The Installion Cost of Block Paving Your Driveway

All you need to know about installing block paving for your driveway including costs of materials, labour and time frames.

Block Paving

What the job entails

This article is all about driveway costs, specifically block paved driveways and the typical prices you might expect to pay for a professional to make a block paved driveway. There are a huge range of options when it comes to block paving, with many different styles, types, colours and sizes available. The reason most consider having a block driveway installed is the fact that they are generally considered to be more attractive than basic, plain tarmac driveways. On the downside however, they are more expensive than other driveway types at around £50 to £100 per square metre. However, complex patterns and extras such as edging, steps and drainage solutions that may be required can really bump up the overall cost considerably.

When having a driveway installed the first step would normally be to locate all services (gas and water pipes, electric cables and drainage) and ensure digging out the drive will not cause any issues. Then the planning will be considered, if you are diverting rainwater from your property onto the street, then planning permission will be required. Once planning is taken care of, the existing driveway can be dug out and waste material removed. Drainage can then be laid to soakaways. Next the membrane will be put down followed by 150mm hardcore compacted down with whacker, then 40mm of sharp sand. The paving blocks can then be laid and any steps required can be built to front door. Kiln dried sand is sued to fill any gaps and then tarmac is laid to borders with public footpath.

Any other related hard landscaping jobs should be done at the same time as the driveway to reduce overall costs, for example laying any paths or edging, plus of course walls/fencing which work well with a new driveway and finish the job off nicely.

The biggest problems with any driveways are caused by poorly prepared sub-bases, this is the area where cowboy builders cut corners and save money, just putting down a thin layer of hardcore covered with sand. This will result in the paving surfaces sinking in high use areas under the weight of your car, plus the blocks can move laterally opening up gaps which will allow unsightly weed and moss growth as airborne seeds settle into the sand. There are many thousands of people around the UK who thought they were getting a bargain driveway, which certainly looked good when the job was finished and the cash was handed over - only to be left with an unsightly, uneven, overgrown mess just a few months later! You will pay more for a reputable professional builder, but it will be worth it as the job will last.

You can expect to pay more for your new driveway if you need to move any inspection covers or drains. This requires extra time and cost to the job, needing permission from the local council and you might even be required to use one of their approved contractors. The rules regarding drains and manhole covers vary from council to council, so you need to get in touch with them prior to nay work commencing. You will also pay more per square metre if you have a really small driveway, less on larger drives thanks to certain economies of scale. Finally, if you live in London and surrounding areas, expect to pay more than those who live in the North or West of the country due to the higher cost of living impacting on labour costs.

Installion Cost of Block Paving Your Driveway

The average material cost of installing block paving is usually around £50 to £100 per sq metre. Costs can increase depending on the size of your driveway, if your driveway has complex patterns and extras such as edging, steps or drainage. Also if your driveway includes manholes or if you are looking to drop a kerb then the cost will also increase.

The average driveway specialist will usually charge around £150 to £200 per day, although labourers will often work in teams and labour costs will be factored into the overall price. A typical driveway is expected to take around 4 to 5 days to complete depending on the size of the driveway. A brief insight of the job, labourers will need to remove the existing contents of your driveway, prepare the foundations of your driveway, put matting down to stop weeds then place block paving.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a paving specialist to install a block paving driveway:

Driveway Size Description Avg. Cost Duration
Small Space for 1 car £3500 4-5 days
Medium Space for 2 cars £4500 5-6 days
Large Space for 3-4 cars £6000 7-8 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs of block paving a small driveway - Total Cost: £3500

25%

Materials
£875

70%

Tradesmen
£2450

5%

Waste Removal
£175

FAQ's

Times will of course vary depending on the size of the drive and the number of workers on the team. But on average expect a typical driveway to take around 4 days with a small team working. If you have a large drive and/or one which has lots of curves, then expect the job to take longer. The time will also vary depending on the weather, concrete cannot be laid if the temperatures are too cold (or too hot though this is not a big UK problem).
Quotes from block paving contractors tend to average around £4500, this figure includes VAT.
You should be able to walk on the drive after an hour or so following installation, but vehicles should not be parked on the new surface for 24 hours, or at least until the next day.
There are several methods of dealing with drainage problems including open gullies, slotted drains, French drains and the more modern plastic drainage systems. The paving company will have their surveyor investigate drainage methods and choose the correct type for your installation, but this should be checked with the local authority beforehand as planning permission may be required and it may well be the case that they will have their own preferred methods of dealing with any drainage issues which may or may not agree with the paving company recommendations!
Edgings are available in various materials, designs and colours. They are most commonly used for soil or grass retention on the driveway borders. A good quality decorative edging can also offer a neat appearance and sharp finish to any surface. In addition, they can help to give the drive integrity and prevent any outward movement. You should check with the paving contractor to see what edgings, if any, are included in the quote. But generally it is well worth spending the extra money to fit edging kerbs.
Only minimal maintenance in the form of a once yearly pressure wash is normally required. However, any oil stains or spills should be cleaned professionally asap to prevent permanent stains. Weed growth on block paving does not come from below the block but from surface seeding caused by airborne seeds becoming lodged into any small gaps in the paving. This can be minimized by spraying with a weed killer twice a year and keeping the surface well sealed.