Over time, block paving can be prone to sinking. This is especially true on driveways where a car is regularly parked in the same place.
As the weight of the vehicle is pushing down on just a handful of blocks, unsightly grooves or dips may eventually develop. This can be avoided by laying a concrete sub-base, but doing so effectively nearly doubles your costs.
On the other hand, pattern imprinted concrete forms a sturdy base with fibre-mesh reinforcement and is very unlikely to sink.
Of course, the quality of the workmanship comes into play. The depth of hardcore used and the efforts to flatten it out in the case of block paving and the thickness of the concrete used is fit for purpose in the case of pattern imprinted concrete.
At Greenlife we always make sure the depth of concrete is suitable to keep your pattern imprinted driveway stable enough to hold the weight of a vehicle and more.
Dependent on regular maintenance and the quality of installation, block paving and Indian stone are prone to spreading or loosening of individual blocks or flags.
As the pointing holding them in place erodes, they start to move or rock when pressure is repeatedly applied, for example on well-used pathways or where a vehicle is parked on a driveway. Edges can also be particularly vulnerable.
As pattern imprinted concrete forms a solid base with fibre-mesh reinforcement, there is no risk of this and your driveways and patios will maintain their shape and form for years to come.
If you want to keep your driveway, patio or garden path looking as pristine as the day it was laid, you’ll have to combat weeds and make pre-emptive strikes with expensive water-polluting weed killer.
In the UK especially, weeds and moss will find the tiniest cracks to get a foothold and thrive in your driveways and patios.
This is a major issue with block paving and Indian stone, as by its very nature, it has thousands of gaps ready to provide a home to plant life.
Regular brushing or hosing down is essential to prevent any build-up of dirt and leaf matter for both block paving and pattern imprinted concrete. In the case of block paving, though, you’ll also need to be careful over time that you’re not brushing or washing away the pointing as well.
With pattern imprinted concrete, the “crack control joints” or “expansion cuts” added to reduce the possibility of it cracking mean there are fewer opportunities for weeds to take hold.
As with the weed situation, both solutions require a degree of personal maintenance to keep them looking their best, with the weed killer bill for block paving and Indian stone being much higher than for pattern imprinted concrete.
But which requires the most maintenance over time?
Well, to keep it looking new, help minimise weed growth and prevent spreading, block paving requires re-sanding, which can be expensive.
The frequency of this will depend on a number of factors, including the quality of the installation, your efforts to keep it clean and your environment. For example, using pressure washers can seriously reduce the lifetime of your pointing, as can regular heavy rains and frost.
Although concrete itself is much more durable, the finish on pattern imprinted concrete is achieved using a sealant, which needs to be reapplied periodically to keep the surface looking like new.
Refurbishment of pattern imprinted concrete should be relatively inexpensive compared to re-sanding block paving, but the frequency may be similar.
Block paving and pattern imprinted concrete are about equivalent in installation costs, whereas to be done properly, Indian stone is significantly dearer as it requires a concrete base.
Block paving and Indian stone are more expensive than pattern imprinted concrete in the long run with respect to ongoing maintenance and weed control.