According to the website Lowes.com, even in slow economic times, when folks are trimming their budgets, an area that they actually spend more on is home improvement. Within the past few years, exterior patio rooms made with paving stones have become a fashionable home addition. If you need to save money, but would still like to add on an exterior room, consider using a less expensive alternative to paving stones.
Concrete pavers are an alternative to stone pavers that builders frequently rely on to build a patio or path for less. Concrete pavers are cast, and typically come in a uniform size or shape. The cost of a concrete paver varies depending on the quality of the material used in the cast paver. Some can be made to look like stone through the process of staining or faux finishing.
Etched and Stained Concrete
Another alternative to setting pavers into a patio is to pour a concrete slab and then have the surface etched so it takes on the attributes of a natural stone paver. Etched concrete also can be stained to take on the properties of stone pavers. Poured concrete costs much less than pavers do, however, concrete slabs may split or crack along stress points, whereas pavers typically are pieced together like a puzzle, so there is no cracking.
Rubber Form Tiles
Rubber form tiles are a lightweight alternative to stone or concrete pavers that are frequently used in high-traffic areas such as pathways. Their lightweight characteristics make them ideal for rooftop walkways or rooftop patios. The blocks are typically made from recycled tire rubber. They can be used as an anti-fatigue surface for individuals who must stand for long periods of time. They also have acoustic qualities, which can help dampen sound in city gardens. These pavers are weather and wear resistant, making them an excellent choice for paving alternatives.
Interlocking blocks are typically bricks of varying sizes. These blocks are usually more expensive than concrete blocks, but less expensive than natural stone. Interlocking blocks were first made for mass-production to replace interlocking stone in European streets. Ancient Romans used interlocking blocks over a bed of aggregate to construct their famous roads. These blocks are a durable, long-lasting choice.
Home Cast Pavers
With the recent rise in popularity of do-it-yourself projects, casting your own paving stones has become an enjoyable project for many. One company that provides tools and know-how for casting pavers is Quickrete. Quickrete pre-mixed bags of concrete are available along with cement dye and concrete molds at local hardware stores. Additionally, the Quickrete website offers detailed how-to instructions for novice concrete casters.