Asked on Apr 26, 2013

Concrete vs. designed concrete vs. flagstone/pavers for my front walk?

by 117135
I am looking for expert advice on what I should do to replace my front walkway. I love the look of flagstone and pavers but I am concerened of the cost involved(contracted) I dont want to do the boring basic concrete so was thinking designed concrete and I am concerned about it holding up in harsh Ohio winters? I need expert advice for this walway and steps. Dont look at the weed invested yard(being replaced) and the spotted house(being painted)
Flagstone vs. designed concrete
  22 answers
  • No longer available No longer available on Apr 26, 2013
    We have a stamped concrete patio and I like it. Flagstone was my first choice but after getting an estimate, we went with the stamped concrete instead. Flagstone would look really pretty with your style home but I understand cost issues. The concrete does require some upkeep since it is colored - every year we thoroughly scrub it and every 1-2 years we seal it to keep the color looking fresh. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!
  • Jenny Belman Jenny Belman on Apr 26, 2013
    Concrete is a very popular material for walkways. It can be color and textured. For a more contemporary walkway, concrete can be poured in over sized pavers. This creates the look of giant stepping stones.
  • Flagstone set in the cement is nice. But care is difficult as adverse weather can cause the flagstone do delaminate making repairs difficult. Placing just flagstone for a sidewalk that gets a lot of use is not a good idea as well. While this may be a good choice for perhaps a walkway that does not get a lot of use, It is difficult for people to walk on on a daily basis because of settlement and difficulty in shoveling snow in winter months. My vote would be to use a stamped concrete pattern using a high grade high strength cement mix so it will last a long time.
  • 117135 117135 on Apr 26, 2013
    My neighbor across the street had their stamped concrete done 4 years ago and they clean and seal it every year. Their pathway still looks great with no cracks etc. I have another neighbor who did their driveway stamped and it cracked within a year and it is now pitting and fading(looks terrible). I would image that the initial job and installer has a lot to do with the final outcome? Or would his driveway be a maintenance issue?
  • Driveways are another entirely different animal when it comes to cement. They take abuse from road salts, weight and abuse that your sidewalks do not come into contact with. Also the quality of the stamping has a lot to do with it as well. If the contractor used poor quality cement, used to much water, failed to properly tint the surfaces when stamping all can lead to early failure of the surface. IN addition weather has a lot to do with it as well. Cooler weather is ideal for cement. To hot and it dries out to fast. To cold and it freezes. Maintenance is also a big factor as well. Using salts to clear ice is a big mistake. Using chipping tools to remove snow also can mess up surface. Oils and fuel also can do a lot to mess up the surface as well. It is very important to use the correct quality of cement. It comes in various strengths as well as qualities. Added fibers make it stronger. More water makes it weaker. Installing cement is more of a science then one thinks. Be sure to find out about the installer and visit his jobs before choosing them.
  • 117135 117135 on Apr 27, 2013
    Thank you Woodbridge Environmental! You gave me some insightful information about mixing of the cement. Very helpful!
  • Kimberly Barney Kimberly Barney on Apr 27, 2013
    The concrete walkway appears to be in good shape. I saw where someone used the stone concrete form to paint their concrete pad. Just something to consider.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 28, 2013
    Sometimes you look at something you want to change, look around at what solutions your neighbors have done and think that it is hopeless. Well, if you are facing problems with awful weather might want to resurface your landing and steps with something pretty. Then take out the bottom 2 steps, take up the walk to the street completely and put in grass. Then make a short walk from the top 2 steps to the driveway. In the long run it would be less to shovel off in winter and not as much to keep up. And you would not have that eyesore going down the middle of your yard!
  • 117135 117135 on Apr 28, 2013
    @jeanette S. I am unable to take the walkway from the bottom steps over to the driveway since there is a hill in the lawn. The two bottom steps are there because of the hill. The picture does not show the hill. I agree about shortening the walkway. We are tearing out the weeds and redoing the entire lawn, so this would be the time to make a walkway change.
  • You have a Tudor house style, and I would suggest using natural flagstone to maintain and complement that architectural character. Nowadays it seems more useful to have a walk that connects to the driveway, then one that leads out to the street. It's hard to see everything that is going on in your yard from the photo, but you could look into creating a landing at the bottom of your steps and then turn your new walk and lead it to the driveway (depending on how much earthwork you want to do, there are ways to design your walk dealing with the hill - if you did a straight walk, you'd probably have to build a retaining wall where the walk cuts through the hill; another option is going around the hill by bringing the walk away from the step landing a bit, use a radius to turn it back a bit to create a simple winding walk leading to the driveway. You'd have an opportunity to design an entry feature where your walk and driveway meet. The old concrete walk leading to the street could be removed, and you would have the opportunity to create a large, beautiful lawn. Don't rush it - give yourself time to think it through. Before you dig, have your utilities located (it's free - just call 811).
  • 117135 117135 on Apr 28, 2013
    My husband and I have agreed that you @Better outdoor living and Jeanette are correct about changing the the direction of the walkway. We will be moving it to the driveway side. I like the idea of not having the walkway cut through the middle of the lawn. Most people do not use the walkway unless they actually park I the street, which is rare. Most people park in the driveway and cut through the lawn. I really would like a flagstone walkway, I agree that it is more charter of the home.
  • 117135 117135 on May 12, 2013
    Update! We are changing the direction of the walkway and doing designed concrete. I will keep you upadated as things start to happen. The painters will ne here next week to start on the house! I am excited to get things done and I am sure my neighbors will be thrilled once it is all done!
  • Pictures Pictures Pictures. We all want Pictures! lol
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on May 13, 2013
    It's going to look stunning @DeDe @ Designed Decor. Can't wait to see your pictures!
  • Michelle Michelle on Aug 17, 2014
    I found a brick pattern stencil and will turn my concrete walkway into a brick walkway.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Aug 18, 2014
    Glad you're happy with it. Am not that ambitious - probably would have just pressure washed to remove any stains and the grass between the sections, applied concrete stain and a sealer! lol BTW, I really like how your walk curved up the house.
  • Elizabeth Wright Elizabeth Wright on Aug 25, 2014
    I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner! We have the configuration you are changing your walkway to and I hate it! I wish I had a walkway to the front walk from the door; we are always plowing a path through the snow on the grass because there isn't enough room to walk up the driveway beside the cars. Plus everyone that parks on the street to visit us has to walk all the way around to the driveway. It's a big pain. I didn't think your cement walk looked bad,in fact, I find that curving path absolutely charming, but I too love the look of flagstone. We will be stamping and staining the concrete walks and patio on the new house we are building.
  • Elizabeth Wright Elizabeth Wright on Aug 25, 2014
    I just read one of your posts, DeDe; and I understand the difference now! Our neighbor across the street has a little girl who told us, " My Nana says your house is the house of a thousand cars!" We laughed so hard-her parents were a little embarrassed, I think!-but we do have a lot of visitors; we have eight children: five married and three single young adults who have a lot of friends, so there is quite a bit of coming and going around here....
    • 117135 117135 on Aug 25, 2014
      Sounds like you have the fun house on the block! Best if luck in the new house!
  • Nivasi Frankly-Speaks Nivasi Frankly-Speaks on Oct 22, 2014
    if you go the flagstone route, be sure to use polymer sand as opposed to natural- no weeds grow in it where natural allows some scrub to work through
  • BBB BBB on Mar 17, 2015
    Flagstone is expensive but you can make your own flagstone out of concrete . I have done this before and it's very inexpensive. Create your molds using the ground. You will have to line it with heavy contractor bags that are sprayed with PAM so that the concrete won't stick ( you could buy molds but they can be pricey) make a few designs and then add colorant so that you have some greys and natural flagstone looking stones. use the quick dry concrete too so you won't have to wait more than a few minutes for it to dry. You can lay these newly minted pavers over your existing concrete walkway, just put down sand first as if you were really laying new pavers. You might have to put up some edging on the sides for the sand so it will hold up. This way if you don't like it, in a few years you can remove and use the pavers in another area of your yard and the original concrete walkway will still be fine. Make sure the pavers are at least 2-3 inches thick to prevent cracking. Most important is that the base is level, so when creating the original mold , make sure the bottom is level. The top will self level.
  • Kas8281939 Kas8281939 on Aug 02, 2016
    Having experience in all of these. My favorite and the one with the less maintenance is stamped concrete. We put pavers on our front walkway and the installation and upkeep is very expensive and if a DIY, labor intensive. Forget expensive flagstone as well. Even if it is done correctly, it's difficult to walk on and you have to put something (stepables, pea gravel etc.)in between. Colored stamped concrete is MY choice.
  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Sep 12, 2016
    I have to agree with Kasha1300, paver are beautiful but weeds will eventually grow through them and with the snow and rain things settle and may not look good after a short while. Stamped concrete in a brick look like pavers, or slate (which has many shades so multiple layers of color) would be awesome. Good luck and don't forget steps and porch to really sell effect.