Brick Driveway: What’s Better, Brick or Concrete Pavers?

A driveway laid with brick pavers may last generations but is pricier

Brick paver driveway
dlewis33 / Getty Images

When considering installing an elegant brick driveway with pavers, you have similarly priced options between clay bricks and concrete pavers. This guide compares clay vs. concrete pavers by reviewing the materials' product costs, durability, and maintenance needs to help you determine which is better for your needs. Also, take a closer look at the steps involved in installing a brick paver driveway to see if it's the right option for you.

What Are Pavers?

Pavers or paving stones are made of brick, concrete, or natural stone used to create a surface for roads, driveways, walkways, patios, and courtyards. Clay brick pavers are a manufactured product made of clay cast in forms, then heat cured, usually in the shape of a rectangle. Concrete pavers are cast bricks made of Portland cement and aggregate. Cobblestones are natural, quarried stones cut into paver shapes.

Clay Brick Pavers vs. Concrete Pavers

Clay brick is arguably one of the most elegant paving surfaces and consistently adds value to your home. Clay brick has been a standard building material for thousands of years, used for building walls and as paving surfaces for roads, pathways, and courtyards, lending a timeless look to your landscape.

However, high-quality concrete pavers can also add value to your home. Brick and concrete pavers offer beautiful classic paving surfaces that work well with almost any home style.

Concrete pavers are made from cement and aggregate poured into forms, compressed, and air cured. Concrete can be formed into various shapes and sizes and pigmented in various colors. However, concrete pavers usually have a shorter lifespan than bricks.

Pros and Cons of Clay Brick Pavers

  • Attractive classic appearance

  • Durable material

  • Easy repairs

  • Recyclable

  • Adds more home value

  • More expensive than concrete

  • Requires periodic sealing

  • Laborious installation

  • Susceptible to frost heaving

  • Limited design options


Clay brick pavers are slightly more expensive than concrete pavers. According to Angi comparisons, you can expect to pay $8 to $15 per square foot to install concrete pavers. Meanwhile, brick paver installation costs about $10 to $20 per square foot, depending on fancier designs and pricier bricks.

Contrary to popular belief, recycled bricks (also called reclaimed bricks) are not less expensive than new clay bricks unless you get them for free. The bricklayer needs to take extra care when laying the bricks, increasing construction costs when using them. However, they are more sustainable. They reduce landfill waste, the environmental costs of sourcing more clay, and the carbon footprint of making new bricks.


As another comparison, if you were to consider cobblestone or natural stone pavers, the prices can skyrocket up to $50 per square foot for sourcing quarried stone, cutting the stone, and other labor costs.


Clay bricks and concrete pavers are susceptible to cracking and can become loose over time, causing an uneven surface. But, many types of concrete pavers are manufactured nowadays to be harder and more durable than clay brick.

Classic brick, on the whole, is very durable and can still easily withstand normal driveway usage, provided they are laid over a good base and maintained regularly. Bricks and concrete pavers also need periodic sealing to prevent stains.

In general, bricks still have a longer lifespan than concrete pavers, lasting generations, versus concrete, which lasts a few decades. The quality of the concrete pavers can make all the difference since low-quality concrete pavers can start crumbling upon delivery (and should be returned).

Design Options

Clay bricks used for wall construction differ from paver bricks; they are solid, smooth-surfaced clay without holes or gaps. Clay bricks are a far more attractive paving surface than poured concrete, but clay brick design options are more limited than concrete pavers.

Brick pavers can be arranged in different patterns but offer fewer design options since most paver bricks are clay-colored browns, reds, and rectangular. Concrete pavers, on the other hand, come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, giving you more options.


Clay pavers and concrete pavers will gradually weather over time under the influence of moisture and ultraviolet rays from the sun. Clay brick and concrete paver driveways need periodic weed and dirt removal from between the pavers. Proper maintenance can significantly extend the life of your driveway to 25 years or more.

Clay bricks resist staining and require less maintenance and cleaning than concrete pavers. It will need washing with a pressure washer once or twice a year. In comparison, a concrete paver driveway will need cleaning with a cleaning solution every few months. Sealants will also extend the lifetime of your clay brick or concrete paver driveway.


Sealants for clay bricks and concrete pavers slow erosion, color fading, stains, mold, weed growth, paver sinking, and shifting. To ensure a long life, clay bricks, and concrete pavers should be resealed at least every three to five years. If left unsealed, clay brick will flake and peel over time. 

When resealing clay brick, use a product that states it's designed for clay brick, such as a siloxane-based sealer, which will protect without changing the appearance of the brick. Avoid gloss-finish sealers, which often result in a splotchy surface. However, there are "wet look" sealers that look shiny without producing a gloss. Many of the same sealant products can be used for clay brick and concrete pavers; read the product specifications closely.

Sealers can be applied with a good pump sprayer or rolled or brushed over the surface. Seal the sand joints as well as the surface of the brick, as this will help solidify the sand and prevent weeds and moss from appearing in the joints. 


Concrete and clay bricks are susceptible to cracking from erosion but can be easily replaced if individual pavers are damaged. Bricks tend to flake and disintegrate with weather, wear, and shift. Concrete and brick pavers are easy to repair by calling a professional who handles hardscape repairs or repairing them yourself.

If the pavers are coming loose, wash the driveway, let it dry for a day or two, and pack the joints with fresh sand. If the pavers are mortared, repair any cracks with fresh mortar and let it dry thoroughly. Repair compounds can include mortar, concrete repair stick putty, epoxy sealers, or polymeric sand to reset the bricks or concrete pavers if they crack or loosen. You can also remove and replace broken or cracked pavers if you have spares or contact the original supplier.

Illustration about brick paver driveways

The Spruce / Kaley McKean

Brick Paver Installation Steps

Brick pavers and concrete pavers are basically set in the same way. Here are the step-by-step instructions for laying brick pavers.

  1. Decide on the Base

    As with any driveway material, the key to a good brick paver surface is a well-prepared base—especially when paving a driveway that must support a lot of weight. You can use a base of paver sand or mortar.

  2. Outline the Area

    Use layout strings to outline the area you intend to pave.

  3. Excavate

    Remove the soil (or the existing paving) to a depth of at least 12 inches.

  4. Add Gravel

    Layer 8 to 12 inches of gravel to the excavated area, compacting the gravel periodically as you add layers.

  5. Compact Again

    Compact the gravel again after each 2- to 4-inch layer is added.

  6. Add Sand

    Layer 1 1/2 inches of sand and level it.

  7. Lay Down Brick Pavers

    When the base is ready, lay bricks in a pattern you like.


    Bricks can be cut individually, but it can be much quicker to trim the edges all at once with a handheld circular saw or rented wet saw fitted with a diamond blade.

  8. Set the Pavers

    As the field bricks are installed, they are periodically flattened and "set" by pounding with a mallet. Optionally, you can set the perimeter bricks in concrete to establish a solid edging that will hold the field brick in place.

  9. Level With a Roller

    Use a roller to flatten and level the brick surface.

  10. Fill the Cracks Between the Brick

    Use loose sand or mortar to fill the cracks.


    Sand-setting is an increasingly preferred method for environmental reasons since it allows rainwater to seep through into the ground.

Sourcing Brick Pavers

Because brick pavers are a very heavy building material, they are generally molded and fired at local brickyards rather than manufactured and shipped long distances. There are no nationally-recognized brands for brick pavers, but try to buy from a well-established, reputable local source.

Are Brick Pavers Right for You?

Pavers made from clay brick can be the right choice for you if you like the elegant, classic look of clay bricks and have the budget or DIY skills to properly install them and maintain them every year.