If you want to end up with attractive and practical driveway paving, you should choose block pavers as an alternative to solid concrete or paving slabs.
Essentially, a block paving driveway or footpath surface is made from block or brick pavers, slightly larger than normal household building bricks. They might look great but how do pavers compare with common driveway surfaces such as unbroken concrete?
Well, the cost of block paving a driveway in the UK lies between £2500 to £5000, assuming you want a typical medium–sized driveway of 70m2 and use concrete pavers of between £20 to £65/m2. This is the cheapest material compared to clay (£70 to £100/m2) or natural stone (£50 to £110/m2) pavers.
But, why is it a good idea to use pavers for your driveway? First and foremost, they look good and will enhance your property if you decide to sell. Next, if a block splits or stains, it’s a relatively easy job to remove it and replace with a new one. Lastly, they are very durable and with proper care, can last for up to 25 years.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, stay with us and we’ll delve into these facts and figures a bit deeper.
Block Paving Prices
Let’s have a look at the cost of a basic small block paving driveway that fits 1 or 2 cars, a medium driveway to fit 3 or 4 cars, and a large driveway to hold 4 cars.
|Small driveway 40m2.||4 to 5 days||Concrete||£800 to £2500|
|Clay||£2500 to £4000|
|Stone||£2000 to £4500|
|Medium driveway 70m2||5 to 6 days||Concrete||£1500 to £4500|
|Clay||£5000 to £7000|
|Stone||£3500 to £8000|
|Large driveway 100m2||7 to 8 days||Concrete||£2000 to £6000|
|Clay||£7000 to £10000|
|Stone||£5000 to £11000|
Block paving cost factors
Of course, laying a driveway isn’t just about putting a few blocks onto the ground. If you want it to last, do it properly. You must have a firm and durable foundation for the pavers so nothing collapses. This means some excavation. So, hire a couple of skips for the excess soil. Also, you must take into account if there’s a slope to the ground and if you need to add drainage for the surface water. Any good groundworker knows how to overcome these problems, so leave it to them. A good foundation needs hardcore and sharp sand. And, to make a good job where it’s visible your driveway needs kiln-dried sand between the blocks, and block paving edging around the perimeter.
On your driveway, sand isn’t only used as part of the foundation. It’s also brushed into the joints to prevent the blocks from moving around and abrading against each other.
Finally, the cost will vary depending on whether you have a plain surface or if you have different coloured and textured blocks made into a pattern. This is a skilled job to make it look good so choose an experienced block paving installer who knows what to do.
Square Metre Pricing
Rather than pricing the work in terms of the number of blocks or bricks, a professional installer will measure the area to be covered and then give you an estimate to cover a specific area. Don’t expect the professional to order the exact number of pavers required for the area. They will always order about 10% to 15% more than needed to allow for any damaged blocks that might occur while cutting to fit. This means that you’ll probably have a pile of blocks left over at the end of the job. But, it’ll be worth it.
While we’re considering the amount of materials to order. Remember that usually, the person who orders the material will receive a discount from the supplier if they order large amounts. This is standard practice in the building trade. And, it allows the tradesman to either pass on the saving to you or keep as a perk of the job. Most professionals will pass on at least some of the discount as a way of keeping the customer happy.
It might be worthwhile to order enough materials for garden paths or a patio to take advantage of the savings. You’ll probably find that the professional will be more than happy to give you quotes for this extra work too.
Let’s assume that the average cost of block paving including VAT is around £100/m2 for an area of up to 40m2. If you then buy enough pavers to cover from 40m2 to 70m2 you’ll pay approximately £85/m2 incl VAT. Finally, if you want enough to cover over 100m2 you’ll probably spend about £75/m2. This is only an example. But, you can see how easily you can make savings when you buy in bulk.
Paving Bricks & Blocks
Paving bricks and blocks come in a variety of materials to suit the customer’s tastes. They come in many different colours, textures, sizes, and shapes and are often suited to different purposes. Many driveway designers choose to use different colours, sizes, and shapes in their design work. However, if the surface is a large unbroken area it’s often better to use the same colour and size blocks. This is known as monoblock paving and can be very impressive if used on a large driveway. Furthermore, if all the blocks are the same, then it’s easy to calculate enough blocks for the area to be covered.
Concrete blocks are generally the cheapest and most commonly used of the different types. Not only do they come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colours. But, they are easily laid by the amateur. Furthermore, they’re very slip–resistant in icy and wet weather. And, if they become stained by oil or another chemical, they’re often easy to clean.
However, with age, the colour will fade and they will look shabby. Also, they aren’t as durable as stone or clay. And, you’ll find that the corners and edges might crumble if they aren’t protected in some way. Edging stones are good for this purpose.
Because you can use many different block sizes within your driveway, it’s difficult to calculate how many bricks per square metre you need. Also, depending on the size, colour and pattern, the price of these bricks will be between £10 and £100/m2.
These are very popular in the UK as their colour doesn’t fade. Furthermore, they’re very hardwearing and durable. And, need very little maintenance. They are also much safer than stone as they are naturally non-slip.
However, these aren’t suited for the average amateur DIY enthusiast as they are very difficult to cut and shape to fit into non-standard gaps. Also, you’ll find that the ‘made to order’ shapes and sizes of concrete aren’t available with clay. You’ll probably find a very limited range of available shapes.
Be aware that when repairing or replacing patches in block driveways, you should use the same material. You might decide to use concrete pavers in an area of clay pavers of the same colour, as a replacement. But, after a while, the concrete will fade while the clay will still be the same colour as when it was made. You’ll then have a very interesting two–tone block driveway that will look very odd.
Because clay blocks are so much more superior than concrete, you must expect to pay more too. The average price range will be between £20 to £30/m2
Natural stone, unlike concrete, isn’t cast into different shapes. Instead, the blocks must be worked into the required shapes by a trained and qualified tradesman. This material isn’t easy to use and lay so if you’re a DIY driveway installer, don’t even try. And, stay away from those who offer a quick and cut-price service. This material gives you a classy driveway, so use a person with stone masonry skills.
Natural stone has many advantages:
- It has a highly durable surface (after all, stone lasts for millions of years!).
- Natural stone looks like a quality job and will look like that for years.
- Each block is strong and self–contained so they won’t need edging stones.
- Stone always blends into the surroundings, especially if you use the natural stone of the area.
- There are many different styles to match the natural stone of your area. Sandstone, granite, limestone, marble, cobbles and flint are just a few of those available.
They have some disadvantages too.
- Natural stone becomes slippery and easily becomes covered in moss after a while.
- Difficult to make patterns and images.
- They are difficult to produce a stylish finish if you aren’t a professional.
- To prevent a slippery surface, lay smaller stones among the larger ones for more grip.
The cost of natural stone varies depending on the type of stone you want and can be very expensive. Generally, you will find that the cost starts at £30/m2.
Although at first, you might think that reconstituted stone dust is the same as concrete. You would be wrong. Concrete contains sand, and gravel from many different stone types. Furthermore, it doesn’t even look like stone. Whereas, reconstituted stone uses sand and gravel from a single type of rock. It doesn’t have any air pockets and has a very fine–grained structure. Therefore, reconstituted stone attempts to look like real rock, but with the added advantage of being easy to mould and cut. It is sometimes known as cast stone because each block comes out of a specially made mould.
As with natural stone, the cast stone contains mineral particles of varying colours. This means that unlike dyed concrete blocks, each cast stone block will have a unique overall colour. When these have been laid, the overall effect will be one of random and complementing colour. Unlike natural stone, you can buy products moulded to be cornerstones, capstones, edging and many more purpose–made shapes.
On average the cost of reconstituted stone starts at £50/m2.
Paver Patterns & Designs
The different patterns and designs you can choose for your driveway will depend on the type and colour of the pavers. The easiest patterns use the shape and size of the paver blocks to create geometrical shapes or random patterns. Some of the best designs are also the simplest. And, you’ll find that some designs will work with driveways but not with patios. And, vice versa.
Let’s look at some of the most common.
- ‘Herringbone’ is probably the most common and also one of the simplest. It involves laying the blocks into a ‘zig-zag’ or ‘V’ shape. You can have the whole area as a single colour. Or, use alternating and contrasting colours to highlight the pattern.
- Another common pattern is ‘Stretcher’. This involves laying the blocks so the joints along the long edge are in line, while the joints on the short edge are staggered. A good way to imagine this image is to think of the usual way bricklayers build a wall.
- The ‘Basketweave’ isn’t as common as the others, but when done properly can be very effective. Place two blocks next to each other facing the same way. Then place the next two blocks perpendicular to these. The following pair is then placed like the first pair. And so on. If you look at the finished design, you’ll see that it looks like a simple basket weave.
As we mentioned earlier, you need more than just pavers to build a driveway. And, you need to pay for the labour as well as extra materials. Let’s look at the costs involved with these.
- Edging stones provide a frame around your pavers and depending on which kind of pavers you use, can also protect the edges and corners. Typically, the cost to buy edging pavers is similar to that of ordinary pavers. But, the labour will be about half. So for typical concrete pavers, the labour will be about £10/m2. While edging, will cost about £5/m2.
- The foundations or sub-base for the driveway include hardcore, sand and concrete. Labour charges to build a base of about 100mm to 300mm deep will cost between £15 to £30/m2. Whereas materials will be about £150/m2 for sharp sand, and £75/m2 for kiln dried sand.
- Excavation and removal of the soil before laying the foundations will be about £10/m2, plus the cost to hire 3 skips which will be about £450.
Driveway Planning Permission & Building Regulation
The regulations covering block paving aren’t very complicated and can be summarised in just a few short sentences.
Pavers must comply with the British Standards regarding size, durability, water absorption, composition and breaking load. So, concrete pavers must comply with BS EN 1338:2003. While clay pavers must comply with BS EN 1344:2013.
Installing an impermeable driveway using pavers increases the surface rainwater run-off. To counter this, the UK Government encourages the population to replace impermeable surfaces with permeable. This is primarily done using the Planning system. So, if you have a permeable driveway surface or it drains into the garden or a soakaway, you won’t need to have planning permission for it.
You won’t usually need Building Regulations for a new driveway. However, you must make sure the alterations don’t make access to your home more difficult than before.
Block Paving Q&A
Is it worth sealing block paving?
You can, as long as the blocks aren’t designed to be permeable. Some block pavers allow water to soak through into the ground below. This prevents flooding on the surface. However, if yours aren’t like this and you think you might have staining from oil, dirt or grease you can seal the surface with a proprietary sealer.
Does block paving add value?
Adding a block paved driveway to your home will increase its value and make it easier to sell. On average a well–built driveway should increase your home’s value by about 10%.
Should you pressure wash block paving?
Yes, you can use a pressure washer. However, there are some conditions. If you do it too often or too aggressively, you might wash away the sand from between the blocks. And, if they are concrete pavers, you might wash away the cement in the concrete, leaving only the aggregate.
What causes block paving to sink?
The most common reason is when there is insufficient support from the sub-base. Over time, and if it hasn’t been constructed properly, voids appear beneath the foundations into which the sub-base sand drops. As the sub-base collapses, so the pavers drop.
Which block paving is best?
This depends on what you are looking for. If you are on a budget then choose the concrete pavers as there is a good range of styles and colours. However, some styles can be quite pricey. And if you’re not careful, the colour will fade from the concrete dye. If you want a reasonable job that looks good, won’t fade and lasts a long time, choose clay. Finally, if money is no object and you want something that looks good in any setting and will blend into the background, choose stone. Preferably the same stone that is common to your area.
How do I stop weeds in block paving?
There are two types of weed to look out for. You can prevent those that grow up from the underlying ground by installing a weed prevention fabric into the sub-base. If you mean those that grow from airborne seeds landing in the block paving joints, you will have to remove those too. Either weed by hand or use a proprietary weed killer. You can also mix 3 parts water and 1 part salt into a spray bottle. Soak the area well and allow it to dry. Then sprinkle dry salt onto the infested areas. This method has the advantage that it’s harmless to pets and children.
Get Block Paving Quotations
A block paving driveway and footpath in your garden will look good and increase the value of your home. So, doesn’t it make sense to have the job done professionally rather than try to do it yourself? If you want to know the cost of block paving for a driveway or footpath, complete the form at the top of the page and you’ll receive 3 or 4 quotes from professionals near you.