If you own a driveway, choosing the right type of material is crucial. From installation to maintenance ease and kerb appeal, the material can impact costs and the value it can add to your home.
Here are the various driveway options in the UK:
1. Concrete Driveways
Concrete is the most popular type of driveway option in the UK. This material is seamless to maintain and extremely hard wearing.
You can generally expect concrete driveways to last for decades, even if the surface requires regular resealing. Due to porosity, it is also recommended to clean oil spills as soon as possible to prevent staining.
From an aesthetic standpoint, concrete driveways are versatile and pleasing. A natural grey colour provides the property with a sleek, professional look.
However, concrete can be dyed with various products or it can be painted on to enhance its appeal and create a statement. Popular colour options include sand, beige, and browns.
- Can last over 30 years when designed and installed correctly
- Very good at controlling temperatures, so it won’t get too hot during summer
- Simple yet sleek look
- Can be stained in a variety of colours
- More affordable compared to other driveway options
- Water runoff can be an issue if not sloped correctly
- Driveway may experience cracking if poorly laid or due to extremely cold temperatures
- Removing eventual oil stains can be expensive and time-consuming if the surface is unsealed
Read more about Concrete Driveway Costs
2. Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt is another popular driveway option, often cheaper and easier to install than concrete. It has a rugged surface and it doesn’t come in a wide assortment of colours, which is why most people still prefer the concrete option.
This material is often mistaken for tarmac, even though there are some key differences between the two.
Besides composition differences, asphalt has a longer curing time of about two days. However, once cured, the material becomes highly weather-resistant, handling both extreme heat and cold beautifully.
Asphalt cracks easier than concrete, but holes and gaps are easy to fill. While it may not have the same aesthetic appeal as concrete, it is one of the most inexpensive driveway types.
- One of the cheapest driveway options
- Very good resistance to extreme weather
- More stain-resistant than concrete
- No colour options unless painted
- Malleability due to heat could leave the driveway sticky during summer months
- Tyre imprints may become visible during very hot weather
3. Gravel Driveways
Gravel driveways are eco-friendly options good for low maintenance landscaping. They are also a DIY-approachable solution, providing a quick and easy installation regardless of your skill level.
Gravel comes in a variety of sizes and colours, making this material a versatile choice too. However, the loose driveway finish could be a nightmare to install on inclines.
Crushed stone and gravel are harder to maintain compared to asphalt or concrete, gathering dust and debris. Weeds could also ruin their neat appearance.
When maintained properly, though, gravel can add kerb appeal to both city homes and countryside properties.
- Very easy to install professionally or on your own
- Versatile driveway option available in various styles and hues
- Excellent drainage
- Driveway can be replenished and repaired with little effort
- Environmentally friendly option
- Unsuitable for sloped driveways
- Requires more maintenance than other driveway materials
- It is not considered a premium material
Read more about Gravel Driveway Costs
4. Brick Driveways
Brick provides one of the most sought-after and durable driveway finishes, this material is often adorning Victorian house gardens and urban driveways.
Colours vary from grey – an excellent choice for a modern driveway – to traditional red, which would suit a cottage scheme.
Durability-wise, brick driveways find themselves in-between concrete and asphalt, with an expected lifespan of about 25 years. The material is hard-wearing, easy to maintain, and it doesn’t stain easily.
However, the non-porous nature could be a downside, as you’ll have to ensure adequate drainage. Installing brick is also more tedious than pouring asphalt or concrete.
- Highly attractive finish
- Easy to repair
- Easy to maintain
- Recyclable material
- Poor drainage
- More difficult to install
- May require constant sealing
- Susceptible to frost heaving
5. Cobblestone Driveways
Like brick, cobblestone is a sought-after driveway material capable of enhancing kerb appeal and giving your exterior a refined look.
Stone setts not only add character with their irregular rounded shapes, but they are also very resistant and have the capacity to hold weight without cracking.
Furthermore, they can withstand extremely cold or hot weather. The material is less porous compared to brick, requiring less sealing.
Cobblestone is available in a bountiful range of shades of grey that can be arranged into an artistic or meaningful pattern. Like brick, stone setts have poor drainage.
Moreover, you should keep a stock of leftover setts to replace any loose stones as soon as possible.
- Wide range of design choices
- Low maintenance
- Ideal choice for high-traffic driveways
- Difficult to install
- Stones can become loose
6. Resin Driveways
This versatile driveway surface solution is becoming more and more popular in recent years. Resin driveways can add aesthetic appeal, are very easy to maintain, and also represent the best material for cold weather you can get.
The compound is hand-trowelled onto a new or existing base; the process isn’t hard, but it is tedious. This is why resin driveways are often more expensive to install compared to other options.
Resin paving is extremely hard-wearing. Due to a required honeycomb pattern, the driveway also drains water efficiently, even on depressed surfaces.
Depending on the actual product type, resin may also be non-toxic and have a minimal environmental impact.
- Wide range of colours and finishes
- Very easy to maintain
- Good drainage
- Made of natural and sustainable materials
- Prone to staining
- Weeds and grass growth could become visible
- Colours may fade with time
Read more about Resin Driveway Costs
7. Tarmac Driveways
Tarmac is another popular driveway material that could seem the same as asphalt to the untrained eye. However, tarmac is a mixture of stone and tar that cures faster than asphalt – typically in hours rather than days.
Slight differences are also observed in the finish, with tarmac being rougher and darker in colour.
Tarmac’s main downside is its roughness. The material is more likely to damage tyres and provides a weaker grip than asphalt. It is also more prone to staining.
Similar to asphalt, tarmac isn’t the most environmentally friendly material. However, it provides a neat surface with little effort.
- Slightly cheaper than asphalt
- Durable, relatively smooth surface
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Algae and moss can create a dangerous slippery surface in shaded areas
- Grass and weeds tend to grow through tarmac
- Can get really hot in summer
Read more about Tarmac Driveway Costs
8. Tar & Chip Driveways
Tar and chip driveways are very similar to tarmac, but they can contain chunkier stone pieces. Thus, their surface is often rougher.
This material also differs from both asphalt and tarmac because it contains petroleum-based liquid and aggregate applied in separate layers rather than mixed together.
Tar and chip isn’t the most common choice for residential driveways, but it’s a popular option for areas that need lots of traction. It is also one of the cheapest driveway options.
Unlike tarmac and asphalt, though, it requires a higher level of upkeep.
These driveways are often more difficult to install due to their layered nature. However, they can resist for decades if laid correctly.
- Very cost effective
- Flat, even, and somewhat flexible surface
- Higher traction than asphalt or concrete
- Needs more maintenance and loose stones must be replaced from time to time
- Harder to install than asphalt
- Grass and weeds can grow through
9. Imprinted Concrete Driveways
Far less common than plain concrete but with similar characteristics, imprinted concrete driveways bring a twist to the most popular driveway choice.
One of the main benefits of imprinted pattern concrete is the broad range of styles it provides. This material can replace stone pavers or brick, as it can be shaped and painted to look like these sought-after options.
Customisation options are obviously possible, with popular patterns also including herringbone, cobblestone, and wood planks.
This decorative driveway also offers property owners a durable and extremely strong surface that can hold heavyweights. On the downside, imprinted concrete driveway costs vary widely, depending on driveway shape and design complexity.
- Similar durability to concrete
- Available in more patterns and hues than plain concrete
- Can be personalised to owner’s requirements
- Cheaper than stone pavers or cobblestone
- Excellent resistance to temperatures and elements
- Costs are influenced by design complexity
- Harder to clean than plain concrete driveways
- Requires periodical sealing
- Water runoff can be an issue
10. Block Paving Driveways
Block pavers are some of the most expensive driveway materials, but nothing takes away the fact that they are one of the fanciest options.
This driveway type is so popular because of the wide range of blocks available, incredible amount of patterns that can be achieved, and attractive finish.
Most homeowners also view them as a more modern and sought-after feature compared to brick.
Block pavers are typically made of concrete which, as established, is a durable material. They are also slightly cheaper than brick, even if their colour tends to fade with time.
On the bright side, block pavers come in a variety of shapes and have standardised sizes, giving the driveway a unique yet uniform appearance.
- Homeowners can choose from a wide variety of block shapes and colours
- Using different size pavers enable you to create unique designs and patterns
- Finished look is highly aesthetically pleasing
- Can increase your property’s kerb appeal
- Multicolour options can hide stains and dirt
- Block pavers are expensive to buy and install
- This driveway type requires a perfectly level sub-base
- As tedious to install as brick or cobblestone
11. Reinforced Grass Paving Driveways
A home driveway made of grass can add visual appeal, especially in rural areas where asphalt and concrete tend to be an eyesore.
Essentially empty concrete blocks, these pavers are available in a variety of shapes that have one thing in common – they are set over a substrate, then filled with soil and grass seeds, creating a green driveway.
Resin and plastic paver options are also available, although concrete is the most common option.
These pavers provide a durable surface that is almost as strong as asphalt and concrete. Drainage will never be a problem, but the grass will need maintenance.
Weeds can also proliferate and become a problem if the driveway is poorly maintained.
- High visual appeal, especially in rural and suburban areas
- Can become a hidden driveway indistinguishable from the lawn or surrounding natural features
- Ideal for areas prone to flooding
- More environmentally friendly than other driveway types
- Requires constant maintenance
- Could be difficult to walk onto, especially if wearing high heels
- Must be installed over a specific substrate
- Costs can vary depending on paver material and shape
- More expensive to install than other driveways
12. Recycled Glass Driveways
Not to be mistaken with actual glass, recycled glass driveways look like mosaics made of smooth glass pieces and resin.
The choice of materials allows for a wide variety of colour, but what makes it popular is the eco-friendly aspect.
Resin also makes this driveway type incredibly hard-wearing. Due to the smooth, non-porous surface, maintenance is a breeze.
However, recycled glass driveways must be inclined for drainage and aren’t quite as durable as concrete or asphalt.
- Reasonably priced compared to natural stone or brick driveway options
- Eco-friendly driveway
- Niche product can add a unique appearance to your property
- Maintenance is slim to none
- Less durable than asphalt or concrete
- No drainage
- More expensive than concrete
13. Natural Stone Driveways
Natural stone is another eco-friendly choice and one of the longer lasting driveway materials – like clay bricks, it can last for decades.
A clear advantage compared to brick is the array of options. Natural stone slabs and pavers can be made from a variety of materials.
Popular driveway options include sandstone and granite, but limestone, travertine, bluestone, and even marble are other popular choices.
Due to the difference in strength and properties of the various stone products, natural stone driveways can suit high- or low-traffic areas.
Porous options like sandstone or travertine are best suited for low-traffic driveways. Slate and granite are better choices for a high-traffic area.
Another advantage is the type of finishes you can achieve. Moreover, thanks to the unique appearance of each stone piece, you can rest assured this driveway type is unique.
Indian sandstone pavers are one of the most popular natural stone options.
- Versatile design options can suit contemporary or traditional exteriors
- Variety of stone materials and colours
- Natural imperfections enhance the visual appeal and add value
- Most stone materials are porous and drain water effectively
- Good resistance to extreme temperatures
- Environmentally friendly
- One of the most expensive driveway options
- Not all stone types can withstand heavyweights
- Natural stone has higher maintenance requirements than other materials
14. Basalt Driveways
Some may argue basalt is a type of natural rock paver, others may claim it is a type of gravel. In reality, both descriptions are true, and you can install this natural driveway material either as gravel or as pavers.
Regardless of the form, this black sedimentary rock can easily add visual appeal. The natural porosity makes it an excellent choice for areas that need drainage.
Basalt slabs offer good strength and resistance. They also provide a streamlined finish that complements modern exteriors and industrial style gardens.
Crushed basalt is a more appropriate choice for a rustic or traditional exterior. This gravel type can enhance the idyllic look of a countryside cottage.
- Higher slip resistance than concrete or asphalt
- Improves property value
- Available in paver or gravel options
- Excellent drainage
- Resistant to plant growth
- As expensive as natural stone options
- Paver installation requires a lot of preparation
15. Tegula Paving Driveways
One of the most popular aged-look driveway materials in Britain, Tegula pavers are a speciality type of block pavers often used as a cheaper alternative to brick.
These pavers are made of concrete but feature an aged, distressed finish that can easily add appeal. They are also available in various size options for a 1-, 2-, or 3-sized layout.
The 3-sized layout is undoubtedly the most sought-after. Pavers come in mixed packs containing a combination of small, medium, and large slabs. A random layout provides an attractive, weathered pattern.
Tegula paving comes in five attractive shades you can mix and match, or opt for a solid colour for a more modern effect.
- Budget-friendly alternative to brick
- Multiple size and colour options
- Easy to install and create unique layouts
- Good drainage and durability
- Pavers do not interlock, leaving space for weeds and grass to grow
- Typically need more maintenance than other block pavers
- Colours may fade with time
16. Porcelain Paving Driveways
Porcelain paving provides one of the most sought-after types of driveway finishes, but it isn’t the best choice for low budgets.
This is one of the most expensive paving materials. It is also trickier to lay compared to other slabs, since the pavers can crack if installed on an uneven surface.
When laid correctly, however, porcelain driveways blend seamlessly into contemporary spaces. They also resist heavyweight traffic both in the front yard and in the patio.
Due to its low porosity, porcelain paving driveways are frost-proof and also resist high temperatures. They are also easy to clean with plain water and a mop.
- High resistance and durability
- Low to no maintenance
- Wide range of colours, patterns, and textures
- Excellent weather resistance
- Fade-resistant, fireproof, and slip-resistant
- Trickier to lay than natural stone or block pavers
- Hard to cut to dimension or drill
17. Interlocking Paver Driveways
Interlocking pavers are a popular alternative to brick or cobblestone driveways and one of the best driveway materials for DIY installation.
These pavers connect together through the use of sand, and are a suitable choice for any application where bricks or concrete would be used for.
Unlike concrete or asphalt, these pavers don’t require any curing time. They must be laid on a previously-prepared base of concrete and sand, and are ready to drive or walk onto right after setting.
Interlocking pavers are also designed to lock perfectly one against the other. There is little to no room left between them, so fewer chances for weeds to pass through.
Since they are not glued to the substrate, these pavers are also easy to remove and replace whenever you want.
- Fairly easy to install with no adhesive
- Easy to replace a cracked or damaged paver
- A cleaner appearance than other pavers
- Require a perfectly prepared base
- Moss and algae growth can be observed in shaded areas
- Generally more difficult to maintain than concrete
18. Bitumen Driveways
Bitumen is commonly applied onto concrete or asphalt driveways, but it can be successfully installed on its own too, over well compacted ground.
Its main advantage is the low cost compared to other driveway options. Bitumen is also weather-resistant and porous, offering adequate drainage.
Like asphalt, this material is malleable. In other words, it can become tarry and scorching hot when sunny.
Despite its common use in road construction, bitumen isn’t a common option for residential driveways.
- Typically cheaper than asphalt
- Easy to install on level surfaces
- Porous surface offers adequate drainage
- Poor weather resistance compared to asphalt or tarmac
- Can become very hot in summer
- Wears out faster than other materials
19. Crazy Paving Driveways
A popular technique used in many driveways and paths throughout the UK, crazy paving refers to using irregular shaped bricks or stone slabs arranged in random (but fitting) patterns.
Options include natural stone and man-made pavers, the durability and characteristics of the surface depending on the actual material. Costs vary with the material too, manmade options often being cheaper than natural stone.
Due to the variety of shapes, crazy pavers make it easy to achieve a unique look for your driveway. However, they are not as strong as other driveway solutions.
In fact, if not installed correctly, they can deteriorate and become weak. Labour costs can also be higher when installing them.
- Variety of paver materials and colour options
- Ideal for constructing unique driveways
- Some materials offer slip resistance
- Often cheaper to buy than natural stone pavers
- They are generally more expensive to install
- Require proper installation or they deteriorate quickly
- Weaker than other driveway solutions
What is the easiest driveway to maintain?
Concrete and resin driveways are typically the easiest to maintain. Asphalt comes second, while recycled glass and porcelain pavers also need slim to no maintenance.
What type of driveway adds most value?
Paved driveways add the most value to a property. Options vary from everlasting brick to natural stone, cobblestone, or reinforced grass paving.
What is the cheapest type of driveway?
Gravel driveways are the cheapest. They are ideal for DIY installation, but are challenging to clean. Adding more gravel if needed is easy, though.
What is the best type of driveway to have?
Concrete is undeniably the best type of driveway to have. This material is durable, low-maintenance, and affordable.
It can also be used as a base for other driveway types, increasing the resale value of a property.
Choosing the right driveway type can be challenging, but the variety of options can make it easy to find the best solution for each circumstance.
Concrete and asphalt driveways are popular no-frills options for those who want a reliable yet affordable solution.
Block pavers, cobblestone, brick, and natural stone can add charm and increase kerb appeal. Man-made options such as resin or recycled glass provide long-lasting durability. Hopefully, this guide can help you pick the right driveway type for your property.