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What's the Best Material for a Patio?

[Updated: Mar 03, 2021 ] May 25, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Adding a patio to your outdoor setup is a great way to make your home more comfortable while also increasing its resale value. But what material should you use for your patio? Here are some choices to consider.

1. Concrete

Concrete is a basic patio material that may not look as attractive as other choices but is generally among the least expensive. If you expect your patio to take a consistent beating, or if the patio will be located under a raised deck where it won't be all that noticeable, then poured concrete could be a good, cost-effective choice. Concrete is also quite durable, though if your home is located someplace that's prone to very extreme winters, it may not be the best choice, as it has the potential to crack. And once that happens too extensively, you risk having to replace your entire patio, or large portions of it.

2. Gravel

Another relatively low-cost option, the benefit of gravel as a patio material is that it's easy to install and can lend itself to different patio shapes. That said, gravel is not a solid surface, so it's prone to shifting over time, and you may find that you need to frequently adjust patio furniture to accommodate those shifts. Aesthetically speaking, however, it's quite nice to look at.

3. Concrete pavers

Unlike poured concrete, concrete pavers are manufactured concrete stones that come in different colors and shapes. The upside of concrete pavers is that they look attractive and can be replaced individually in the event of damage or cracking. The downside is that you might spend twice as much on concrete pavers as you would on poured concrete. But concrete pavers tend to provide better drainage than poured concrete, since water can seep out between stones.

4. Brick

Brick is a classic material that's known for its durability. But like concrete, brick can crack in extremely cold temperatures. Still, bricks can be replaced individually, whereas poured concrete patios that crack often aren't salvageable. The cost of brick, however, is more comparable to that of concrete pavers, so you'll pay more up front to install it.

5. Stone

Stone patios scream elegance and add a great deal of aesthetic value. The cost to install them, however, is often prohibitive. That said, stone is extremely durable and unlikely to crack. It can, however, get quite slippery during wet weather.

What does your budget look like?

Though money isn’t the only factor that should determine what patio material you choose, it’s probably a big factor. Here’s what the above materials typically cost:

Patio Material Average Cost Per Square Foot
Concrete $6–$13
Gravel $6–$10
Concrete pavers $13–$20
Brick $14–$20
Stone $14–$28

Data Source:

Keep in mind that some materials are more labor intensive to install than others. For example, it’s relatively easy to pour concrete to create a patio. Brick and stone, on the other hand, need to be laid in piece by piece.

Ultimately, the patio material you choose should hinge on your budget and aesthetic preferences. Do your research so you ultimately wind up happy with your decision.

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