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Exploring Driveway Installation Options: Costs, Materials & More

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Exploring Driveway Installation Options: Costs, Materials & More

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Key Summary

  • The cost of driveway installation in the UK ranges from £40-100 per sq.m, with gravel and asphalt being the cheapest materials.
  • The right driveway material balances cost, durability, maintenance needs, and aesthetic appeal, with resin and block paving offering high durability and aesthetics.
  • Gravel and asphalt driveways are the easiest to install, and permeable driveways in the UK don’t require planning permission.

How much does it cost to put in a driveway in the UK?

The cost of a driveway installation can vary significantly depending on a range of factors but one of the most critical considerations is the type of material you choose. The average cost of a driveway installation in the UK sits between £40-100 per sq.m. 

We’ve summarised these costs in the following table:

Material Type Cost per sq.m Excavated Material m3
Gravel £40-£60 0.2-0.4
Asphalt £45-£65 0.2-0.4
Concrete £50-£70 0.2-0.4
Resin £60-£80 0.2-0.4
Block Paving £70-£100 0.2-0.4

For a more detailed view of driveway installation cost in the UK, we’ve included the following table that provides an estimate of the total driveway prices based on material type and size:

Driveway Size Gravel Asphalt Concrete Resin Block Paving
20 sq.m £800 £900 £1000 £1200 £1400
40 sq.m £1600 £1800 £2000 £2400 £2800
60 sq.m £2400 £2700 £3000 £3600 £4200

What is the cheapest type of driveway?

When comparing different types of driveways, the cheapest options are typically gravel and asphalt. They are low-cost and relatively easy to install, making them popular choices for many homeowners. 

Although these are a more affordable option, they don’t tend to offer the same level of aesthetics and durability as some of the more expensive options such as block paving, or resin driveways. 

What materials are good for driveways?

Deciding on the right material for your driveway involves balancing factors like cost, durability, maintenance needs, and aesthetic appeal. Here are some of the best options available:

  • Tarmac

Tarmac, also known as bitumen, is an incredibly resilient and cost-effective option, commonly used for driveways due to its ease of installation. With its black finish, this flexible and weather resistant material complements various architectural styles, offering a sleek and seamless look.

Pros: 

  • Cost-effective
  • Highly resilient
  • Easy to install

Cons: 

  • May soften in high temperatures
  • Requires periodic resealing

Price: £

Lifespan: With proper care, tarmac can last around 12-15 years.

  • Gravel

Gravel is often considered the most affordable driveway material. Its range of colours and sizes offers customisation options. Providing a more rustic and charming aesthetic, it can blend naturally into any property. 

Pros: 

  • Most affordable
  • Offers customization in color and size

Cons: 

  • Requires frequent maintenance
  • Prone to shifting and spreading

Price: £

Lifespan: Gravel driveways can last indefinitely with regular upkeep.

  • Block Paving

Block paving, or brick paving, is a decorative method of creating a driveway. It offers a variety of styles, colours, and designs. Block paving can also significantly boost the visual appeal of a property, providing a traditional, high-end finish that suits both modern and period architecture.

Pros: 

  • Highly durable
  • Vast range of designs

Cons: 

  • More expensive
  • Requires more maintenance to keep its aesthetic appeal

Price: £££

Lifespan: Block paving can last over 20 years if well maintained.

  • 4. Asphalt

Asphalt is another popular choice for driveways. It is a durable, low-maintenance option that provides an appealing, smooth surface. Asphalt’s dark, rich colour can enhance your home’s curb appeal, which is important to increase your property value, and complement a variety of property styles.

Pros: 

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Easy to repair

Cons: 

  • Can soften in hot weather
  • May fade over time and require resealing

Price: ££

Lifespan: An asphalt driveway can last 20 years or more with proper maintenance.

5. Resin

Resin driveways are a relatively new addition to the range of driveway materials, but they’re

increasingly popular due to their durability and virtually maintenance-free characteristics. A resin-bound surface can offer a contemporary, clean, and sleek appearance that can significantly enhance a property’s appeal.

Pros: 

  • Highly durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Weather-resistant

Cons: 

  • More expensive than other options

Price: £££

Lifespan: Resin driveways can last upwards of 20 years, making them a long-term investment.

What is the easiest driveway to install?

When considering ease of installation, gravel and asphalt driveways typically top the list. Gravel driveways are especially easy to install, requiring little more than grading the driveway area and spreading the gravel. 

Asphalt, while a bit more labor-intensive, is also relatively straightforward to lay but, it requires a professional for a successful new driveway installation.

How to lay a driveway | Step-by-step process

To provide an idea of what to expect during the driveway installation process, here’s a general step-by-step guide:

Site Preparation

This involves clearing the area, removing any existing driveway materials, and preparing the site for the new driveway.

This preparation comes at a cost. From levelling the ground to building sub-bases, preparation costs can be anywhere from £15 to £20 per square meter.

Excavation

Next, the driveway area is excavated to the required depth.

Installation of Sub-Base

A sub-base is laid to provide a stable foundation for the driveway.

Compacting

The sub-base is compacted to ensure it is stable and level.

Driveway Material Installation

The chosen driveway material is then installed.

Finishing and Sealing

The driveway is then finished and sealed, if required, to protect the material and prolong its lifespan.

Do you need planning permission for a driveway in the UK?

According to the UK’s Planning Portal, you won’t need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving, or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.

If the surface to be covered is more than five square meters, planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best option for a driveway replacement?

Whilst this does depend on your specific needs, gravel and asphalt are affordable options, while block paving or resin driveways offer better aesthetics and durability.

What are the best options for driveway renovation?

Depending on the current state of your driveway, a simple resurfacing may be sufficient. If your driveway is in a state of disarray then you might find a complete replacement may be necessary.

Is there a service for driveway installs near me?

There are numerous professional driveway installation services across the UK. We recommend researching local options and comparing quotes to ensure you get the best value.

Conclusion

When exploring driveway installation options, the cost, material, and process are crucial factors to consider. Whether you’re looking at a basic gravel driveway or a more aesthetically pleasing block paving option, understanding your choices can help you make an informed decision. 

Remember, while the initial driveway installation cost may seem high, the right choice can increase your property’s value and curb appeal.

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