The Hardscaper Blog:

Benefits of Concrete as a Paver Alternative

Using a paver alternative Colorado Hardscapes creates a running bond pattern with colored bands.

Over the years we have been asked if we install pavers. We do not! Therefore, if you are set on adding pavers to your next project, we will not be the right subcontractor to work with. However, if you are looking for the aesthetics of pavers with the many material benefits of concrete, we can help with that. How, you ask, can concrete be a Paver Alternative?

At Colorado Hardscapes, we have perfected our methods of concrete use to create decorative, high-end appearances typically found in pavers. Whether the look you want includes a running bond pattern, alternating colors, texture, or an overall high-end design, we have something for you. For years, Colorado Hardscapes has been successfully working with Designers and GCs to help bring the best aesthetics of concrete to their projects, all while preventing common paver problems.

The Traditional Benefit to Pavers:

Typically, people think of pavers as aesthetically superior to cast in place concrete. Although we concrete folk disagree, we are aware the opinion exists. For many, the benefits of pavers include:

  • Easy to replace
  • Ease of access below
  • No need to slope for drainage

If we only look at the benefits, we might miss a problem area, and in sticking with this material, not see a better alternative. One common problem may occur when an individual paver becomes loose, causing a tripping hazard. Other problems can include time and cost; since installing requires hand placing each paver in its own location.

The Traditional Benefit to cast in place concrete:

Again, looking at cast in place concrete as an alternative material and the typical benefits people think of:

  • Durability and Strength
  • Great Longevity
  • Easy to Maintain

Colorado Hardscapes as a Paver Alternative:

However, let’s look at the additional benefits that we here at Colorado Hardscapes add to concrete with our decorative abilities:

  • Many Color Options and Easy to Customize
  • Greater Flexibility on Design Patterns
  • More Texture Options
  • Can Save on Cost
  • Less Chance for Trip Hazards
  • Monolithic Pour
  • Can Match Pool Coping, Walls, bands, etc.
  • No Fire hazard with foam below pedestal pavers

Our knowledge and experience at Colorado Hardscapes are able to give you the majority of the benefits pavers provide without the common problems. So, let’s talk about the last elephant in the room; those skinny running bond patterns and additional joints. GUESS WHAT? We got you covered!

Take a look at these three projects. Each gives the look and feel of pavers, down to the thin layout of the “panels”. 

1) Dual Brand Hotel

concrete at Dual Brand Hotel a paver alternative

This project at the Dual Brand Hotel was originally set to be pavers. Did you guess that it was concrete and not pavers? (Before I told you?) Well, it is. It has an additional decorative sawcut pattern and skinny bands of colored concrete throughout to give the visual appeal that the designer wanted. It also saved time, money, and was tied together with rebar. Using concrete solved any future tripping problems that a single moving paver might create. In fact, the developer is now talking about using this same paver alternative on their next project.

2) Boulder Civic Area Park

Sandscape® flatwork on bridge over creek. Decorative Sawcuts on Flatwork - Colorado Hardscapes a paver alternative

Here we have Boulder Civic Area Park. We used a paver-like look in the park’s walking and biking path in both areas. Firstly, we used this method in the walking path, called the Spine, which runs through the center of the park. Secondly, in the bike path, we created “speed tables” to slow bikers down while crossing over the path intersections. In this park, the possibility of a paver becoming loose in the path poses a serious problem.

3) Market Station

Currently in construction is Market Station, located in Downtown Denver. These pictures show our crew working to create a unique design in the concrete layout, typically only achieved by pavers. The walkway’s design adds to the value and style of the overall project without the large increase in cost. Thanks to decorative concrete, this walkway will look just as even as it does today, in ten years.

The first two projects are clear examples of adding additional saw cuts to a design. This creates the aesthetic appeal of pavers with the strength of concrete. The third, shows both a unique saw cut and color pattern that typically is not found from concrete, but rather laid with pavers.

City of Denver & Pavers:

One problem in recent years is that the Denver Fire Department no longer will allow Pavers over Geofoam. When working on an above grade pool deck, you will need a concrete slab placed under pedestal pavers to avoid a fire hazard. Instead of pouring a slab and then putting pavers on top, use Colorado Hardscapes for the entire pool deck. Too many subcontractors create problems with timing and scheduling. We can still provide you all the visual benefits of pavers while reducing the headache of an additional subcontractor. Not to mention it will help surrounding finishes match each other, and reduce material costs.

FUN FACT: Did you know we install pools too? Because we do! If you are working on a rooftop pool deck, ask us to price out the whole amenity package including the walls, pool, and spa.

In conclusion, if you are designing a project and are looking at the designs and aesthetics of pavers, also consider adding decorative concrete. Consider the benefits of concrete and adding in the aesthetics you’re after, whether it’s the color, texture, sawcuts or banding. Colorado Hardscapes prides itself on working with designers to create custom concrete designs that go beyond their expectations.

Give us a call today about replacing your upcoming paver project with a concrete alternative and the added benefit we can provide you.