Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Saskatoon expert tip on Paving Stones vs Stamped Concrete


Paving Stones Vs Stamped Concrete, Pro’s and Con’s.

Before we get into a bit more about the differences between “Concrete vs. Pavers”, we should mention the difference between “Concrete Contractors” and “Landscape Contractors”.

Contractors for either of the above-mentioned products could be described as experienced long-term contractors, with lots of equipment and experienced staff, versus someone new breaking into the business, perhaps undercapitalized and with limited experience. Methods employed by these two installation crews can vary greatly. This affects the pricing and quality of the project.

Ground Preparation – excavation depth, tamping pressure and tools used, rebar (rebar size and spacing for concrete are crucial)

Pavers/Concrete – There are 3 types of Pavers and numerous qualities of Concrete

Concrete Pressure Relief Joints – Depth of cuts and experience dictates where cuts should be.

Concrete Sealers – There are many more sealers on the market now. Silicate Based, Acrylic, and water based densifiers are common with some contractors. Prairie Concrete in Saskatoon is a good source for your information on Sealers.

Most Canadian suppliers are selling “Concrete Pavers”, although there are “Brick Pavers”, mostly shipped from the USA. Both pavers are cast under heat, making them strong. The brick pavers are made from clay and shale. They are a little more prone to efflorescence, typically brick pavers are available mostly in red or reddish brown earthy tones while concrete pavers come in a variety of colours.

Concrete purchased by reputable companies is normally a minimum 30mpa, or Dura mix. Dura mix is a standard trademark used by Saskatchewan Redi-mix plants, meeting a minimum standard used in our freeze thaw climates. With the addition of colours to mixes, sometimes the mix design in your concrete may be optimized or modified slightly.


There is no doubt that properly maintained concrete driveway or patio can stand up very well. Notwithstanding, a concrete slab, in high water table area, high clay saturation in a freeze thaw climate will have movement and crack. But the concrete slab will stay flat, and if the rebar was positioned and lifted, and the concrete was of a good quality and maintained through the use of sealers and rinsing off the road-salts in spring, it will wear very well.

The biggest complaint with paving stones seems to be ground movement. Once the pavers start to move and separate they sink, and gaps occur. My understanding is that most Paving Stone companies have maintenance or are willing to re-lift the pavers.Most of them do offer a warranty for this service. (usually for 1 year) Paving stones are a very hard product and stand up well to salt without the use of sealers. A good size paving stone driveway may take a week or longer to install. It would be costly to be forced to continually pay and have them come and level your paving stones. This may be one of the reasons you will see more driveways made of concrete. Price is another factor!


Cost Comparisons – Pavers vs Concrete


Paving Stones pricing and Concrete pricing is just a rough guideline, there are many factors that can affect this. 

·         The grade of the land, how much fill needs to be moved or added.

·         Location and access are factors

·         Can equipment be used or is the job all hand work?

·         How complicated is the job, is engineering required?

·         Are custom steps involved in the project?

·         Patio’s and Pool decks are often more difficult, and smaller square footage. Usually priced higher for this reason.


Concrete Pricing ( as a rough guideline)

 - Plain Broom Finish Concrete Driveways - $8.50 - $11.00 per square foot.

 - Plain Broom Finish Concrete Patio’s - $12.00 - $15.00 per square foot.


 - Stamped or Exposed Aggregate Concrete Driveways - $11.00 - $14.00 per square foot

 - Stamped or Exposed Aggregate Concrete Patio’s - $14.00 - $18.00 per square foot


 - Paving Stone Driveway - $10.00 - $15.00 per square foot

 - Paving Stone Patio - $17.00 - $25.00 per square foot

Trusted Saskatoon Deck & Fencing experts answers your Facebook fan page questions

 Talk to the ExpertsTrusted Contractor Show -

Q: Serena Dallas: I have a bathroom that has been two years under renovation. Previous bath tub/dry wall removed - new bathtub with surround in place (note NOT I have had several "plumber" people in and ALL say something different about how to move the piping to make it all fit properly including the shower portion. How can you REALLY tell the difference about what you need so that your bathroom is functioning verses who is telling me things I "need" but really are "wish" list items to be done later? We have no previous experience and since verbal estimates have been off by a couple of thousand it's difficult.


A:  Most replacement tubs will have the drain in the same location on the tub so the plumbing of the drain should not be a problem. The water supply lines would be dependent on the fixture that you choose to turn the water on and off.  Some fixtures are a one piece which has both hot and cold water supply coming from the one piece fixture to the sprout and also up to the shower head.  I would suggest this as the best way to go so as to eliminate an extra protrusion through the wall the water supply fixtures are mounted.  Once the water supply lines are in place the wall can be enclosed but the lines should be fully tested prior to sheeting this to see if there are any leaks.  Usually on the other side of the water valve there is an inspection panel that can be easily removed to gain access in the event there has to be repairs for leaks without ripping out drywall.  Regardless of what you may thin is is probably best to get a qualified firm to look up your plumbing as you do not want leaks inside your wall creating a possible breading spot for mold.  The tub surround may be installed after the sheeting is in place and care should be taken to make sure the holes that are cut line up with the water supply fixture, the sprout and the shower head supply pipe.  Once that is achieved the adhesive is applied and the surround should be caulked where it meets the tub surround. 


Q: Holly Stasiuk: My deck is in need of a face lift. It has peeling and faded walnut brown stain. What would you suggest?


A:Your deck is obviously a week deck which requires a protective coating to keep the moisture from intruding into the core.  If the peeling and fading is severe it may require a sanding to remove any loose stain and this should be done with a sufficient grit of sand paper which will remove the prior stain but not bite heavily into the wood. This usually will be by trial and error until you find the grit that will work best. After this is achieved you can apply the stain of your choice and enjoy until the next time your deck requires a face lift. 



Q: Nik Mac: Is it possible to spot repair cigarette burns in vinyl decking? (It was a really good party)


A:There are two main types of vinyl decking and they are the polyester back and the vinyl back decking products.  The polyester back has a fuzzy appearance and the vinyl back a slick or shinny appearance. The vinyl back lends itself well for repairs as it can be melted over the eisting tear or burn and will be hardly visible. The fuzzy back has to have the polyester burned off so it may melt to the vinyl top and does not weld as well as the slick/vinyl back. Either way a repair may be done without removing any of the existing deck membrane and this will leave membrane impervious to moisture penetration.  


Q: Rachelle Nieman: What is your labour warranty on decks? Material warranty?


A:The decking membrane we sell has a warranty of 15 years if done by a certified VKOTE technician which we are.  The material is warranted to perform as a water proof membrane without flaws for that period.  The labour warranty will be for a period of the same with some expectations which are abuse and movement of the wood substrate that would cause the adhesion to break loose.  As in all warranties  we cannot be responsible for abuse of the product and suggest that when clearing snow from the surface that care is taken not to gouge the surface when doing so. 


Q: M Liz Beisel: Was is the best product to put on a deck to last through our very long winters!!


A:This is boils down to life style. Wood decks are good for enduring the rigors of nature as are composite and vinyl decks.  The vinyl and composite decks lend themselves to maintenance free life style where the wood decks require a topical treatment to protect the wood from moisture penetration for rotting the wood overtime.  The vinyl membrane decking material will allow the homeowner to maintain a dry space under the deck for dry storage and alleviate the need to purchase a back yard shed/building for storage.  The vinyl decks also take water away from the foundation and deposit it away from the house which is another advantage.   Each one of these materials comes at a different price point so depending on what your lifestyle and budget are one of these will work for you. A wood deck requires maintenance after the installation. 



Q: Jules: I need to redo the exterior of my house. Since it's and old character home what is the best option for getting added insulation, long term durable siding (what's better: stucco, vinyl, brick, others?) and adds the best value to my home?


A: Many older homes have been renovated with an application of styrogoam being applied to the outside wall sheeting.  The foam is sealed at the joints and around any doors and windows.  A siding material is then applied to the foam and is fastened through the foam into the studs for a permanent installation.  Siding comes in vinyl, metal and cement board finishes.  The most durable of these is the cement board siding which is commonly referred to as Hardi board and Certain Teed. Acryilic stucco also utilizes a layer of foam which the stucco is adhered to.  The wall sheeting has a membrane applied ot the surface prior to the foam and stucco which helps to seal the building envelope from water intrusion.  I buess the budget would be a deciding factor in what product a homeowner would utilize for their exterior , noting that the siding would be the rleast expensive with regular stucco and acryilic above that.  Stone and brick would be the most expensive route to go but there are many options offered with the culture products that will be a little more cost effective for the home owner. 


Q: Bella Kennedy: How do you repair old cinder block leaking and crumbling basement walls? Thanks


A: This will depend on the severity of the problem.  There may have to be a removal and replacement which will require  a very expensive fix.  If the damage is slight there are products in the market place that can be applied to the face of the inside to help leaking from coming in.  In most cases the problem may have to be dealt with from the outside where the foundation will have to be excavated down to the footing and a sealing compound applied to the wall and a weeping tiles installed at the base of the footing to remove the moisture from the soil and away from the foundations.  If the wall is in a state of total disrepair the lifting of the house may be required and a temporary support put beneath the house while the old cinder block is removed and new installed.   Either way the problem was caused because moisture was accumulating alongside the foundation and had no place to drain to.  This would be mostly alleviated after the weeping tile and possibl a sump pit were installed to collect the water from around the foundation.  So the quick fix is just temporary until the problem becomes that of replacement. 


Q: Colleen Glover: Does sinking a hot tub into a patio deck make it a permanent feature to increase the value of a home?


A: One has to be careful as to not sink the hot tub too far onto the deck.  The thought is to have the lip of the hot tub are enough off the deck surface as to make exiting the tub easier.  If the kip were level one would have to roll out of the hot tub making it difficult to get out.  There needs to be enough height as to be able to swing your legs over the tub edge so as to be able to allow yourself  enough height to be able to get to a standing position without having to roll onto you side and then to your knees and then up onto your feet.  This may be easily enough maneuvered by a child but I find it is not a comfortable way for an adult to exit the hot tub.  The other thing to remember is access to the pumps and guts of the hot tub. If the tub is sunken into the deck it may be hard to access pumps if repairs are needed.  So I guess the answer to this question is on of preference as to what you feel comfortable with and it should make no difference as to sinking the tub into the deck to improve the value of the home.  



Q: Shannon Hildebrandt: What do you suggest for a sky light prone to icing over on the inside. Then of course, the ice melts the first warm day, causing wall and roof damage from the water.


A: The skylight appears to have a seal that is compromised.  The skylight is a window and like most windows has a dead air space between two layers of acrylic or glass.  If the seal has allowed warm moist air to penetrate into the space between the two layers of glass then this becomes the result.  The fix is to replace the skylight because it cannot be repaired where it is installed. 


Q: Diane Fontaine: Does it matter what size of deck? Looking to have a small one made to cover old slippery stairs/ &planter. Cost issues as well.


A: Like everything I always say there are three things to consider when purchasing anything, budget, function and aesthetics.  If you have an enormous budget then all things may be had.  However most of us have restrictions on cost so we compromise on one to achieve the other two.  You deck has to be looked at as an extension of our indoor living space  The detail of what is happening on the inside should manifest itself to the outside.  The size of the deck should accommodate whatever you lifestyles is about on a regular basis.  If you love to entertain with your friends, and enjoy being outside then by all means build your deck to accommodate the function of what your lifestyle is about.  The deck should reflect the lifestyle. Finishes need to be considered when choosing a deck size.  Some people enjoy staining wood and some people want a maintenance free deck.  We try to draw out these needs from folks when we are proposing a deck build so that we try to give them what they require for their lifestyle as opposed to what they want.  My thinking is why buy a sports car if you really need a truck.




Trusted Saskatoon Concrete experts answers your Facebook fan page questions

Q: Rachelle Nieman: Do you offer paving stone/brick pavers as an additional option to concrete stamping? With paving apparently, there is no cracking that still happens with stamping?


A: Unfortunately we don’t offer a paving stone option. We have focused our talent and resources on perfecting Decorative Concrete. You are correct that “pavers” don’t crack. They do shift or settle however because they are not reinforced with rebar/steel.


Concrete does have a matte of rebar that holds the structure together. If the rebar is adequately designed the cracks will remain “hairline” cracks. Concrete is often more affordable than pavers.


Q: M Liz Beisel: What is the most popular product for driveways and how long does it take from start to finish?


A: A driveway can be fully installed in a day but generally it takes about 2 days for a regular sized driveway with a walkway. Our most popular decorative concrete designs are a “texture mat” finish which stands out like river bedrock. Another very exclusive design is “Cypress Slate” which looks like quarried slate rock tiles which can be colored/stained.   




Q: Deenna Dekker: How long from start to completion does it generally take for n average driveway …I am assuming the weather is a factor?


A: It generally takes 2 days.


Q: Kim Krivoshein: Do you do round pools? Do you offer resin based products or just concrete? What would you recommend as best option?


A: W Decorative concrete if improperly installed, is extremely slippery. If the concrete has a steel trowel used on it in the finishing process the fine sands and concrete particles are brought to the surface. When an acrylic sealer coats the top the surface it becomes even more dangerous.


Our method keeps the coarse materials at the surface of the concrete. So much so that it has the traction of a grey “broomed” brush finish. Our techniques are so successful that Paradise (pools) and Leisurescapes will only contract with us for pool decks. Chlorine and Saltwater in pools react differently with different material. Of course, we prefer concrete for its traction and its durability. Decorative Concrete requires more cleaning than wood decks but we believe that one would enjoy their outdoor living space significantly more. 




Q: Crystal Gharini: Can I cement over a crumbling driveway or does it need to be completely redone? Please help!!!


A: If it is a decorative concrete pattern it can be restored. If it is a grey broomed finish there are options to restore it although the color match is difficult to achieve. If it is a small repair it will probably last longer than a large repair and prevent the spread of the concrete deterioration. For grey driveways with extensive crumbling, we suggest that it be removed. It is better to invest in new materials that repair older failing materials. I wouldn’t use concrete over older concrete in significant amounts. It will usually crumble off.  


Q: Sean Boyko: What is the cost comparison between your product and brick? What is the lifespan comparison? 


A: We are not experts on Brick paving stones but some generalizations about the industry are they are more expensive compared to concrete. The pavers can have an extremely long life but are more subject to ground movement. Concrete if installed and maintained correctly, should last 20-50 years in Saskatchewan. It might require touchups.



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Trusted Saskatoon Concrete experts tip on Common Questions About Concrete Driveways

Here they share a tip on Common Questions About Concrete Driveways:

                            Ozark Patterned Concrete, Inc. in Lowell, AR.


How do I find the right contractor to install my driveway?

  • Look at decorative concrete driveways in your neighbourhood and get the names of the contractors who installed the driveways that appeal to you most. Be sure to ask the homeowners about their experience with the contractor and the quality of the workmanship.
  • Get references from friends, homebuilders or local ready-mix suppliers.
  • Get names through your local directories.


Once you come up with a list of contractors, be sure to ask for references and get a list of projects in your area that you can check out. Also ask how long the contractor has been in business if they're insured, whether they have any professional certifications, and if they offer a warranty for their work. 

Do I need to seal my new concrete driveway?You should apply a high-quality sealer to all exterior concrete slabs exposed to freeze-thaw conditions. The sealer helps protect the concrete from moisture absorption, exposure to chemicals, and grease and oil stains. On decorative colored concrete, a sealer will also help enhance the color 

Generally, there are two categories of sealers for exterior concrete: film-formers and penetrants. Penetrating sealers tend to offer the best protection from moisture absorption. Regardless of the sealer you use, be sure it's applied according to the manufacturer's instructions.

What if the driveway cracks?

If your concrete was jointed properly, cracks are unlikely to be a problem. Think of joints as "planned" cracks that allow the concrete to expand and contract, minimizing any chance for random cracking.

Although joints will control cracking in most cases, even properly jointed concrete can crack in places other than the joints. Most of these random cracks are simply unplanned joints and won't impact the long-term service and durability of your driveway. But they can detract from the appearance. If you're concerned about random cracking, ask your contractor what measures he will take to prevent it and what his policy is about fixing any random cracking that does occur.

What if the color isn't what I expected?

It's unrealistic to expect your contractor to precisely match the color of your concrete driveway to a showroom sample, a neighbour's decorative concrete driveway, or a photo from a brochure. Even plain concrete can exhibit color variations, especially if the project requires more than one load of concrete or if the concrete placements are made on different days. Most of these variations are minor and will fade over time.

For more information, read Concrete Driveways -- What a Homeowner Should Expect from the Tennessee Concrete Association.

What is the cost of a stamped concrete driveway?

Your initial cost to install a stamped concrete driveway can range anywhere from $6 per square foot for basic stamped concrete (using just one pattern and color) to $15 or more per square foot for elaborate multi-pattern designs with special coloring effects (see Stamped Concrete Driveway Cost). While stamped concrete is pricier than asphalt, you'll get a much better return on your investment. Not only does a concrete driveway last longer and require less maintenance than most other paving materials, it can help boost the resale value of your home by adding curb appeal.

Read more about concrete driveway cost.

Can I get a warranty for my concrete driveway?

Yes! Many contractors will warrant their work, and you may be able to obtain an extended warranty (three years or longer) through your state concrete association, such as the Six Star Driveway Program available from the Michigan Concrete Association. Contractors and concrete producers who participate in the program agree to follow certain installation criteria and quality-control standards and will correct-for the duration of the warranty-any problems that occur due to their negligence.

Trusted Saskatoon Concrete experts tip on Hiring a Contractor

Here they share a tip on Hiring a Contractor:


As an estimator I am sometimes asked, from potential customers, to provide concrete products that are inferior or unsafe, so that the price will be less expensive. We decline situations like this believing that "the cheap ends up being the expensive". 
The information below provides insight into how reputable contractors think and how you can secure the best organization to complete your project.

Mike Holmes: Trouble hiring a contractor? Take a look in the mirror

Most homeowners think that when they talk to contractors for a potential job that they’re the only ones doing the interviewing. But don’t be fooled — the contractor is interviewing you, too.

Good contractors are booked weeks, sometimes months, in advance. That means they can be picky about the contracts they accept and the homeowners they work with.

If they’re going to reject other offers to work on your project, you better believe they’re going to be smart about how they invest their time. They want to be proud of their work and what they do. But more important, they want to make their clients happy.

Good contractors want to work for people who appreciate their work (I love the hugs I get at the end of a job!). As a contractor, there’s nothing worse than working your butt off for months only to have an unhappy homeowner at the end.

If a contractor can tell within the first five minutes that it is unlikely they can make you happy, they’ll move on. Why get into a bad relationship? Because that’s what it is when you hire a contractor — a relationship. There has to be communication, respect and trust.

If you’re having trouble hiring the right contractor, you might need to rethink your approach. Because sometimes the problem isn’t the contractors, it’s you.

Here are some warning signs:

Contractors don’t call you back. If you’ve asked a dozen contractors for quotes but only two call you back, the others are either too busy or don’t want the job. It could be the way you speak to them. Or you might have unrealistic expectations about the work, the budget, the schedule — or all of the above.

You want stuff done that goes against code. A smart contractor will not accept any contract where the work breaks municipal bylaws or goes against code. If they do, they’re no good and you’re asking for trouble.

I once had a client that wanted their sump pump to drain on the other side of their property by digging and running a pipe across 20 feet. That goes against code because it could freeze and burst in the winter. We have building codes for a reason. Contractors who break them don’t have your best interest in mind.

You don’t budge on your schedule. Good contractors can’t start next week. In most cases, the contractors that are readily available are usually the ones to avoid. In a good contractor-client relationship, both sides will accommodate each other’s schedules as best they can to facilitate the project.

You’re confrontational from the get-go. A few home renovation shows (and I won’t mention which ones) have made some homeowners edgy and mistrustful of contractors. This is good in moderation, but at the same time, you have to be respectful. Remember, respect is a two-way street. You have to give it to get it.

You ask for extras but don’t want to pay. Good work isn’t cheap or free. You’ve heard the saying: “You get what you pay for.” It’s one thing for a contractor to throw in better cabinet handles or not charge for a certain step in a job, such as sanding. But it’s just bad etiquette to ask your contractor to paint your living room and family room for free when they were hired to do your kitchen.

You don’t let the contractor talk. You’re hiring a contractor because he or she is (or should be) the expert. Your job is to do the research, ask the right questions and listen. But I’ve met homeowners who don’t let me get a word in. That tells me three things: 1. They think they are the experts; 2. They don’t trust my skill; 3. They’ll be questioning me on everything every step of the way. Who would want to work for somebody like that?

Asking a contractor why they do things a certain way is necessary. But telling them how to do their job isn’t. If you don’t trust their work, don’t hire them. Otherwise, you risk getting into a bad situation — for you and the contractor.



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