A driveway is one of the most important aspects of your outdoor area, so it's important to explore all of your options to make sure you choose the type of design that’s right for you.
One of the biggest considerations should be which type of material you use to get the job done. In this guide, we're going to discuss some of the most popular types of driveway materials, as well as explain how to look after your driveway, and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
The main driveway materials
Below, we've listed the most popular types of driveway materials that you might wish to consider to transform your outdoor space. Like a lot of home projects, your driveway project is an investment in your property, so make sure you do your research to make a well-informed purchase.
Concrete driveways are one of the most traditional types of driveway, particularly in suburban settings. Their popularity is due to how cost-effective they are, as well as being relatively simple to install.
When cared for properly, you can expect a concrete driveway to last up to 30 years, perhaps even longer. Regular maintenance such as keeping on top of any weeds and cleaning off stains are all it takes to keep it looking good.
Concrete can be a more sustainable option for a driveway, due to where it is made. Marshalls concrete is all made in England, which means we have to travel a shorter distance between our site and your home when we make the delivery .
Porcelain paver driveways
Porcelain paving is a big seller in the UK, thanks to it being highly water resistant and not requiring a lot of upkeep. This is to do with the manufacturing process where a unique combination of materials is used, including kaolin, feldspar, clay, quartzitic sand, and water.
When mixed together, they form what looks like nothing more than mud, which is then left to dry and finally heated to an extremely high temperature which gives exceptional resistance and a discernable smoothness.
The process also turns the porcelain into a non-porous material. Therefore, when it comes to a driveway comprised of porcelain pavers, these do not need to be sealed.
One of the best draws to using porcelain for many is the wide range of sizes, colours, textures and patterns it can come in. Unlike some materials, porcelain won't fade when it's exposed to sunlight over the years.
It's also slip-resistant as it doesn't let the likes of mould and moss build up. There are also textured varieties available, to reduce the risk of slipping when it becomes icy.
Block paver driveways
Block paving driveways can be made from anything from concrete, brick or even natural stone. One of the distinct benefits of this type of material is that it looks amazing outside just about any home and lends itself to patterns and designs such as circles.
While there's no doubt a brick driveway certainly is a wonderful centre-piece in an outside area, there are a lot of choices available, and some can be pricier than others. However, if you want an outside area that really packs a visual punch, consider investing in block paving.
It's hardy when well cared for, and parts of the driveway are also easy to replace if they were to become damaged in the future.
A gravel driveway is made up of a loose combination of sand, clay and rock. Although loose, gravel is easily compacted into a sturdy shape and is a very cost-effective driveway material.
Maintenance can be difficult, but it's important to put the time aside to carry out caring for it so that it stands the test of time. The loose stones are notorious for getting everywhere, so you will need to clean them out of grassy areas or the surrounding areas of the path.
While gravel can look great and is one of the most popular driveway ideas, it will need to be de-weeded if your driveway sits close to your garden, where plant life could have the opportunity to emigrate.
If the top layer of gravel is spread, the driveway will have a tendency to thin out, being there is a chance of potholes forming. When you drive over gravel, it can produce a lot of dirt and debris, so bear in mind that you may be taking your vehicle to the car wash a bit more often than usual.
Tar and chip driveways
Tar and chip isn't a common choice of driveway material, but it is growing in popularity. When it comes to traction, it's an excellent option, and it's also pretty budget-friendly, so if you are trying to tighten your purse strings, it's definitely a choice to consider.
The only real downside to tar and chip driveways is the amount of upkeep required to maintain them, so only opt for this type if you’re prepared to put the time and effort into keeping it looking its best.
Cobble driveways have long been a staple in British homes and for very good reason. A cobbled driveway has a look that exudes rustic charm, and the best thing about it is you can choose cobbles and paving setts in a wide range of colours. This type of driveway is especially effective when used as a way of preserving the cosy aesthetic of cottages or period properties.Whilst cobbles can often be made of natural stone, opting for engineered concrete cobbles allows you to have the look of a natural material, but with the strength of concrete.
5 tips on caring for your driveway
Whatever type of driveway you have, it's important to remember that it's an extension of your home and not merely a practical pathway. This is why keeping your driveway looking its best is as vital as upkeeping its functionality and performance.
As one of the most used areas of your garden, you may be surprised to learn how their general maintenance is often overlooked by many homeowners. Neglecting it can often mean you won't get the longevity out of it that's needed, but also, a pathway full of holes and weeds is never going to look welcoming to guests.
Below, we've outlined five tips on how you can make your driveway look and feel as good as new.
Fix cracks right away
While you might think that small cracks won't cause any major problems, the truth is they can soon turn into potholes if they aren't dealt with quickly. Depending on what material your driveway is made of, you might need to seal your driveway each year.
The best way to do this is to remove any dirt or debris from the crack and fill it with a crack filler. After that, all you need to do is simply seal the driveway for protection. Fixing small cracks promptly, either yourself or with the help of a professional, will prevent more extensive degradation which could lead to unnecessary repair costs further down the line.
Steer clear of salt
If you have a concrete driveway, don't use salt to melt snow in the winter months. Salt can seep into the material, causing abrasions which, in turn, can cause cracks. While it might be tempting to use salt as a quick fix, you could soon find yourself with a hefty repair bill or face having to redo your driveway.
Look for some alternatives to using salt, such as sand which has the added benefit of helping with grip when it gets icy.
Take care when removing snow
Both shovels and snow ploughs can damage certain types of driveways, as they can become stretched or chipped if you overdo it when hacking into tightly packed snow. Using a plastic shovel will help to increase the longevity of driveway surfaces.
Have a water run-off path
It isn't just cracks and salt that can cause potholes; puddles of water can also eventually lead to them. To remedy the risk, ensure to have a run-off path so there is less chance of water build-up.
Furthermore, check that there are no drainage systems which can reach your driveway. If you do happen to see puddles of water beginning to develop, try to get rid of the water as soon as possible to avoid any cracks forming.
Keep your driveway clean
Although probably not on the top of your list of garden chores, cleaning your driveway is a must to keep it looking in perfect condition. Rinse any oils (or other stains, for that matter) with warm water coupled with a biodegradable cleaner, as oil is another liquid that can quickly begin to break up a driveway if left for too long.
Create your dream driveway with help from Marshalls
Get a modern, attractive, and go-the-distance driveway with Marshalls. After all, such an important investment in your home requires only the very best, premium materials.
Here at Marshalls, we have a wide range of driveway materials to help you achieve a high-quality and long-lasting look for your drive. With a comprehensive assortment of styles, colours, and finishes, you'll find it easier than ever to create the perfect driveway.
How long can I expect a new driveway to last?
Provided you use high-quality materials and take proper care of your driveway, it could last anywhere between 25 to 30 years. That's why choosing the right option for you is so important, as it will be an integral part of your home for many years to come. It’s helpful to know that if you’re using a Marshalls Registered Installer to install your driveway you’ll have the option to add on a guarantee to protect your investment for up to 20 years.
What is the best low-maintenance driveway?
Concrete is seen as one of the best low-maintenance materials for a driveway. Yet, there isn't really such a thing as a high-maintenance driveway material, as most require the same level of upkeep and care, which, thankfully, isn't usually a lot.
How can I save money on a new driveway?
When it comes to a garden or driveway project, around 80% of the cost is in the installation, and only 20% on the materials - so if you need to save money then you could consider doing some of the work yourself. However, it’s vital that the ground is prepared properly, and the correct sub-base is used so make sure you have the skills and knowledge to take the task on. Remember, though, that a driveway is a long-term investment that you won’t have to make frequently, so the cost of hiring a professional installer to make sure that the job is done properly the first time around doesn’t seem as high when spread over decades.
What type of driveway adds the most value?
Generally speaking, natural stone driveways will add the most value to a home in the UK. Ultimately, however, you should choose the best driveway for you if you aren't planning on selling right away.