Choosing between block paving or pattern imprinted concrete is one of the main dilemmas that home owners face.

Yes, Tarmacadam is a resilient surfacing product but it’s ‘look’ is dated and better suited to large driveway areas the size of car parks

Resin provides a good choice for lightly trafficked areas but many consider resin a ‘fad’ that will pass.

Gravel is best left for larger houses in rural/semi-rural areas of the UK.

In this post we look at some of the main factors that will determine your choice between block paving and a printed concrete surfacing.

  • Sustainability for the environment
  • Durability
  • Maintenance
  • Installation
  • Cost

Sustainability for the environment is at the top of our list and is an issue DrivewayWise are passionate about. This will be an increasingly important issue going forwards into the future.

Block Paving and Pattern Imprinted Concrete – Both are Bad for the Environment

Unfortunately, it’s true. Both generate large carbon emissions (which are not offset) in both their manufacturing process and installation.

A truly green choice for a driveway will mean simply leaving your driveway as it is – or opting for a grass driveway using a grid system.

But in reality who’s that environmentally minded?

The disposal of excavated material (waste) from driveways is becoming a big issue. Whilst organic matter (trees, soil and bushes) can be disposed of easily, other materials such as tarmacadam (asphalt) and concrete (including old blocks and slabs) require extra energy demands for recycling and in the case of tar coated tarmacadam – this is simply not recyclable.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The disposal of any waste material from a driveway should be taken away by a licensed waste carrier. Concrete and tarmacadam are classified as demolition waste and the waste carrier you/your driveway company/installer use should hold an ‘Upper Tier’ licence. As the homeowner you are responsible for the suitable disposal of waste from your property.

Always check the waste carrier licence!

Block Paving or Pattern Imprinted Concrete – Durability

Pattern imprinted concrete is laid as a ‘monolithic’ slab, which means laid as ‘one’ slab.

This means an imprinted concrete surface has considerable advantages over block paving, the main one being it will not sink! Too many Block Paving surfaces sink at some point, mainly due to unsuitable sub base preparation. Over time, block paving will always be more likely to sink than a concrete alternative.

NOTE: Just as no two block paving manufacturers are the same – neither are two concrete mixes.

What’s in the mix counts – Read to find out why.

In the block paving market there’s a huge difference in the quality of blocks. Top range blocks will be more durable mainly because they will be of a larger size. There’s also a wide difference between the type of materials used in the manufacture of block paving. Opting for a quality block will increase durability, but comes at a higher cost.

Choosing a quality block paving manufacturer is very important in terms of durability.

At the other end of the spectrum you can pick up some awful(ly) cheap blocks from Ebay or Amazon.

Block Paving or Pattern Imprinted Concrete – Maintenance

Back to the monolithic thing – you know ‘one slab’ and all that. Organic growth matter (weeds and grass) will not push through pattern imprinted concrete (except along where expansion joints have been cut). In comparison many block paving driveways suffer with weed, grass and moss growth. Of course, regular maintenance and cleaning of block paving will minimise this issue – but be careful if jet washing and ensure you choose the best possible jet washer!

TOP TIP: For a pattern imprinted driveway to always look in ‘tip top’ condition it’s best to ‘reseal’ every couple of years. This ensures protection against UV damage which will help prevent fading over time.

Must Read on Pattern Imprinted Resealing

Block Paving or Pattern Imprinted Concrete – Installation

Like all things there are good ways to install block paving or pattern imprinted concrete….and bad ways.

Using a reputable driveway installation company will minimise installation issues and should ensure you end up with the driveway you deserve. Both are best installed during good weather and as pattern imprinted concrete is a ‘wet trade’, it does have additional time pressures. This means getting the ‘levels’ right and colour mixed on time. If the company you use is efficient the turnaround time will be around a week from start to finish.

If you are looking for a professional quality installer…

We Can Help!

Cost…..Block Paving or Pattern Imprinted Concrete – the Cost, the Cost!

The bit you’ve been waiting for…and the hardest to answer…costs will depend on the existing surface, ease of access, amount of waste, quality of installer, size of the area, any additional features or work such as walling, steps, fencing etc. Block paving costs are also impacted by the choice of block. This can often make pattern imprinted concrete the cheaper option.

For more on Pattern Imprinted Concrete

Modern block paving options that provide excellent drainage?

Find out more

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