Best Practices and Tips for Driveway Paving
A driveway creates the first impression about a home, so it is important that it makes a pleasing impression to both occupiers and visitors. It will also have to carry traffic for many years under all sorts of weather conditions, so a professional standard of construction is critical. This article looks at a number of key areas that should be considered by all those who are planning to put in a driveway at their property.
Table of Contents
The first step is planning. As a starting point you should consider vehicle weights, driveway width and proper drainage. Although driveways are mainly used by family vehicles, sometimes heavier vehicles such as removal vans or concreting trucks will also need access. To cope with these rare occasions, make sure that the design considers an appropriate depth of excavation and fit-for-purpose surface materials. Those paving stones you had in mind may look great, but will they handle the weight of a truck? The manufacturer will be able to provide good advice if you are in doubt.
Drainage is also important. The driveway surface should be cambered so that rainwater doesn’t collect on the surface, but is fed into drains along one or both sides of the driveway. If possible, water should flow away from the house towards municipal drainage systems to avoid the potential for localised flooding. Some driveways surfaces are semi-permeable, which can help with water removal.
Site preparation is critical. Firstly, choose an experienced and reputable contractor who can show you examples of their work. For a new house and driveway, excavating the soil to a depth of at least 300mm will be required, depending on the local conditions and final surface. If you can’t use this material on site, it will have to be taken away to be used elsewhere as clean fill. Calculate the volume of soil to be excavated and make allowances for the cost of disposal.
Provision for Driveway walkway
Make provision for a reasonable driveway width. Although it is possible to squeeze a car along a 3 metre wide driveway, a width of four to five metres is much more comfortable if space allows. This gives plenty of room for opening vehicle doors and to walk along either side of a car.
An extra 200mm to 300mm in width may be needed for side drains and edging. Some hard surfaces such as concrete don’t necessarily need edging, but it can be good to install one anyway, using a contrasting material so that the overall effect is easier on the eye.
Calculate the number of pavers you need
Once you have planned out your paving project the next step is to calculate the number of pavers you will need. If you are using traditional paving sizes for example regular 230 x 110 x 76 mm bricks or the 230 x 110 x 50 mm bricks, or the standard 230 x 114 x 50 mm pavers, then you can use this paver calculator to estimate the number of pavers you will need.
Lock in pavers
Sand often gets washed away from joint spaces between paving stones. Use a polymer-based product to prevent it from washing out or breaking down. Its unique blend of fine sand and premium quality polymer creates a strong bond between pavers. It provides long lasting durability, strength and most importantly keeps the weeds out.
The excavation should be filled to a depth of around 200mm with a crushed rock/gravel/fines mix, which should then be watered and compacted with a roller. This will ensure that the final surface remains stable and is not affected by changes in soil moisture and temperature. If the local climate includes freezing weather conditions, it is best to leave site preparation to the warmer weather so that the sub-grade can be properly compacted.
Choice of materials
Finally, the choice of driveway surfacing is very important for a whole range of aesthetic, safety and durability reasons. These days there are so many choices it can be difficult to choose between them. They include the old favourites of concrete and bitumen, blocks, clay pavers, paving stones, granite setts, cobblestones and decorative gravels, to name a few.
Although a concrete driveway may sound a bit ordinary, the range of available finishes is quite amazing and so this option is definitely worth considering. As mentioned before, the type of vehicle traffic will determine to some extent what you can choose for your situation. You should also give a thought to your home’s architecture and that of the surrounding neighbourhood, so that you use an appropriate style.
Remember that your driveway will be there for many years, so making the right choices during each stage of driveway planning and construction will ensure you get a beautiful result that will suit your lifestyle and be the envy of your neighbours.