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  • Writer's pictureGeobunga

3 Smart Reasons to Choose Pavers Over Concrete When Hardscaping


Are you thinking of pouring a concrete slab for your next awesome patio or walkway at home? If so, you ought to consider laying sandset pavers.

After all, it’s the same proven technology used by ancient Romans more than 2,000 years ago, and when you combine it with some of the more advanced hardscaping products now available, the benefits are indisputably superior.

Here are three reasons why we think pavers are a better idea:

gator base aggregate substitute

Gator Base aggregate substitute

Pavers save you money

Once you factor in hiring labor and machinery, and the cost of pouring a slab of cement can be significantly higher — up to nearly twice as much laying stone pavers over sand.

This especially true when you opt to use a synthetic aggregate product such as

Gator Base, which instantly eliminates the need to using 4″-5″ of traditional aggregate (base gravel) fill, not to mention the cost of truck and driver and soil dumping (and in some places — soil testing).

Example: in Hawaii, if you pay a contractor to pour a small cement slab or walkway, you’ll pay a minimum of $13-$15 per square foot. Smaller areas can cost much more.

On the other hand, stone pavers can be a simple DIY project and range from $8 to $14 per square foot installed, which includes the setting materials (mason sand, base, landscape fabric, polymeric sand).

It’s also way cheaper to replace pavers if one of them chips, breaks or cracks. You only have to replace a piece or two, instead of digging up and replacing a whole slab.

Pavers are easier to work with and save you time

sand set paver patio installation

Okay, that’s two benefits! For the average layperson, a DIY paver pathway project is much easier to learn and work with, and requires fewer tools than a cement project.

Here are the basic steps to a paver hardscape install:

  1. tamp the native soil

  2. add weedblock, sand and Gator Base (very easy to cut and snap together)

  3. lay down stone

  4. broom in sand and tamp pavers

Here are the basic steps to a concrete install:

  1. tamp the native soil

  2. add aggregate (gravel)

  3. stake and string the perimeter

  4. cut and frame the area with wood

  5. mix the concrete

  6. pour the concrete

  7. level and smooth the concrete

  8. wait for it to dry

See the difference?

The DIY component is what truly sets apart the sandset pavers.  Aside from more variety and a more beautiful aesthetic, it would cost you up to$24-$35 per square foot to create the same finish appearance as your sandset pavers using traditional methods (pour the cement @$13-$15/sq. ft.), buy stone ($3-$5/sq. ft.), hire a contractor to install the stone on top of the slab ($8-$15//sq. ft.).

Pavers are more environmentally sustainable than cement


Fact: the concrete industry creates up to 5% of the world’s man-made carbon emissions. For every ton of cement that’s manufactured, 900kg of CO2 are emitted.

Using pavers is a great way to lower your carbon footprint.

There’s also a product called polymeric sand, which serves as the final fill between pavers. Unlike traditional sand, the polymeric material eliminates ant infestation (which could lead to erosion), and weed grown, which in turn eliminates the need to use pesticides and herbicides. Polymeric sand is also a superior binding agent over traditional sand, which creates a more rigid set.

Learn more at our upcoming Pavers and Pathways Workshop

sand set pavers installation

Our recent san set paver installation / restoration at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley

We’ve just scratched the surface of the benefits of stone pavers over concrete. You can learn more, including paver selection (such puka lava random flagging and cut dimensional) as well as basic installation at our two free Pavers and Pathways Workshops.

Geobunga Pavers and Pathways Workshop

Saturday July 18 (Honolulu) 9am, runs for about 1 hour plus Q&A FREE admission

Photo credits: Flickr, Alliance Gator, Geobunga

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