An outdoor patio is not only the perfect way to take advantage of summer and fall, but the best way to relax and unwind after a long hectic day at the office. Fortunately for eager homeowners, there are a few options as far as patio materials, the most popular of which are concrete or brick.
Concrete patios are the standard across the country. They are durable, look great no matter the size and require little if any maintenance. Brick patios, while also durable, offers numerous different designs and gives any home that traditional look so many of us crave.
Nonetheless, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. See the ongoing debate between brick and concrete patios.
Concrete Patio Cost
To no surprise, concrete prices will largely depend on the size of your patio. The larger the patio, the more expensive the project will be. However, according to our concrete patio cost guide, average concrete prices range between $6/sf and $15/sf. The safest way to really determine how much you will spend on concrete is through a concrete calculator.
Besides the size, other factors that can decrease or increase the total concrete patio cost are the type of concrete (basic concrete is the cheapest), the color (if you choose to add color) and the design (complex designs raise the price).
Brick Patio Cost
Just like a concrete patio, the total brick patio cost will largely depend on labor. More often than not, the cost of labor is more expensive than the cost of materials. Nonetheless, the type of materials does play a role.
According to our brick patio cost guide, the average price for a brick patio can range from $10/sf to $50/sf. Needless to say, if you use premium materials, the project will be more expensive.
As far as materials, most homeowners will go with concrete brick pavers or clay brick pavers. Surprisingly, clay is more expensive than concrete, but overall, will depend on the quality of brick you choose. Just beware that it is quite common for homeowners to save a buck or two and go with an inferior type of brick patio, but sadly, pay more in the long run after repairs and maintenance.
Concrete patios are very durable no matter where you live. Whether you live in Chicago with long winters or Seattle with all that rainfall, a concrete patio can stand with the best of them.
One of the reasons concrete patios are so durable is due to the sealant many masonry pros add. The sealant prevents moisture from oozing inside the concrete. Sealants are also good for concrete around a pool, providing a barrier to common pool chemicals.
Despite its durable nature, concrete can chip or crack over the years. Likewise, concrete patios can only take so much abuse. Sadly, if you chose a colored or stamped concrete patio (more later), the repairs will not be cheap. Just like paint or carpet, it’s not always easy finding an exact match if you didn’t purchase extra before installation.
Finally, weeds have a tendency to grow in between concrete pavers, but common weed killers or pesticides are readily available at your local hardware store.
Very similar to concrete, brick patios are durable and can last for decades if cared for properly. It can stand up against inches of snow and rain. Nonetheless, depending on the material and color of choice, the brick can chip and fade after a long period of time. Likewise, if your area sees heavy rainfall, don’t expect that bright red to last forever.
Additionally, brick can also chip, crack and form weeds over time. Fortunately, repairing brick patios is easier than most concrete patios as most homeowners purchase extra bricks. Remember, it never hurts to buy extra material for any home installation or improvement project.
As I have already iterated, there are few different options when it comes to concrete patio designs, the two most common of which are stamped and colored concrete.
Stamped concrete is the process of decorating the concrete once it has been laid. The name explains it all. When the concrete is still wet, the professional places a stamp above it. When it finally dries, the design will be imprinted into the concrete. There is no limit to what designers can do with stamped concrete.
Colored concrete is another option. Believe it or not, you can color concrete to match that red brick color or go totally out of the box and add a blue-green design to your concrete patio. The pro will either use a concrete dye or concrete stain. Either way, colored concrete will add between 10% and 30% of the total cost and is rarely completed by a homeowner (call a pro).
While many homeowners use brick to add a traditional, red color to their patio, much like concrete, there are plenty of colors and designs to choose from. If you are looking to go bold, below are just a few of the possible brick colors to choose from:
Likewise, brick allows you to incorporate multiple different designs. From a basket weave to a complex herringbone design, there are plenty of brick patio designs to choose from.
Given their long lifespans, both concrete and brick patios require little maintenance. Other than the occasional clean and weed spray, both need little if any care over the years.
However, if you want to ensure a long life for your brand new concrete patio, I highly recommend at least one coat of sealer every few years. This is especially important for areas that see a lot of rainfall or snow.
Additionally, make sure you fix any cracks or chips as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely the chip extends to other areas of the patio. Fortunately, a small crack, for example, can be filled in with epoxy and take less than an hour to complete.
Brick patios can become uneven, dirty and like concrete pavers, form weeds between bricks. For uneven brick patios, homeowners should fix any drainage issues around the patio and then pull up the brick in the uneven area and check the sand/base of the patio. If you need to, add a few extra layers.
Brick should be cleaned on a consistent basis and sealed every two to three years. You can purchase a masonry detergent at your local hardware store to clean the pavers. Might as well purchase when you buy weed killers.
If you follow all the steps above, your brick patio should last for decades, if not generations.
As you can see, other than price, concrete and brick patios are very similar. The ultimate decision relies on price and choice. Now that you have all the factors, what patio type are you choosing?