8 Cheaper Alternatives to Paving

8 Cheaper Alternatives to Paving

Crazy paving and artificial grass

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Porcelain, sandstone, block paving, limestone. All these types of paving are very desirable but they are not always right for everyone and can cost the earth when installed properly.

One of the most common ways to save money on paving is opting for a more economical surface like gravel, decomposed granite or asphalt. Another option is installing paving with a shallow sand base which will reduce installations costs significantly.

This article will look at 8 of the best alternatives to paving which could save you some hard work or precious cash.

Why is paving so expensive?

Paving is a significant expense for both residential and commercial projects. You may have been.

Labour costs for installing paving

Labour costs make up the bulk of the cost when it comes to paving. The various stages all take a lot of time, machinery and experience to do well.

Starting with digging out around 200kg for every m2 of paving, this usually requires and excavator with a skilled operator.

Next comes 205kg of hardcore per m2 poured by hand, spread, levelled and compacted. Then mixing the cement, laying the paving slabs one by one, cutting and finishing them.

Finally pointing them with expensive resin.

Material costs for installing paving

Most people see the cost of paving slabs per square meter and think “great, it should be about £50 per square meter” then are shocked at the £140 per m2 price tag.

Part of this is the additional materials including tons of hardcore, sand, cement, resin, cutting blades and additional paving to make up for cuts, breakages and mistakes.

Alternatives to paving

Gravel

Gravel panting area with golden shingle

Gravel is a popular choice for paving because it is a cost-effective option that requires very little maintenance. It is also a nice way of blending in with the natural landscape.

If you are building a driveway you can install gravel stabilisation grids which will make the surface much more solid to both walk and drive on.

Tarmac plainings

Tarmac plaining driveway

Tarmac plainings can be used to create a rough but stable driveway surface. This is one of the cheapest ways to create a driveway or additional parking. T

The tarmac plainings are made from recycled tarmac which is poured, levelled then compacted to create a dark driveway surface which has no problems with weight and will last a long time.

Tarmac plainings are really for those that want functionality and price over appearance.

Decking

Wooden decking

Decking is not always cheaper than paving but it can be, and makes a great alternative with some advantages.

Composite decking is in at the moment and is fairly expensive as a result. You may be able to get simple designs installed cheaply but generally speaking, decking doesn’t come cheap.

To one way decking can be cheap is if you are up for a bit of DIY. Unlike paving, you don’t need tons of material delivered or a digger to excavate the area.

For areas the size of a patio you can actually installed the decking right onto grass using plastic feet and a weed membrane to keep the weeds and grass a bay.

Decking kits are also available for basic designs which can take all of the tricky measuring out of the equation.

Decking can easily be elevated and modified which means you have more options for design than you would with paving. Why not add a built in planter or some built in seating.

Poured concrete

Poured concrete driveway

Poured concrete is also a good choice instead of paving because it comes at better rates than asphalt, provides a smoother surface than gravel and is much cheaper than paving.

Concrete pavements are reinforced with steel rods which will help them last a lot longer than asphalt pavements without reinforcement. They are also much more resistant to weather conditions which makes them perfect for outdoors.

Poured concrete can be pattern imprinted to look like most types of paving. This doesn’t always work out cheaper however so if you want something great looking paving may still be a better option.

A word of warning for those looking to install concrete instead of a patio. It is strong but can crack and chip. When it does it can be hard or impossible to repair unlike paving which is generally fairly easy to repair.

Resin bound gravel

Resin bound gravel driveway

Resin bound gravel is cheaper than paving and be used to create some unique looks for driveways and patios.

When it comes to weeds , resin bound gravel is more resistant than block paving. Resin bound pavements are also super strong and won’t deteriorate easily, meaning it is still in good shape many years after it was laid down

Self binding gravel

Self Binding gravel is a simple surface which is formed rolling specialist stone aggregate into place which binds itself into a multipurpose pathway. This is often used as a more cost effective alternative to traditional paving such as concrete and macadam.

Self binding gravel is made from crushed stone which is rolled into place. It can be installed onto grass to create a separate area for parking, barbecuing or whatever else you need it for.

It provides a versatile surface that is strong and resistant to all types of weather conditions providing many years worth of use.

Self binding gravel is incredibly cheap and easy to install. It also can be used for a number of applications so if you are looking to create something unique this may be the best option for you.

Shallow base paving

Shallow base paving

Paving? I thought this articles was about alternatives to paving? Well yes, this is because not all paving is made equal.

Shallow base paving uses concrete slabs or other edgeless slabs and sits them on top of a shallow sand base with no concrete to hold them in place. This is how much block paving is laid and the same method that is used on basic artificial grass installations.

Shallow base paving is not recommended for driveways but can be great for patios, shed bases and other areas which won’t be subject to heavy use.

The bulk of the cost when installing paving comes from the labour, digging out to a good depth, laying and compacting hardcore, mixing cement, laying the slabs then pointing them.

Shallow base paving cuts out most of those steps laying paving right onto a compacted and levelled course sand base.

Tarmac

As an alternative to paving tarmac is often very popular. It is quick to install and comes in a range of lovely colours.

Tarmac doesn’t offer the best customer service and can break easily when installed over a shallow base. This makes it a bad option for driveways or areas which will be subject to large amounts of traffic but is a good choice for patios, paths and driveways.

Tarmac does have a few advantages over paving such as being able to be installed on grass and not having to be pointed when it is installed

Final thoughts

Today, many people are opting for cheaper alternatives to paving. This is because not all paving is made equal and there are a number of cheaper options available which can be just as durable.

One of the most common ways to save money on paving is to opt for a more economical surface like gravel, decomposed granite or asphalt. Another option is installing paving with a shallow sand base which will reduce installations costs significantly

Poured concrete can be pattern imprinted to look like most types of paving. This doesn’t always work out cheaper however so if you want something great looking paving may still be a better option.

Resin bound gravel is also great and resistant to weeds and decay when it comes to driveways. Resin bound pavements are also super strong and won’t deteriorate easily, meaning it is still in good shape many years after it was laid down

Self binding gravel is a simple surface which can be rolled into place creating an easy to install hard wearing multipurpose pathway. This will provide many years worth of use.

We hope this article helped you discover a few more options if you are exasperated with the cost of paving.

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