If you’re considering redoing your driveway anytime soon, you’re probably in the process of choosing paving stones. It’s a blessing and a curse to have so many options available these days.
On the one hand, it means you’ve got the space to decide what’s most important to you, but on the other hand, you’ve got more room to make the wrong decision and be stuck with it.
Use this handy guide to learn more about choosing paving stones for your driveway.
Types of Pavers
There are two broad categories of paving materials: quarried or composite.
Quarried materials are pavers like slate and granite, which have been dug out of a quarry and shaped into the slabs or pavers you see in your driveway. These are usually more expensive, depending on the material and precision of the cuts.
Composite materials are man-made through a process of mixing and drying materials into certain shapes, like bricks or concrete slabs. These are more uniform and easy to produce and install, so they are typically cheaper.
Quarried or stone pavers include sandstone, gravel, slate, granite, and limestone pavers, to name a few. With so many types, this is one of the most versatile paving options. These pavers range in size, price, look, and luxury.
If you’re considering stone pavers for a driveway, make sure you’re looking for something flat with a natural texture. Rounded stones like cobblestones are slippery when wet, creating unnecessary risk when it’s raining.
Since stone is one of the more expensive types of pavers, it’s important to consider everything before making an expensive commitment. Stone typically changes colour when wet, so make sure you’ve investigated what it will look like in all scenarios.
Gravel is the cheapest stone paving material, but it can be uncomfortable underfoot, and there’s a slight risk of damaging tyres. Granite slabs are excellent for durability and strength, but they are one of the most expensive materials. Sandstone isn’t as strong as granite, but slightly cheaper.
Slate is a visually stunning option, but better for decoration around your driveway rather than the main stone. This is because it’s susceptible to water damage, which means it chips and becomes damaged outdoors. Limestone also has problems with water damage, especially if you experience acid rain.
There are three popular choices for composite pavers: bricks, concrete slabs, or poured concrete.
Concrete pavers or slabs are a great, cheaper alternative to granite slabs. These pavers are strong and durable, but also offer some things stone pavers do not. Since concrete pavers are moulded, you can get pavers in a wider range of textures, colours, sizes, and shapes.
Poured concrete is a bespoke paving option that other paving materials don’t offer. This method of paving is more permanent than the others, so it’s a big commitment. But you can choose the shape, colour, and finish of the concrete, and it’s incredibly strong and durable. This method also easily mimics other paving options, while being a cheap and strong alternative.
Brick, like tiling, is a widely varying decorative option. There are so many different types of bricks that you can find something that looks good in almost any context.
For driveways, you can use alternating brick colours to create a pattern and bring in earthier colours. Brick is one of the most visually appealing composite options, which is why it’s also the most expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing Paving Stones
What options are available other than paving stones?
There are a few other options you could choose from, but these aren’t as common because they don’t work as well as pavers.
Some people create wooden decks that function as their driveway. This isn’t advised since the wood can get damaged and might struggle to support the weight of your car.
Some people don’t have any material in their driveway; they leave the earth exposed or grow a lawn in the space. While this is perhaps more eco-friendly, the weight of the car and foot traffic tends to damage the earth, creating ruts and stamping down all life in that stretch of soil. It’s also visually an eyesore.
Some people prefer to remove the designated driveway altogether. They do this by tarring the area, or laying asphalt, making the parking area look like a continuation of the road. This can backfire though, since it looks like the road is extended, meaning some people might mistake your driveway for a public space.
What is the cheapest paving stone?
Composite materials are typically the cheaper option, with concrete slabs being the cheapest and bricks being the most expensive.
Quarried or stone pavers are typically more expensive, with their cheapest option being gravel and their most expensive being granite slabs.
Choosing Paving Stones for Your Driveway
When you’re choosing paving stones, you’re making a big commitment. Even the cheapest options cost a fair amount of money to purchase and install, so you’re stuck with whatever you choose for at least a few years. Doing the research is a great way to make sure you’re happy with your choice.
Once you’ve made your choice, you can hire one of our expert paving contractors to help you with the installation. You can connect with one through our website.