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DIY driveway project guide: FAQs & advice

Driveways are an important part of many homes, and building one needs to be approached carefully. From planning and preparation to materials and construction, we’ll guide you through it!

Carrying out a DIY driveway project can be tricky, so we’ve put together some expert advice and have answered some frequently asked questions. It’s important to remember that every DIY driveway project is different — if you’re not sure about something, ask experienced professionals. 

how much does a driveway cost

How much does a driveway cost?

The cost of driveway resurfacing depends on the size, type, location, and materials. 

Cobblestone and concrete driveways are usually the most expensive, and asphalt and gravel driveways are cheaper. However, the total price depends on driveway quality, job difficulty, and labour costs.

Driveways are priced per square metre, so keep this in mind when quoting your project.

how much value does a driveway add

How much value does a driveway add?

A good-quality driveway can add up to 10% to a home’s value. A driveway gives extra parking space and makes it easier to get to the house, which buyers sometimes pay more for. The driveway's exact value depends on its size, type, condition, and where the home is.

You can also lower a home’s value with a poorly paved driveway, a driveway without drainage, or a drop kerb. Keeping a driveway clean and looked after is more likely to add value to a property.

What are the laws on shared driveways?

Some homes have a shared driveway, which makes building and maintenance more difficult. There are two types of shared driveways in the UK. Some are owned by both homes, and other shared driveways belong to one home but are used by others.

The owner of a shared driveway is different for every situation. For example, one homeowner may own the driveway, but a neighbour could have the right to it. Ask the homeowner to look at the property deeds for driveway access rights. Whoever uses the driveway is expected to look after it. Homeowners are also not allowed to store objects such as bins on the shared driveway. 

People must use the space equally. Homeowners can take a neighbour to court if they are using the driveway too much or blocking access to their home or garage. 

How to separate a shared driveway

Homeowners may wish to separate their shared driveway. However, they can only do this if the deed says the boundary line is in the middle of the driveway. 

Separation is more difficult if both homes can access the entire driveway, or if there are rules saying homeowners can’t block the driveway or build on it. Homeowners can build a small wall or fence down the driveway to separate it if ownership is shared equally and the boundary line is in the middle. They just need to make sure the other home can still use it properly. 

DIY driveway types

Homeowners can choose from several driveway types depending on their budget, style, and maintenance requirements. Each type has pros and cons, so it’s a good idea to tell the owner these before they choose.

gravel driveway

Gravel driveways

Gravel driveways are made from small stones and gravel pressed together to create a solid surface. They are generally cheaper than other driveway options but may need more looking after. Gravel also comes in many sizes, shapes, and colours, creating many landscaping opportunities.

concrete driveway

Concrete driveways

Concrete driveways are made from poured cement with aggregates. They can handle heavy weight and don’t need much looking after. The driveway can be customised and lasts 25 to 30 years. This type of driveway is good for homes in sunnier climates, as the concrete absorbs fewer UV rays and keeps cool. 

asphalt driveway

Asphalt driveways

Asphalt or bitumen is a sticky, black liquid form of petroleum. It’s mixed with aggregate materials, such as gravel, crushed rock, or sand, to make asphalt concrete. Asphalt driveways are long-lasting and sturdy, and can be laid quickly and smoothly. The material can handle most weather conditions and won’t crack or break down. It can also absorb heat during summer and help melt snow during winter.

block paved driveway

Block paved driveways

Block paved driveways are made by joining concrete or brick pavers. The pavers fit together tightly to create a neat look and a strong driveway. They come in many colours, styles, and sizes so homeowners can create their designs. 

Paver driveways are tough and will last during difficult weather types. They won’t crack or break under heavy traffic and are easy to replace or fix if damaged.

brick driveway

Brick driveways

Brick driveways are handy and strong. They come in many colours, shapes, and finishes, giving homeowners more style choices. 

Bricks are low maintenance and will last many years. Their texture makes them naturally slip, stain, and skid-resistant through every season.

Brick paving is an environmentally-friendly driveway choice as bricks are made from a natural clay material, and these can be used again later if the driveway is fixed or replaced.

self-binding gravel driveway

Self-binding gravel driveways

A self-binding gravel driveway is made from aggregates — usually crushed limestone or granite — and a binding agent, like clay or sand. The binding agent packs the gravel together to create a hard surface. 

There are several pros and cons of self-binding driveways. They give a natural look but are tough enough for everyday use. Rainwater can quickly drain through the surface and into the ground, which protects from flooding and erosion.

Self-binding driveways are also easy to build and look after. You can lay them on a prepared sub-base without lots of building work, and they don’t need regular sealing or resurfacing like some other driveways.

However, self-binding gravels are not good for areas with lots of foot traffic, as the gravel may move over time. Homeowners must also add gravel to the driveway to keep it looking good.

cobblestone driveway

Cobblestone driveways

Cobblestone driveways use natural stones or cobbles, such as granite, basalt, or limestone. They are laid by hand to make pretty designs. 

This type of driveway has been used for centuries and is tough and long-lasting. They are popular in places with heavy rainfall, as they don’t crack or break down. 

Cobblestone driveway designs include herringbone, basket weave, or running bond. They come in many different colours, textures, and shapes. 

Cobblestone driveways are one of the most expensive driveway types. They also need regular power washing and sweeping to keep them clean.

What tools do I need to build a driveway?

The tools, equipment, and accessories needed to build a driveway will depend on the type, size, and project details.

In general, you might need the following:

How to build a DIY driveway

How you build a driveway will depend on what type you choose. However, it usually involves these steps.

  1. Get planning permission – check if you need a permit to build and make sure the area is fit for a driveway with proper drainage and level ground.
  2. Outline the driveway – plan the area to make sure it fits.
  3. Tidy the site – remove any rocks, trees, and other debris. 
  4. Build the base layer – make a stable foundation for the driveway.
  5. Add a sub-base layer – some driveways may also need a sub-base layer, especially if they will be heavily used or to stop erosion.
  6. Lay the surface layer – lay the surface layer of the driveway, following the instructions for your chosen material.

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