s a patio or driveway, including natural stone, brick, and concrete. Picking the best pavers will depend on the desired look for the space, as well as your budget. Here are three paver options for your patio and some things you’ll want to consider before making your final decision on which to pick.

Choosing the Best Pavers for Your Patio or Driveway

A new paver patio can add functional, beautiful living space that increases your home’s value. Installing unique pavers and patterns, like herringbone, can elevate a patio’s look. 

Pavers for patios and driveways are typically natural stone, brick, or concrete. Not as common but also available are composite, slate, wood, and even rubber pavers. If you want the look of wood without the maintenance, there are concrete pavers made to look like wood planks. 

Pavers usually cost between $8 to $25 per square foot to install, depending on the material you choose and how much you need to complete a patio or driveway. 

If you have your heart set on a certain look, don’t automatically assume it’s out of your budget. There are so many different interlocking paver types and designs that you might be able to find one that fits your budget to create a unique patio design or driveway.

If you’re feeling stuck, your paver installation pro can help you narrow down your options. This is a great project to leave to a pro, as laying pavers requires a surprising amount of prep work, such as leveling and installing several inches of compacted material to ensure a proper base.

Natural Stone Pavers

Natural stone is popular with homeowners for patios, pathways, walkways, and driveways because it adds to a home’s curb appeal. While the material can be expensive to buy and install, natural stone is long-lasting and unique since each paver is truly one of a kind. 

Among the most common choices are flagstone, fieldstone, bluestone, and limestone. Because natural stone comes from the earth and is not a manufactured material, homeowners can expect a range of earthy colors, from deep greys and browns to vibrant gold and rich tans, as well as a myriad of textures.

“Natural stone also tends to change colors as it ages and is not completely smooth, so it can be a bit more challenging for snow removal, walking, and furniture placement,” says Tara Dudley, Angi Expert Review Board member and owner of Plant Life Designs.

Stone patios range in cost. An average 300 square foot natural stone patio can cost between $3,900 to $15,000. Much of the cost will depend on the stone you choose.

Here’s an easy tip to save money: check nearby stone yards to see if they have any natural stone remnants for sale. Sometimes contractors or landscape architects have extra pavers from a larger landscape project, and while it’s not enough for a big project, it might be enough to complete a smaller patio or pathway.

Concrete Pavers for Patios and Driveways

Concrete patio pavers come in a variety of colors, textures, and uniform sizes, thanks to the fact that they’re manufactured. Their size and design usually dictate the cost. 

And while they’re not technically pavers, poured or stamped concrete is usually the least expensive to purchase and have installed. The average cost of a concrete driveway is between $1,800 and $6,000, or $4 to $15 per square foot. Precast concrete pavers made to look like traditional brick cost between $0.50 to $10 each, and large concrete pavers made to look like stone tiles can be as high as $14 each. 

So why consider a concrete paver rather than poured or stamped concrete? While the initial cost is less expensive than other patio surfaces, concrete slabs can fade and crack over time and eventually will have to be removed and replaced, especially in colder climates where temperatures drop below freezing.  

Concrete pavers are a bit more expensive to install than poured concrete, but if an individual paver cracks, it’s easier and less expensive to remove one paver than to replace an entire patio. 

Concrete pavers also tend to be stronger on a patio or driveway than poured concrete, and you can create a unique look since there are a variety of shapes and patterns available.

Brick Pavers for Patios

Garden patio with wicker furniture and a housecat
Andrea Rugg/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Brick pavers for patios often are chosen to complement an overall landscape design. They can come in clay or textured, different colors and sizes. If a patio uses natural stone to build out larger outdoor space, like an outdoor kitchen, brick pavers can add to the overall look without the expense of natural stone. It’s easy to incorporate different types and colors of brick pavers to create a unique look or dedicated spaces within a larger outside area.

How to Buy Pavers for a Patio or Driveway

Places like home improvement stores, stone yards, and garden and landscape centers sell pavers for patios, driveways, and other home projects either by the individual paver, by the square foot, or a partial or full pallet. For those who only need a small amount, purchasing individual pieces to complete a project may make financial sense. If the patio or project is sizable, buying a partial or full pallet might cost less in the long run.

Maintenance and Caring for Patios and Driveways With Pavers

A close-up of cleaning with a pressure washer a patio
Daria Nipot/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Don’t Forget the Sealant

Most pavers need to be sealed to protect them from wear and tear, grime, staining, or discoloration from the sun. Because most pavers are porous, they should be sealed upon installation and routinely cleaned. 

The type of sealant used will depend on the material and your desired look, and when to apply. The rule of thumb is to wait a week before applying the sealant if you’re using a non-film-forming paver sealant and a month if using a film-forming sealant. The reason is you want to make sure any moisture from the installation has dried, so you don’t trap moisture under the sealant. Following a manufacturer’s recommendation will save you time, money, and headaches.

Cleaning Your Pavers

In addition to sealing your patio, regular washing with water and sweeping to keep dust and debris, such as fallen leaves that might stick on the pavers after a rainstorm, is usually enough to keep your patio pavers looking clean and sharp for years to come. Some stains might need a cleaning solution. Again, following the manufacturer’s recommendations on annual maintenance is a good idea.

Patios, driveways, and walkways are a natural extension of your home. Using pavers for a patio design allows you to have fun finding designs that will complement your overall landscape design while giving you the flexibility you need to make the look work.

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