Deciding On What Type Of A Driveway You Want

Picking the right type of a driveway to install is never easy. There is multiple options that are available. Sometimes it will depend on what type of house you own, if its a large driveway area or if it might have flooding problems.

A good idea is to go through various pictures to see which ones you like the most and then just narrow it down by ensuring it is fit for your own home.

You can opt for a tarmac driveway, a block paved driveway, a concrete driveway, gravel driveway or a resin bonded driveway. All of these options are great for driveways but each has its own caveat attached to it.

Lets go through some of the options that are available to you and the pro and con of choosing that type of driveway for your home.



You have tarmac driveways and asphalt driveways. They are a very popular choice in America, Ireland the UK for a standard driveway area.

Although they are essentially variations of each other there are in fact differences between the two, as detailed below.


Tarmac, which is short for tarmacadam, Is made up of bitumen which binds the material and a coarse gravel like stone which is hot rolled down into a driveway.

Asphalt is effectively the same with the difference being the actual stone that is used. Asphalt is much more of a finer stone which allows a much finer compact or less porous finish on the top of the driveway.


Both are installed the same way and both are suitable for all types of vehicles. Asphalt is considered the higher quality finish and is thought to be more durable and longer lasting out of the two of them.

  • Here is an example of a tarmac project that was completed using tarmac with a block paving border around it. You can see the preparation and completion of it and the type of a finish that was on the driveway itself. It definitely is a bit coarser but it still looks good and functions perfectly was a driveway.

  • An asphalt driveway has a much tighter finish on it and will maintain that jet black look a lot longer. Here is an asphalt driveway installation that was installed at what is considered the proper depth of 3 inches to ensure a long lasting finish. The main difference between the two driveways it the actual finish of it.

The benefit of asphalt and tarmac is both cost and overall lack of maintenance. You dont have to maintain asphalt. Occasionally sweep it off or wash it down. Installation of a tarmac driveway is cheaper than some other options for a driveway.

Downside to tarmac and asphalt is its shorter lifespan, colour fading, exposure to chemicals can cause it to disintegrate and if it sinks or has issues, you cannot fix it without it becoming like a patchwork quilt!


With block paving the options are endless so its simpler to break down the actual types of paving rather than the colours and textures of block paving. The benefits to block paving is the versatility of it. It comes in multiple colours making it suitable for any home and is easy to repair if it becomes damaged.


The downside to paving is it will loose its colour, can have problems with individual blocks sinking and will suffer from weed growth, regardless if its got membrane sheeting under it or not.

Weeds do not need to actually grow from the ground up through the paving as its common thought to happen. What actually happens is grass seeds fall into the joints between paving and starts to grow in the kiln dried sand that is used for jointing the paving together.


  • Firstly, you have standard block paving for driveways. This is block paving that comes normally in a 50mm or 60mm thickness. Standard 50mm paving is fine for any normal driveway but if you are going to have HGV vehicles on it especially loaded ones, we recommend the 60mm as it will provide more stability.

  • This type of block paving can be installed in either 45 degree or 90 degree herringbone. Here is standard block paving driveways that are installed in either 45 or 90 degree patterns. Very suitable for both driveways, pathways and garden areas. This style requires a border installed around it to allow you to cut the little edges that run into the border on the outside.


  • Cobble stone driveways are available either as a natural style driveway or as a manufactured style. The manufactured style is referred to as Tegula paving in the UK. This style is used fairly often as its significantly cheaper than using natural cobblestones.

  • A Tegula driveway installation is done the same as a standard block paving installation. The difference is the actual block that is used and the style of pattern. Commonly laid in 3 sizes as half offset. It creates a random effect across the driveway. Also available in both 50mm and 60mm versions, makes it very suitable for a driveway.


  • Permeable paving is the perfect option for people who has issues with flooding. It is identical to block paving in the sense of colour and laying styles. It can be laid in 3 sizes or in a standard herringbone pattern.

  • The biggest difference with permeable paving a driveway is the installation procedure which involves a completely different type of base. Normally you would use a Type 3 hardcore base which is more permeable instead of a Type 1 base.

  • The sub base needs to be grit sand instead of standard sand to allow water to pass through without shifting. The paving itself has a ridge edge to allow a bigger gap between them as well.

  • Sizes are the same with a variation of 50mm and 60mm available to install as a permeable paving on your driveway.

The benefit to permeable paving especially in the UK is you do not require planning permission for it. The SUDS regulations allows installation of permeable paving as long as its done to specification. It has the same benefits as standard paving as well.

The downside to permeable paving is the cost. Due to the extra work required at installing it. The base which is required to be significantly deeper than normal (14inches min) and needs to be made up of Type 4 hardcore.


Gravel driveways are probably the oldest form of driveway that exists today. Suitable for any type of a driveway, it conforms to SUDS regulations so planning permission is not a problem and is available in multiple colours and textures.


  • Having a gravel driveway installation is fairly standard practise and requires only a solid base and membrane sheeting before it has to be installed. You can choose to have surrounded with either an edging kerb or a block of choice to retain it. (100% retain it or you will loose gravel over time!)

  • The most important factor with a gravel driveway is the actual size of the gravel or shingle you choose to use. Shingle is the smaller style of stone which is normally used in a flower bed or as natural drainage. For driveways shingle can become very difficult for cars to navigate.

  • Larger gravel stones are better for driveways as vehicles will not crush them and can easily pass over them. For walking on, its not as nice as shingle but still easily negotiated on with high heels!

  • With either option we recommend a different surface at your front door otherwise you are going to be bringing in stones to your house! Choose a paving surface, concrete surface or something similar to keep the stones out of your house at the front door.

The benefits of gravel is the cost saving especially on larger driveways and the fact that it is naturally permeable. Colour variations and combinations with other driveway products can make it really stand out.

The downside to gravel is that will need to be raked constantly. Ensure the ground underneath is never exposed otherwise you will tear the membrane. Potholes can easily develop and weeds can easily grow especially if the membrane is damaged.


Resin bond is something that is become more and more popular. Definitely one of the more expensive options but also one of the best ones. It is a simple process and requires a solid base underneath that is leveled to the correct falls already. Multiple colour variations are available.


  • You put down an adhesive bond and the fine aggregate is floated onto the resin which bonds them together becoming resin bonded or resin bounded. A very tough and durable finish.

  • This is great for interior and exterior places. Brilliant on pathways and more than suitable for any driveway or garden area. It is the most durable and long lasting of any of the options and can easily last for up to 12 years without any sign of wear.

Benefits of resin bond is both durability and the grip you have on it when walking. Very tough surface and when joined with other surfaces can really be beautiful.

The downside to resin is cost and finding the right contractor that can install resin bond driveways correctly to ensure it bonds correctly.


Concrete driveways are next to gravel driveways the oldest form of driveways available. Very cost effective but will not stand out as much. It is a very functional style for extending an existing driveway or just putting in a new surface at an affordable cost.


  • Concrete driveways are great for standard driveways just ensure you have expansion joints fitted as concrete will expand over time. Without expansion joints in concrete, it will create a crack and force unevenness.

  • Imprint concrete driveways have the same installation process as standard concrete. The difference is the pattern of it and finishing colours. Multiple colours are available and the type of finish at the end. It can have a high gloss finish or a matt finish.

  • The patterns that you can create are limited only by your imagination. With swirls, staggered lines, imitation cobblestone finishes and more.

The benefit to imprint concrete is the fact you literally have any pattern or design on it. The trick is to have the right imprint concrete contractor install it to ensure a long lasting finish and that they have applied the right mixture to the finishing colour.

The downside to imprint concrete is it can be very slippy. It also suffers like standard concrete from fading and moss growth on it. Regular maintenance is a must and we recommend putting a sealer on it once every couple of years to maintain the finish on it.

We hope you have enjoyed our article on the type of driveway options that are available. If you ever are in doubt over what suits you the most, ask your contractor and go through the options carefully.

Always ensure the contractor you are using has installed the style of driveway before and ask to see the work firsthand.