Bricks, flagstones and cobblestones all come with a health warning: they can’t be power washed. So how do you get a fab looking finish without the hassle of reaching for the hand brush every time they need a clean? Here are our tips.
Even though there is a maintenance aspect to paving and other stone finishes, they do have an aesthetic appeal and most importantly, from a practical point of view, they allow water to drain freely to the ground below. Permeable finishes include:
Professionally finished permeable paving has a top layer of paving jointed with grit, laid on a proprietary set of membranes and base materials. It is however expensive and in a residential setting, tends to only be used on waterlogged sites.
A natural driveway is probably the most straightforward low cost permeable option. No power washer here, we’re going native with wildflowers and yes, weeds. This option has a hard paving element for car access only and the rest is landscaped with turf. Maintenance will be required on the finish you choose for the laneway, and the extra effort when lawnmowing.
If you opt for a hard surface, make sure to factor in the drainage outlets, vitally important now with the increase in heavy rainfalls.
You guessed it, concrete is a great finish when it comes to durability and maintenance – but it does need to be installed professionally for these aspects to hold true. Hardcore needs to be put in place adequately for support and expansion joints installed properly to avoid cracking. Other watch points are slip resistance and drainage.
There are two main types of concrete driveways:
Pattern imprinted concrete This will give you the look you want – cobblestones, flagstones you name it. The difference is in the fact that the pattern is drawn onto a solid surface which prevents weeds from appearing and allows you to use the trusty power washer for sprucing up.
Exposed aggregate concrete For a textured finish consider this decorative concrete option which contains gravel – the properties are similar to pattern imprinted yet slip resistant.
Asphalt and tarmac are popular on self-builds but be mindful of how they look – oftentimes there’s a bit of an airway strip feel to them! The drainage aspect is also important to consider as is the requirement for a suitable hardcore base.
Resin bound aggregate, meanwhile, can be applied directly onto an existing concrete or tarmac base. It consists of gravel mixed with strong glue, finished with a trowel.
Finally, choose a local contractor with references and previous jobs you can view.
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