Domestic driveways don’t last forever and look rundown after 30-50 years of constant use. So, many UK homeowners look to upgrade their existing driveway or decide to build a new one.
But, you must consider many factors, including the price variation and the different materials with their individual properties.
Suppose we look at a standard concrete surface installation. In that case, the average cost of a new driveway ranges from £60-£100/m2 depending on the quality of installation, driveway area and several other factors.
Considering the amount of use you will have from your new driveway and its installation cost, it can be one of the best investments you can make for your home.
This guide will talk you through choosing a driveway surface and help you decide the best one for your circumstances.
How Much Do New Driveways Cost?*
Driveway prices vary with the construction material and the ground conditions on which you intend to build.
The following table takes four popular driveway sizes ranging from a one-car driveway measuring 12m2, a two-car driveway measuring 25m2, to an extra large 4-5 car driveway measuring 100m2.
The table shows the low and high-end prices for installing five driveway materials.
|Driveway Area||Driveway Type||Cost/m2||Cost|
|Extra Large, 100m2||Gravel||£30-£90/m2||£3,000-£9,000|
*Disclaimer: The cost per metre and other prices shown in this guide are estimated average amounts, correct at the time of writing (September 2022). A qualified groundwork contractor or driveway installation company can advise you on actual prices, which will vary due to several factors. Therefore, complete the form on this page to get precise quotes from qualified and experienced professionals tailored to your unique situation.
Types Of Driveways
Five distinct materials are used in driveway construction, although these can be split into several sub-categories. Each driveway material is different and has advantages and disadvantages.
Depending on your land, its contours and other properties, your selection of materials might be limited to only a few.
For example, you can’t use gravel on ground with a steep gradient, and block paving is challenging to lay onto land with many mounds and depressions.
Therefore, use a professional contractor for advice on what driveway material is suitable for your property before going ahead with the project.
Gravel looks good, and is environmentally friendly due to its natural finish and high permeability for surface water. The material suits rural and urban driveways, covers large areas and is cheap to replace or repair.
However, as you’d expect, gravel scatters and accumulates into heaps during use, eventually escaping the driveway confines.
Therefore, although the material is cheap to buy and install, it requires more maintenance than other materials and might not be the most cost-effective.
- Looks good when newly installed
- Low material cost
- Requires little or no excavation
- Easily maintained
- Environmentally sound
- Permeable to rainwater
- Resistant to slippery ice
- Enhanced security. Gravel is noisy when walked or driven on.
- Needs regular maintenance and raking (monthly) to continue looking good
- Unsuitable for steep gradients as the stones roll and accumulate at the base of the slope
- Usually requires gravel mats to prevent pushing the stones into the underlying ground
- Needs a weed control membrane to prevent vegetation from growing through
Low and high-end prices for a gravel driveway are £30-£100/m2.
Concrete driveways are more durable than most other materials, look natural and can be customised creatively with imprinted patterns, textures and colours.
Therefore, many concrete driveways are unique to their owners.
- Very hard-wearing, lasting around 50 years with very little maintenance
- Relatively fast to install. However, some patterns take time
- Suitable for steep gradients
- More creative design choices than other materials
- Low maintenance costs
- Easily repaired
- Expensive material
- Although suitable for steep gradients, concrete needs skilful installation on these surfaces
- Liable to crack or flake after 30 years or during low temperatures
- Non-porous surface, so it needs drainage to manage flood water
Low and high-end prices for a concrete driveway are £60-£100/m2.
Made from a mixture of stone aggregate and resin, a resin driveway has a modern appearance with many good qualities.
- Resin-bonded surface – Initially, spread the resin onto the driveway subsurface, followed by aggregate. Then, a roller pushes the aggregate into the resin, forming a bonded layer.
- Resin-bound surface – Mix the resin and aggregate before application onto the driveway subsurface. Then, roll the mixture into a smooth layer.
Resin-bonded surfaces are non-porous, unlike resin-bound surfaces, which allow surface water drainage through tiny gaps between the stones.
- Looks similar to gravel but without the associated scatter
- Many different colours and styles
- Resin-bound surfaces allow surface water drainage
- Copes well with steep gradients
- Good grip during icy weather
- Expensive choice for large areas
- Using cheap resin, the overall quality can suffer
- Lifespan of about 20 years, after which, the surface can peel and crack
- Difficult to match the surface when repairing patches or cracks
- Resin-bound surfaces are susceptible to severe frost
Low and high-end prices for a resin driveway are £50-£85/m2.
Tarmac is a brand name abbreviated from Tarmacadam and consists of aggregate mixed with tar, so it’s naturally black. But, various pigments produce coloured surfaces.
Tarmac is one of the cheapest driveway materials. It’s hard-wearing and easy to apply by skilled contractors using the correct equipment. To keep its appearance, maintain the material about every five years.
- Easy installation
- Use on level ground or slight gradients
- Looks impressive when done professionally
- Easy to cover large driveways without noticeable joints
- Unsuitable for steep gradients
- Dirty and messy installation process
- Application method isn’t environmentally friendly
- Impermeable to surface water
- Requires maintenance every five years
- Can suffer severe damage after ten years
Low and high-end prices for a tarmac driveway are £45-£65/m2.
This driveway’s appearance is classic and traditional. It’s easy to maintain and allows for highly creative designs.
However, because the surface consists of hand-laid blocks, it’s a time-consuming job, and quality blocks are expensive.
Furthermore, the operation needs only a couple of contractors and a cement mixer without other specialist equipment.
- Provides an attractive, quality finish
- Doesn’t require specialist equipment
- Provides a unique design for your driveway, as each one is handmade
- Environmentally sound
- Provides good surface water drainage
- Easy to repair blocks. Just lift and replace the broken one.
- Time-consuming and costly work
- Only use skilled contractors as the work is meticulous, precise and slow
- Requires a weed barrier in the sub-surface. Even so, airborne plant seeds often root between the blocks.
- Individual blocks can crack if the sub-surface subsides
- Although unlikely, it might be challenging to find matching replacement blocks.
Low and high-end prices for a block paving driveway are £85-£170/m2.
A dropped curb is essential in all driveways. It provides a smooth transition from the driveway onto the road, where the access traverses a public pavement.
If upgrading an existing driveway, you probably already have a dropped curb. However, you must have local council planning approval before work begins on a new driveway.
In the UK, many utility suppliers bury their services below public pavements. So, you’ll probably have utilities beneath the pavement outside your property.
Therefore, council-approved contractors must strengthen pavements at dropped curbs to support a vehicle’s weight and prevent collapse.
Depending on where you live, your local council might have one of two dropped-curb policies:
- The council organises and does the work using approved contractors and sends you an invoice.
- You choose from a list of council-approved contractors and employ them directly.
Contact your council for advice on their policy and how to submit plans for the dropped curb.
They’ll also advise you on the expected cost, but it’ll be approximately £300-£600 depending on the depth lowered and the width of the driveway.
Driveway Price Factors
The cost of installing a new driveway varies depending on several factors you must consider when planning.
Large driveways will cost more than smaller ones. But, larger driveways have a smaller cost per square metre. Therefore, a 12m2 driveway will cost slightly more per square metre than a 100m2 driveway.
For example, considering a gravel driveway, a 12m2 area costs £40-£100/m2. In comparison, a 100m2 area costs £30-£90/m2.
The cost to buy and install different materials will alter the overall cost. The previous table shows the price variation of several materials.
The material type also affects whether you need additional drainage or whether the surface is porous. For example, prices vary from £30/m2 for low-end gravel to £100/m2 for high-end concrete.
The excavation depth for your new driveway depends on the new driveway’s material and the ground’s condition.
All new driveways must have a firm, stable sub-base to prevent subsidence and subsequent surface cracking. Therefore, excavate the topsoil and provide a properly constructed sub-base using hardcore and aggregate.
But if there’s already a driveway, you might be in luck. For example:
- All other driveway materials can support gravel mats and grids.
- Existing tarmac or concrete support resin driveways.
- Paving will need a new excavation with hardcore and aggregate sub-base.
- Concrete surfaces support tarmac.
- Tarmac surfaces support concrete.
Typical groundwork and excavation costs range from £15-£25/m2 plus materials.
Furthermore, removing an existing driveway costs £500-£2,000 depending on the material and size of the driveway.
If you decide to excavate and remove the existing driveway and ground beneath, you require waste skips to carry the soil away.
The skip hire costs depend on:
- Where you live
- Skip size
- Duration of hire
- Mixed or single material load
- Whether your skip needs a public road permit
- Council landfill charges
The skip hire company will advise you on the best size for your project and the hire cost.
The following table shows typical skip hire prices. These costs are approximate and vary depending on the factors outlined above.
|Skip Size||Rental Price + VAT|
|2-3m3 Mini||From £60|
The building regulations state in Approved Document M that a new driveway must not increase accessibility problems when entering or leaving the house. Therefore, it needs additional work, such as ramps from the front door to the driveway.
Furthermore, moving a pram or wheelchair on gravel is challenging, so you should provide an alternative hard-surfaced route from the public pavement to the front door, bypassing the soft gravel.
Additional Driveway Cost Considerations
There are several jobs that you should consider when constructing a new driveway.
Weed membranes prevent unwanted vegetation from growing through from below. To install a membrane costs £30-£50/m2.
For added security, install a driveway gate. Its price depends on the width, height, and material used.
Typically, for a wooden gate, expect £800-£1,100, and a metal gate costs £300-£500. In contrast, an electric gate is £1,500-£1,700.
It’s essential to have evenly graded prepared ground without tree roots before beginning.
After construction, you might want landscaping in preparation for garden planting. Typical groundwork costs £15-£20/m2.
Install security lighting to reassure your family. A motion-sensitive security light costs £150-£250.
Consider future maintenance costs when deciding on the material, as it’s essential to keep your new driveway looking good:
- Tarmac sealing costs £8-£15/m2.
- Concrete driveway sealant costs £5-£8/L.
- Block paving sealant costs £5-£7/m2.
- Gravel rakes keep the surface looking neat and cost £30-£50 for a good quality rake.
- Resin driveways need de-icing in the winter. Typically, de-icing salt costs around £1/kg.
UK Planning Permission & Building Regs
All driveways must comply with the local authority’s planning and building regulations.
- Usually, driveways don’t come under the planning permission rules if they comply with the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) regulations. The SuDS rules manage flood and pollution risks caused by urban runoff. Therefore, porous surfaces, such as gravel and resin-bound surfaces, allow surface water to drain naturally into the ground. In contrast, non-porous surfaces such as concrete, tarmac, and resin-bonded surface over 5m2 must have additional drainage and planning permission.
- You might need planning permission if you intend to add or alter fences, walls, gates, or a dropped curb. Only council-approved contractors can drop curbs as the pavement requires strengthening due to buried utilities.
- Generally, a driveway doesn’t need building regulations other than ensuring the finished project doesn’t make access more difficult than before (see Approved Document M).
Hiring A Driveway Contractor
Driveway projects often suffer from rogue contractors. Therefore:
- Ensure contractors have the necessary qualifications and experience.
- They belong to the Competent Person Register.
- Follow-up references for previous local driveway work.
- Check the company has Public Liability Insurance.
- Do they belong to relevant trade associations?
Look out for membership of:
- Constructionline – This organisation promotes quality products among construction material suppliers and contractors. One of its spin-offs, Acclaim Accreditation, enables health and safety practices and accredits more than 3,000 organisations and companies.
- The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) is the leading UK association for landscaping professionals. Generally, they promote good practice and have a professional code of conduct to which all members subscribe.
- The British Aggregates Association (BAA) – This trade association assists independent quarry operators, essential suppliers and associated contractors in the UK.
- The Resin Flooring Association (FeFRA) – FeFRA represents manufacturers, resin surfacing contractors, and raw material suppliers
Reputable driveway installation companies provide reassurance for their customers by providing guarantees against:
- Extreme weather damage
- Surface degradation and pigment colour change
- Solvent damage
- Cracked resin
- Cracks and crumbling
- Work quality
Ask for quotations from at least three companies for similar specification work. Then, the quote should:
- Be on company paper
- Itemise the work
- List all materials and their specifications
- State the price
Typically, the charge for a typical driveway is between £30-£170/m2, depending on the driveway material and size.
How Long Does Driveway Installation Take?
The time it takes to construct a driveway depends on various factors such as:
- Volume of excavated soil – Some materials, like concrete, needs an excavation much deeper than the concrete thickness, whereas gravel only needs stable ground.
- Other preparation – Vegetation removal, concrete shuttering, edging stones, hardcore base, drainage.
- Setting/drying time – Gravel driveways don’t require setting or drying. In contrast, the other surface types do.
- Ancillary work – Altering or installing fences, gates, weed membranes, security lights, dropped curbs, and access ramps.
- Number of workers – Manpower has a significant effect on duration.
- Machines – Using mechanical excavators and ready-mix concrete significantly reduces duration.
|Driveway Area||Driveway Type||Estimated Construction Time||Estimated Curing Time|
|Small, 12m2||Gravel||1-2 days||N/A|
|Concrete||2 days||3-4 days|
|Resin||2 days||1-2 days|
|Tarmac||2 days||2 days|
|Block Paving||3-4 days||N/A|
|Medium, 25m2||Gravel||2-3 days||N/A|
|Concrete||2-4 days||3-4 days|
|Resin||3-4 days||1-2 days|
|Tarmac||3-5 days||2 days|
|Block Paving||3-7 days||N/A|
|Large, 50m2||Gravel||4-6 days||N/A|
|Concrete||3-5 days||3-4 days|
|Resin||3-5 days||2-3 days|
|Tarmac||3-5 days||2-3 days|
|Block Paving||6-10 days||N/A|
|Extra Large, 100m2||Gravel||4-10 days||N/A|
|Concrete||4-10 days||3-4 days|
|Resin||3-10 days||1-2 days|
|Tarmac||4-8 days||2-3 days|
|Block Paving||7-15 days||N/A|
Note: The durations shown above are based on ideal weather conditions. Ambient humidity, temperature, and the composition of the material will affect setting times.
What is the cheapest option for a driveway?
The cheapest option for your new driveway is to use gravel at about £30-£100m2. However, this assumes the ground isn’t too steep and all other factors are in its favour.
Then the next cheapest option is tarmac at £45-£65/m2. However, you must ensure this driveway complies with the SuDS regulations.
Is it worth putting in a new driveway?
A new driveway adds value to your property. Many estate agents agree that a driveway can add 5%-10% to its value.
Furthermore, a driveway is essential if you live in one of the millions of homes that:
- Don’t have a garage
- Have more than one car in the family
- Have problems finding road parking
What type of driveway adds most value?
This answer depends on what the prospective buyer most values.
If it’s a hard-wearing and durable surface lasting for decades, then a concrete driveway beats all others. However, if it’s for appearance, a block paving driveway wins because of the infinite variety of available patterns and designs.
But, other surfaces have advantages and disadvantages, affecting how people value the surface. So, we recommend choosing a driveway you can afford and like looking at.
Constructing a new driveway or upgrading an existing one is a worthwhile home improvement project that adds value to your property. However, to build a durable and long-lasting driveway, you must have it built by qualified contractors. Therefore, complete the form on this page, and you’ll receive up to four different driveway quotes you can compare at home with no hard sell.