Concrete Stones (Patio Stones):
Appearance: Concrete stones are a cross between poured concrete and paving bricks. The stones are made of concrete come in various colors. There are also numerous sizes and shapes available. Concrete stones are very popular for ground level patios and in many areas they are called patio stones, but do not do well in driveways as they will settle and shift under weight.
Durability: Concrete stones will last about 10 to 15 years before surface wear is noticeable. The smooth surface disappears and you have a rough surface of aggregate. The harsher the climate the shorter the life span.
Maintenance: Most stains, if acted upon quickly can be removed with concrete stain removers, especially if the concrete has had a sealer applied to it. Concrete stones can be washed and paint can be applied.
Repair: Patio stones are easy to lift and re-lay if they heave, settle or shift. Once surface wear is noticeable, the concrete stones need to be replaced as they cannot be repaired.
DIY or Pro: Concrete stones or patio stones can be installed by the home handyman.
Appearance: Popular choice for walkways and garden paths. Flagstone is usually random sized pieces of stone. It is available in a number of colors. It provides a warm, comfortable paving material especially in gardens. In many cases grass is allowed to grow between the stones.
Durability: Flagstone is relatively durable when used for walkways and low weight traffic areas. Flagstone is not generally used on driveways. Flagstone can chip and crack, although in many cases the chips and cracks enhance the appearance.
Maintenance: Oil and grease stains are difficult to remove as flagstone is somewhat porous. When used on walkways oil and grease stains are unlikely. Weathered flagstone has its own unique appeal and is usually not cleaned.
Repair: There is little to repair when flagstone is used as a paving material for walkways. If some of the flagstones settle they can be easily lifted and re-laid.
DIY or Pro: Flagstone can easily be installed by the home handyman.
Appearance: Gravel has been used for years on driveways and walkways. It's appearance is rustic and it generally shows ruts where vehicles continually operate.
Durability: Gravel itself is very durable. However its durability as a paving material is questionable as it shows ruts and can be thrown from the area it is supposed to be covering.
Maintenance: Oil and grease stains cannot be removed from gravel. There is also no way to clean gravel.
Repair: Ruts can easily be repaired using a rake. For larger areas a small dozer can level a driveway in an hour. Gravel can be replenished as needed and there is really no "matching" problem.
DIY or Pro: Gravel can be installed by a home handyman.
Appearance: Paving bricks will provide an upscale appearance to your property. They are available in numerous colors, shapes and sizes and can easily be installed in a number of different patterns.
Durability: The individual paving bricks are quite durable. Paving brick installations do suffer from heaving and settling in climates where freezing occurs. Ruts are not uncommon on driveways where heavy vehicles have driven over the paving bricks.
Maintenance: Oil and grease stains are difficult to remove. Some installers advertise that to eliminate a stain on paving bricks, you just flip the bricks over - you can only do that once! Paving bricks can be sealed with a penetrating sealer that helps prevent staining.
Repair: It is not difficult to lift and re-lay paving bricks that may have shifted, heaved or settled.
DIY or Pro: Paving bricks can definitely be installed by the home handyman.
Additional information on paving bricks.
Appearance: Rubber pavers are a relatively new product to enter the paving market. They are generally made from recycled tires. There are numerous colors and patterns available. They provide a clean, modern appearance.
Durability: As rubber pavers are relatively new we were unable to find any really hard information on their durability. In most cases they appear as installed as patios.
Maintenance: From the information supplied and the fact that the product is made of rubber, it would appear that it has superior stain resistance.
Repair: Rubber pavers are light weight and would be very easy to lift and re-lay should the need arise.
DIY or Pro: Rubber pavers are definitely a home handyman installation project. They are easy to cut, and light weight.