Block paving is still the UK’s most popular driveway surfacing product. Whilst alternative decorative paving products such as pattern imprinted concrete and resin have also gained in popularity, overall, this has had little impact on demand for blocks!
Modern manufacturing methods allow very subtle colour blends to be achieved. The wide variation of block sizes mean a much wider range of patterns are also possible.
More on modern block paving.
Old Style Block Paving Patterns
Herringbone style is the most popular older pattern you will see. Strong bonds are formed by the interlocking of blocks and they are set at either 45 degrees or 90 degrees.
Stretcher bond is the simplest pattern and is also known as ‘half bond’ or ‘running bond’. In this pattern joints are offset by half the width of the block.
Basketweave is more suitable for areas that are not used for cars. Two blocks are laid next to each other vertically, then another two blocks are laid horizontally next to the first two blocks.
Block Paving – Contemporary
To remain competitive the large UK based block paving manufacturers have extended both the range of sized of blocks, colour blends and decorative effects of blocks.
Typical Block Paving sizes are shown in the table below.
Some manufacturers provide ‘mixed set packs‘ which means there may be less wastage as there will be a variety of sizes and less cuts needed. Having different sizes can also provide unique variations and distinct styles. As well as these designs, various features can also be added such as borders, circles and other shapes.
Another block paving manufacturer that have really grown in the UK market are Tobermore. Please the video we made below that provides a brief introduction to one of Tobermore’s Tegula block paving range.
Permeable block paving is also becoming popular especially in urban areas. This type of driveway surface is compliant with Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) regulations. This means that a different kind of sub base is laid and the blocks have gaps between them that allow surface water to drain away.
Block Paving Colours
There are plenty of colour blends to choose from. Colours can either provide a strong contrast against a house or that effortlessly blend in. When thinking about the choice of colours a good starting place is to look at the existing style of your house and colours of any brickwork. It’s also a good idea to look around locally for inspiration to find a colour of block that you like.
Block Paving Prices
Prices vary depending on the type of block, quality of manufacture, region and of quantity needed for an installation. A driveway with standard sized blocks in a simple pattern will cost less than mixed packs of block paving or those that provide a permeable surface.
You will find wide variations on price. Unscrupulous companies/installers may use the cheapest imported low quality blocks and use illegal workers to save on labour costs. At the other end of the spectrum some blocks may price up at around £70-£100 PerSQM (plus labour costs).
Block Paving – Choosing An Installer
As with all driveway surfacing products care should be taken when choosing and installer/contractor.
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- Before getting a quotation make sure you measure up yourself and identify the types of blocks you are interested in. Ensure that you do some homework on the manufacturers of block paving.
- View previous installations. These must be genuine installations carried out by the block paving contractor/installer. It’s also best to view jobs that have been installed at different times. I.E. not only looking at recent installations…but also installations from some years ago.
- It’s best to agree a ‘scope of works‘ in writing. This needs to specify depths of excavation for the preparation of sub base, type of sub base material, specify drainage (if any) and details of the type of block (including manufacturer) and method of payment (and frequency if paying in stages.)
- Ensure that any adjustments to levels are documented in the ‘scope of works.‘ This needs to include a diagram of surface water drainage and if levels are being adjusted it’s necessary to specify gradients. If any existing drains or manhole covers are being raised or lifted…this needs to be in the ‘scope of works.‘
- Establish what type of machinery will be used on your property during the installation process. It’s common in all sub base preparations that diggers will be used. These range from micro diggers to larger machines. Any operators of such machines need to have the appropriate qualifications to use such machines.
- Ensure appropriate insurances are in place and check with your own insurance company regarding coverage for contractors working on your property.
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