FAQs on Block Paving Driveways
Block paving is an ideal material for creating elegant and durable driveways that increase the kerb appeal of your property. Used in front and back gardens for many years, block paving driveways are popular choices with homeowners.
Block paving is a process where stones or granite blocks are set out in patterns and then filled with cement and water to create a hard surface drive.
Block paved driveways are easily maintained given that these surfaces are sealed they can repel dirt, making them easy to sweep or hose down with a jet washer. If you are considering block paving your driveway, there are some common questions that homeowners ask about these driveways that we will explore.
What is the difference between brick paving and block paving?
Block paving (with interlocking blocks) is different to brick paving (bricks laid down next to one another without mortar) in that block paving requires less maintenance than brick paving because the blocks are laid upon a bed of sand whereas bricks are laid straight onto soil.
Blocks can be laid either on edge (staggering the joints) or flat (with no staggering). The choice between staggered or flat will depend on your aesthetic preference and whether the design is modern or traditional.
What are interlocking paving blocks?
Blocks are usually made of clay, concrete, or sandstone; they are then machined to create a groove that will accept mortar and the adjoining block. They are laid in such a way that ensures that the joints between adjacent blocks don't line up but instead form a pattern. This allows the mortar to expand and contract without dislodging the block or becoming loose between them. It also reduces water penetration by forcing water through tiny gaps in the joints, rather than along the surface of the blocks.
Is block paving suitable for driveways?
Yes, it is. Blocks can be laid onto a firm and stable sub-base (generally with the help of a block adhesive). If this is done, there's no need to provide a separate hardcore base. Blocks alone will be adequate for most applications. More recently, however, manufacturers have introduced systems that include precast concrete slabs designed to be used as the sub-base for block paving.
Is block paving really worth it?
Yes, if you want a low-maintenance, long-lasting surface. The initial cost might not be as cheap as that of tarmac, but it's likely to prove much cheaper over the life cycle of your drive (and will probably look better for longer). Make sure you hire a reputable contractor and get several estimates before getting started.
Is block paving cheaper than slabs?
It might be cheaper if you're starting from scratch and the soil conditions are right, but it's unlikely to prove cheaper than paving slabs once factors such as excavation, groundworks and site preparation costs are taken into account.
What are some of the benefits of block paving?
It's long-lasting, aesthetically attractive and easy to maintain.
What are the main disadvantages of block paving?
Block paved driveways will require upkeep in terms of re-sealing and repairs (although these can usually be done at minimal cost).
How much do I need to dig out for block paving?
Assuming your site is reasonably level, not too shaley and you're laying a straight line of standard blocks, digging out the ground to the depth of 300mm should be enough. You'll need to make sure that it's free from large stones or other obstructions - even where old driveways have already been laid this will usually require some excavation.
Is tarmacing a driveway cheaper than block paving?
Block paving is a cheaper driveway paving option compared to tarmac. It is a great driveway paving option for those on a budget. For block paving driveways, you are looking at anywhere between £20 to £40 per m2 depending on design and specification. For tarmac driveways, you are looking at anywhere from £45 to £60 per m2
Can I lay block paving on grass?
Yes, you can, block paving is one of the most popular driveway paving options for those with grass. Before laying your new driveway make sure the ground is level and free from any obstructions like stones etc.
What are interlocking blocks and are they better than bricks?
Interlocking blocks are much better than bricks for several reasons. First and foremost they are not made from clay meaning they will not warp, crack or discolour when exposed to the elements over time. Secondly, when put together in a block paving pattern they lock into each other which means that you do not need cement to hold them down. They are also much easier to lay than bricks because they do not need to be laid in a diamond formation, just set straight on top of the ground.
How thick should driveways interlocking paving blocks be?
When laying paving blocks you must allow for extra thickness by adding 1 inch per 8 feet of driveway.
How does block paving stay clean? Will it get dirty easily?
Block paving is often very easily swept clean when dry and needs little attention when wet. It dries quickly from rain which means that the surface does not get a chance to be contaminated with dirt and debris, this prevents a build-up of moss and lichen.
How long should a block paving driveway last?
A block paved driveway should last for a minimum of 15 years.
What is considered the best driveway surface?
The surface you choose for your driveway has to be appropriate for the area it is in. It should also stand up to heavy traffic and have no impact on surrounding properties.