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Ask Tobermore: Should I Specify Clay or Concrete Paving?

By David McAllister
3 min read

With virtually limitless paving options available, the amount of choice for landscape designers can be staggering. When choosing between clay brick and concrete pavers, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each. Your choice will depend on what is required technically, aesthetically, and from a budget point of view.  

Clay Paving

Clay paving has been around for generations and is widely regarded as the original form of block paving. Clay brick pavers provide a timeless look which complements traditional architectural styles. They also offer the benefits of being considerably hardwearing and retaining colour over time.  

Clay bricks primary downside is cost. Baking clay bricks in a kiln is expensive and the current rise in energy costs will only see prices continue to increase. It is estimated that by using pavers of similar quality, a clay project will typically cost 15% to 20% more than concrete pavers. 

In addition, the installation cost is higher as clay bricks are typically more difficult to lay and therefore more labour intensive to install. Their size tolerance is quite variable which presents issues of unsightly gaps between bricks or having to cut pavers to size. 

Aside from the cost of clay bricks, it also has a negative environmental impact as baking in a kiln can be very sore on energy. As sustainable manufacturing is becoming more of a priority, this is driving customers to consider alternatives.

Typically only available in traditional oranges, reds and browns, clay offers a limited variety of colours and block depths for designers to choose from. When exposed to heavy vehicular traffic or harsh climates, clay paving has been known to crack, chip and shear. 

In recent years, the procurement of clay paving has become a growing concern due to the difficulty sourcing it in some regionsClay paving is stocked less and less in builders’ merchants up and down the country. Unsatisfactory lead times has led to frustration on-site causing construction professionals to consider alternative products. 

Concrete Paving

Concrete paving provides significant benefits over clay. Aside from being readily available with short lead times, concrete paving is much more cost-effective from both a material and labour point of view. This reduces the risk of having your paving design ‘value-engineered’ out the closer it gets to being laid.  

Concrete paving is celebrated due to its versatility, it suits many applications, from commercial to residential, and from contemporary to traditional. Designers can express their creative flair through more variety in laying patterns, product colours, finishes, shapes and sizes. End-users can enjoy the low maintenance and weather-resistant nature of concrete paving which requires minimal upkeep as the seasons change.  

Concrete paving has been criticised for poor colour retention. Colour typically fades over time especially if exposed to regular sunlight. However, paving and walling manufacturer, Tobermore, have developed PrimeTop to counteract this issue.  

PrimeTop is the high-performance feature which differentiates Tobermore products from standard concrete paving. Tobermore’s PrimeTop surface layer contains a high concentration of pigment creating vibrant colour and exceptional UV performance leading to enhanced weathering properties.  

Artro is Tobermore’s latest concrete paving innovation inspired by the beauty and intimate scale of traditional European clay pavers. Available in seven colours ranging from cool contemporary greys to warmer traditional tones including a striking clay-red alternative, ‘Autumn’. The long thin pavers have the dimensions of 220mm by 55mm and a depth of 80mm which provides the option of vehicular access.  

Tobermore’s Artro range marries the aesthetics, colour retention and hard-wearing nature of clay pavers with the cost savingsavailability and versatility of concrete pavers making it the perfect choice for architects and landscape architects alike. 

Find out more about Artro here.


The concrete alternative to Clay Pavers

Inspired by the intimate scale of traditional European clay pavers, Artro brings the concept right up to date, providing inspirational options for any project.

David McAllister

David is the Digital Marketing Manager at Tobermore. He is involved in the planning, execution, analytics and optimisation of Digital Marketing activity to grow reach, engagement and sales for both the Commercial and Consumer markets.