Every year, thousands of homeowners around the UK look to replace or upgrade their driveways. Driveways do not last forever and can get pretty rundown after 20 to 50 or so years.
With choices galore, choosing a driveway is a tricky ordeal. There are around 5 or 6 different choices of driveway materials and each comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
This article will look at the various driveway options on offer and break them down with accurate costs and figures.
By compiling quotes from 9 different contractors and 13 secondary sources, we created the following average quotes for UK driveways built with different materials.
Note that prices are fully inclusive of VAT and the labour relevant to each style driveway, not just material costs.
They also include minor excavation works, though this can vary greatly depending on what type of driveway you already have.
Prices may fluctuate as they increase/decrease to reflect the fact that larger projects with lower bulk material costs are often outweighed by the increased cost of labour, particularly in the case of paving or gravel driveways.
|Material||Small, One Car, 11.5m²||Small, Two Cars, 25m²||Average, 50m²||Large, 100m²|
|Tarmac||£625 - £775||£1,100 - £1,450||£2,100 - £3,100||£4,000 - £6,000|
|Gravel||£475 to £1,050||£850 to £2,000||£1,700 to £4,600||£3,200 to £9,000|
|Resin||£750 to £950||£1,400 to £2,000||£2,500 to £4,000||£5,000 to £8,250|
|Concrete||£800 to £1,200||£1,450 to £2,050||£3,000 to £4,100||£6,500 to £8,750|
|Concrete Imprint||£900 to £1,350||£1,600 to £2,500||£3,200 to £5,000||£7,000 to £10,000|
|Paving/Brick||£1,000 to £1,500+||£2,100 to £3,300+||£4,200 to £6,600+||£8,400 to £13,000+|
Factors Affecting the Costs of Driveways
Driveway costs vary primarily on the size, material used and excavation/prep work needed.
Some driveways will need to be excavated or totally removed before work takes place.
Excavation works depend on whether your current driveway can be used as a base:
- Tarmac and asphalt can be laid on concrete and vice-versa
- Resin can be laid on concrete or tarmac
- Paving will most likely require excavation of the driveway
- Gravel mats/grids can be laid on top of other driveways
Another key added cost is drainage. Most driveway materials are porous but surface run-off will usually be directed towards drains either built-in the driveway itself or laid on either side of the driveway.
Main Types Of Driveways
There are 5 main types of driveway material and a few sub-categories.
Each is distinctly different and comes with its own set of unique advantages and disadvantages.
Not every style of driveway will be suitable for your property. For example, sloped driveways cannot be gravelled and tarmac may be difficult to lay.
Always consult a contractor with your ideas and options prior to making any form of agreement.
Tarmac/Asphalt Driveways – Cheapest
Resin Driveway Cost per m²: £35 – £50 / m² average materials costs
Tarmac and asphalt are not the same things, but they are very similar. Tarmac, short for tarmacadam, is formed from stone aggregate mixed with tar. Asphalt is similar but uses bitumen instead of tar. Both have the same characteristic black appearance.
Tarmac is one of the cheapest driveway materials – that’s why it’s used on roads instead of more expensive materials. Tarmac is durable and hard-wearing but does require regular maintenance, usually every 5 years or so.
Tarmac Driveway Pros
- Easy to install
- Suitable for very large driveways
- Looks pretty smart with stone driveway edging
- Suitable for slight inclines
Tarmac Driveway Cons
- Requires resealing with tarmac paint every 5 years or so
- Liable to more serious damage after 10 to 20 years
- Not environmentally friendly
- Not suitable for steep inclines
- Messy to install
Gravel Driveways – Mid-Range Cost
Resin Driveway Cost per m²: £25 to £35 / m² average material costs
Gravel is aesthetically appealing, environmentally sound due to its natural finish and high permeability and covers wide areas. It suits the aesthetic of countryside or rural houses, is very grippy for winter use and is cheap to replace.
The obvious downside of gravel is that it scatters, piles up and eventually escapes the driveway.
It’s often necessary to install driveway skirting and gravel mats to prevent excessive gravel from escaping the driveway.
As such, gravel isn’t as cheap as its bare materials costs suggest, though it is still probably the most cost-effective option for very large driveways.
Gravel Driveway Pros
- Aesthetically appealing
- Cheap materials costs, probably the cheapest option for simple installations with no excavation work
- Easy to maintain (even if it does need frequent attention)
- Environmentally sound
- Grippy, ice-resistant and secure at night (as it’s noisy when you walk over it)
Gravel Driveway Cons
- Requires frequent attention (more of a hassle than a serious issue)
- Possibly more expensive than material costs suggest when taking gravel mats into account
- Not suitable for slopes of any real incline
- Annoying to roll bins over
- Liable to weeds and foliage penetrating the driveway
Concrete Driveways – Mid to High-End Cost
Resin Driveway Cost per m²: £50 to £100 / m² average material costs
Concrete is more similar to tarmac than anything else, but it’s more durable, looks more natural and offers more creative choice.
Concrete has changed a fair bit in the last few decades and many contracts now supply imprinted or stamped concrete, which is concrete imprinted with designs that make it resemble brickwork and paving.
Stamped concrete can feature some really funky designs ranging from abstract patterns to artistic emblems like sundials or compasses.
As a result, the average range of a concrete driveway is quite wide.
Concrete Driveway Pros
- The most hard-wearing solid stone option (lasts 50 years or so with just minor maintenance)
- Low maintenance costs
- More creative and design options in the case of imprinted/stamped concrete
- Swift and easy to install
- Pretty good with steeper inclines
Concrete Driveway Cons
- More expensive than most options
- Drainage is sometimes a concern and may incur additional cost
- Susceptible to cold damage
- Can be tricky to install on inclines
- Liable to minor cracks after 30+ years – will need to be resealed and patched
Resin Driveways – Mid to High-End Cost
Resin Driveway Cost per m²: £50 to £80 / m² average material costs
Resin driveways are made from mixing stone aggregates with resin. The result is a driveway that looks somewhat like static gravel.
Resin driveways have a clean, modern aesthetic that combines with many useful practical qualities.
There are two types of resin driveways; resin bonded and resin-bound. Resin-bonded is where the resin is spread first and the stones are scattered across the top and bonded to the resin layer. Resin-bound means the stone and resin are mixed together prior to driveway construction.
Resin-bound systems are usually porous and permeable, which is ideal for sloped driveways susceptible to ice coverage.
Resin Driveway Pros
- Looks similar to gravel without the hassle of gravel scatter
- Lots of styles on offer
- Porous with good drainage and grip during winter
- Semi-natural and environmentally sound
- One of the best choices for sharper inclines and slopes
Resin Driveway Cons
- Expensive for larger areas
- Quality varies with the resin system used
- Liable to cracking and peeling after 20 years or so
- Can require more rigorous maintenance
- Susceptible to frost damage
Paving/Brick Driveways – High-end Cost
Paved Driveway Cost per m: £60 to £100 / m² average material cost
Paved or brickwork driveways are the classic driveway option. They’re tried-and-tested, straightforward to maintain and offer a huge amount of creative and aesthetic appeal.
Brick or paving driveways involve bricks or paving stones being laid in a pattern across the driveway. It’s usually time-consuming and quality materials are expensive.
That said, the process is straightforward enough and can be undertaken by just one or two contractors – there is no need for large machinery.
Paved Driveway Pros
- Tons of design options
- Probably the most attractive for most houses
- Simple and quiet job that requires minimal machinery
- Environmentally sound
- Good drainage
Paved Driveway Cons
- Expensive and meticulous job
- Time-consuming to lay
- Prone to weed penetration
- Can crack
- May be difficult to source matching replacements (rarely an issue)
Choosing a Driveway Contractor
Driveways do have a reputation of being the choice job of ‘cowboy’ contractors due to their simplicity and quick turnaround time for smaller projects.
Since builders don’t need access to the house, they can quickly lay the drive and dash off within the week.
Whilst it may not be immediately obvious whether a contractor has done a poor job, a badly laid driveway will show signs of wear-and-tear significantly quicker than one laid by an experienced contractor.
It’s essential you choose a reputable local contractor, preferably one that appears in Checkatrade, TrustATrader or Which? Look for Google Reviews and a competent portfolio of successful work.
Ask what materials your contractor will use to verify that they’re not using cheap white-label or knock-off goods. Many driveway systems (e.g resin systems) are branded.
Get Pricing on New Driveways Near You
We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a new driveway.
However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed quote specifically for you.
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