Paving For Driveways, Paths, Patios and Carparks

As every estate agent will tell you, your front driveway sets the tone to your house. It might also dictate whether you can park comfortably outside your house - or whether you squeeze out the door and then step right into a nice puddle or mucky bit of grass! If you've been thinking about tackling it, well read on. We've asked our professional pavers on pickapro.ie for some inside knowledge on driveways and patios.
paving

First of all, what are the different options for a front drive or patio and give a rough idea of how they compare pricewise?

Here's some of the common options.

Cobblestones, also known as setts or cubes is a very popular choice. They come in an incredible range of colours and are extremely durable.
Flagstone or flags cut from flat natural stone is a more expensive but also very striking option.
Gravel: Also available in a range of styles and colours, gravel is a less expensive option and can be well suited to garden pathways and even driveways. However, it does need more maintenance such as weeding and raking.
Tarmac - it only comes in black but it's a low maintenance, inexpensive option.

What does the job involve?

At the end of the day, all you want to see is a perfectly finished surface, but it's the various layers beneath the surface that give your driveway and carpark it's strength and stability. So here's a very general overview of the type of work that goes into a new paved driveway.

Digging: First the existing paving must be dug up and the ground leveled to allow for the layers above.
Geo-sheet: A geo-sheet, a man-made separation membrane, is laid over the bare earth.
Sub-base: A sub-base which is a made up of a mixture such as crushed rock and sand is laid. It is very important, as it is the main load-bearing layer.
Bedding Layer: A layer of sand is laid for the paving blocks to settle on.
Paving Layer: The paving materials are laid in the pattern of our choice.
Sealing: Fine sand is then brushed over the paving material, to seal the joints. It is later compacted.
Features: Features such as borders and kerbs are the finishing touches.

What maintenance does a driveway need?
You can expect your paved driveway to be very low maintenance. Weeds can't grow up from below because a sheet is laid over the bare ground. However, if soil blows or is brushed onto the stone, weeds may grow between the cracks. A light spray of weed killer twice a year will prevent any problems. People tend to neglect this, however this does allow the weeds to get bigger. A gravel driveway does require additional work so take this into consideration before choosing to go for gravel.

Will it damage any water pipes or electrical lines?
No - because we can scan the ground first to locate any lines.

How long does it take?
About 2 days.

What's the best way to pick a design?
Take a look at pictures of designs. All the paving companies on pickapro have a large portfolios of work that customers can look through. That's a good way to get ideas and as a starting point for discussions.

Do you need to be able to get big machinery in?
No, we can go in and out through the house if necessary. It might mean that we have to do some of the work manually, so the job may take a little longer.

What advice can you give someone choosing a paving contractor?
Make sure you get an experienced paver with a sterling reputation. And don't pay for the work up front. Wait until the work has been completed and check it very carefully before paying. If the paving is substandard, you might not notice any problems on day one, so we always recommend delaying payment until you've had a chance to make a thorough inspection.

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