Block paving on a driveway or patio will look stunning

Block paving – get a FREE quote and site survey from one of our experts today

MD Paving has an excellent reputation for installing block paving in the Leeds, Wetherby and Harrogate areas.

If you want to add character to your home and develop an outdoor space, come to Yorkshire’s paving experts.

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 Driveway of block paving

Known for perfect paving

Block paving choices used to be limited. It was either clay bricks or concrete blocks – and only slight colour variations. The market has since grown and technology in manufacturing means there’s now over 1000 types of block paving on offer.

How to choose paving

Where do you start? Choosing the right blocks for your driveway, path or patio project is daunting. But not if you ask MD Paving for an initial free site survey and quote. We’ll help you choose the right block style, design and layout.

If you’ve seen a block that you think works for your project, ask us for a sample. Seeing block paving in person, is a far better way to choose your drive or patio, than from photographs.

Concrete or clay?

There are pros and cons for both types, read on to find out more.

Concrete – These are cheaper and there are lots to choose from in varying texture, colours and sizes. Their life expectancy is approximately 20 years, depending where they are used. For example, on a driveway with heavy traffic, or a patio with lighter usage. The colour of concrete blocks will fade over time with the aggregate showing through.

Clay – These are more expensive, but hard wearing. The natural colour of clay block paving will not fade. Patterned paving blocks are also available, they are mainly rectangular but sometimes square.

Where is it from?

In the last 10 years, block paving imported from South America, Asia and Africa has become popular in the UK.

Another fashionable paving product is natural stone. These are dimensionally accurate and laid the same way as clay, or concrete pavers.

Next choose the colour and shape of your blocks. There’s no set guide, but it’s good to consider your environment and surroundings and how your choice works with the style, age and colour of your property.

Multicoloured or monotone?

A monotone block is defined by a uniform or single colour. It may be charcoal or reddish brown. You’ll find the monotone sharp and pure, but unfortunately, will show up every little stain.

A multi-coloured block is one with more than one colour. It incorporates a few colours or varying amounts of colour within each block. They also mix and blend with what’s around them. 

It’s important to know the difference when choosing.

So why use monotone blocks if they show up stains? It’s because they look good on a larger area and also help to emphasise the overall pattern.

Choosing which shape

We Brits traditionally choose rectangular blocks. Whereas our European counterparts prefer something a bit more distinctive, shaped and interlocking.

That said, rectangular blocks are easier to produce and package. It makes them easier for shipping and therefore less expensive.

But the most important thing is to make sure you’ll be happy with the finished look. It’s something you’ll have for a long time if looked after properly.

Planning your blocks

There are specific rules depending where you live which householders need to apply in order to use paving on their driveways and front gardens.

You are not be required to obtain planning permission if you choose porous or permeable surfacing. These surfaces (such as permeable concrete, gravel and porous asphalt) allow rainwater to drain through properly. There may also be natural drainage which directs the water to a lawn or border.

However, if you want to cover your property with more than five square metres of an impermeable, traditional driveway, then planning permission must be obtained. This is because there is nowhere for the water to run into and drain away to a permeable area.

Selecting your colours

When selecting colours, make allowances for tonal variations which appear in natural stone and manufactured products. It’s recommended you judge the stone from actual materials and not through a brochure or online. We’ll bring along samples when we visit your property for a site survey.

Composite stone products weather the same way as natural stone, dependent on the effect and exposure of the elements.

Paving is designed to show tonal variations, whether natural stone or manufactured. After laying, some natural products may show a colouration when the iron content within oxidises.

How much will it cost?

The cost always depends on the materials and the size of the area in question. We offer a free, no-obligation quote.

Apart form the materials, a big part of the cost is for laying foundations, these help support any heavy vehicles and make sure the area covered will be secure for a long time.

Other considerations include labour, skip hire, a mini digger, weed mat underlay, hardcore base (either gravel or stone) and a compaction plate.

Preparing your driveway

Before starting any work, it is important to have a plan in place. With most projects, we supply a construction drawing in advance for you to approve the proposed layout and dimensions. The layout plan is a useful tool in addition to the project specification and materials quantities.

The area is marked out in advance, we allow roughly 300mm over each edge, this allows the installation of kerbs and edges. Plus it makes handling of materials much easier for a better finish. We mark out the lines using either string or a spray marker. It’s also essential to locate the exact location of any gas or water pipes; and electric or internet cables – before any excavation takes place.

Preparing the sub-base

Sub-base material is spread level and compacted into a thick layer. It’s graded or profiled to be accurate. Any voids that appear are filled with grit sand or stone dust and then carefully compacted before the course is laid. We recommend using a membrane between sub-base and sub-grade to prevent the stone elements going into the clay.

Edgings for your driveway

Edgings give a tidy and neat finish and act as a restraining edge when installed, so the blocks don’t have to be laid on concrete.

Compaction and jointing

One of the final tasks of the project. Jointing sand which is kiln-dried is spread onto the block driveway surface and pushed into the joints using a large soft brush.

The paving is then compacted, using a plate compactor which vibrates on contact. About five passes are made on each of the paving sections, changing passes at 90 degrees to the previous one.

With some of the more decorative concrete blocks and clay blocks, a cushioning mat made from neoprene is fastened to the base of the compactor plate. This prevents damage on the brick edges.

Finishing touches.

To guarantee your block paving looks amazing, we fix recess trays and gully covers. This makes a difference to the overall visual effect of the driveway when they’re covered in the same material. It’s a more attractive solution to the alternative steel or cast iron options.

Drainage channels come in both dished and linear options and are designed with channels in place, to stop excess surface water running onto your property.

Even your doorstep is matched and adapted to your new drive. Also consider replacing any old grass verges with decorative, attractive gravel edges.

Regular aftercare

When maintaining and cleaning, use sealants to protect the porous stone. Stone gets soiled with dirt or stained from water-based products and oil and even algae/moss growth.

Regular maintenance keeps the appearance of the paving in lovely condition. Washing your paved areas thoroughly with soapy water, then brushing to get all the excess liquid off. This should be done three or four times a year.

High-pressure washers are not advisable, nor should common salt be used to de-ice as both these methods damage the surface area.

Weeds are a problem. Areas with vehicle or foot traffic restrict the weeds from popping up, but other areas may see a problem over time. Brushing on a regular basis takes care of most invaders, but treat the weeds with a weed killer solution. Before treating an area, remove the larger weeds by hand before applying the solution.

Calculator vs expert

Some websites offer a block paving calculator, but they don’t always work as they can’t take every detail into consideration. Best bet is to ask MD Paving for a free, no-obligation quote and site survey. You won’t regret it.