Concrete block paving or pattern imprinted concrete for your driveway?

Having a flashy appearance and a well-developed exterior is essential to improve the appearance of the house and apart from these, one of the first things that people often notice about a property, a well-maintained concrete driveway can add significant curb appeal. Having a proper driveway and curb adds a lot of value to the house and this is an investment because the driveway can help in increasing the property value by more than 10%.

It is estimated that an average car spends around 80% of its life parked at home and this is an important factor to consider. If the driveway is damaged and filled with potholes it can damage the car and there will always be trouble while parking and starting the car.

Having a good driveway can help in making a striking first impression with passers-by and visitors because the only way to enter a house is through its driveway and if the driveway is bad, the visitors can assume the same about the house.

So, has the time come to think about upgrading yours?

Upgrading your driveway – your options

If you are planning to upgrade your driveway, going for a concrete driveway is the best way to get the best value for money. The most common options are tarmac and concrete and going for concrete is advised because it costs less than tarmac and it is easier to maintain. Once you’ve decided concrete is right for your new driveway, you’ll have the choice of Concrete Block Paving (CBP) or Pattern Imprinted Concrete (PIC) to make.

But which one is right for your driveway?

What is Concrete Block Paving?

Concrete block paving – or brick paving – was very common in the 70s/early 80s and is the most reliable form of paving even now. In the earlier times, customers could have very less or almost no option of choice and they had to go with the basic colors and designs for their paving, in the present-day technology has advanced and we have various options and the paving can be customized according to the likes of the customer. There are traditional and modern designs with different textures, range of colors, and even material options.

CPB is framed by an edge restraint and laid on top of a sub-base and sand course. These blocks interlock with one another to create a bond, which provides the strength your driveway needs.

What is Pattern Imprinted Concrete?

Pattern imprinted concrete – or stamped concrete – driveways are a relative newcomer to the scene. Instead of using individual blocks to create your finished surface, a layer of concrete is poured on a suitable sub-base. Colour is then applied, as well as a color hardener.

To create the desired finished effect, the wet concrete has a patterned mat applied to it. You’ll have a choice of designs – from Ashlar Stone to Brickwork and Textured Stone. The idea of PIC is to replicate another material, giving the concrete – and your drive – a more appealing finish.

Concrete Block Paving or Pattern Imprinted Concrete?

Both CBP and PIC have their own advantages and when it comes down to choosing either of the available options, picking the right option depends on the type and the conditions of the driveway. We've taken a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each. This way, you’ll be able to make a fully informed choice.

What are the advantages of Concrete Block Paving driveways?


  • Concrete block paving comes in a variety of styles, colors, and textures. These concrete blocks can be customized and you can print any design that you want. These concrete paving driveways are generally attractive and grab the attention of everybody who passes by.


  • One major advantage of having a CBP driveway is that it can last for many years with the right maintenance. There will be no cracks of any kind and the concrete doesn't start to chip away after some time. If the CBP driveway is maintained properly, there will no longer be a need to replace it.


  • Some CBP options – like the Drivesett Tegula Priora (pictured) – let surface water drain away safely, which complies with current planning rules for front gardens.

What are the disadvantages of Concrete Block Paving?


CBP driveways demand a lot of attention during the initial stages of the pavement. Proper material and procedures have to be used while laying down the payment and if there are any compromises the payment can start sinking or moving when there is movement on the surface. It’s not unusual to think sinking/movement is down to the product, but it can be due to what it’s been laid on.

  • Using a qualified installer such as a Marshalls’ accredited installer can help avoid this.


The costs of getting a CBP can touch the roof. The materials are costly and there should be professional supervision so you should pay extra for the supervision. The costs can also depend on the product you choose, but the starting block paving driveway cost (per m2) can be the more expensive of the two concrete driveway options.

What are the advantages of Pattern Imprinted Concrete driveways?


The installation procedure for patterned concrete driveways can be much more efficient than CBP driveways as the process allows to cover larger areas quicker.


The solid fiber-mesh reinforced concrete base that’s laid on top of an appropriate sub-base means a PIC driveway is unlikely to suffer from any movement or sinking.

What are the disadvantages of Pattern Imprinted Concrete driveways?

  • Less attractive?

The pattern imprinted concrete driveways can be a little less attractive because these patterns come as mats and it is not possible to lay down the mats exactly. Some mats have to be cut in half to fit in the edges and this placement can be a little less attractive.

  • Cracking

Concrete is very strong but it is extremely brittle. These concrete mats are sometimes laid in an improper manner which causes the concrete to bend and then they bend, they develop cracks. This results in the concrete losing its strength. While patch repair is possible, it can often require whole areas to be resurfaced.

How much does a driveway cost?

The costs for the delivery depends on the size of the driveway and the materials that you choose. There are additional costs that come with the installation of the driveway.

How much does a block paving driveway cost?

A traditional CBP driveway can cost anywhere between £45 and £70 per square meter. These values cover the cost of block paving, but not your installation and accessories.

Example: For a 50m2 driveway, your estimated cost will be £2,250 to £3,500.

How much does an imprinted driveway cost?

Pattern imprinted concrete is cheaper than CBP, but it can work out more expensive too. Again this depends on several factors, but you’ll be looking at between £25 and £130 per square meter.

Example: For a 50m2 driveway, your estimated cost could range from £1,250 to £6,500.

Our verdict?

Both CBP and PIC driveways have their advantages, but we believe that CBP comes out on top. It’s not just for driveways either. If you’re creating a new patio or garden path, the wide range of styles, shapes, and colors makes CBP a highly versatile paving option. It can also be laid in different patterns to complement the look of your home and your taste.

With CBP, you get the long-term performance that PIC can’t quite match. Precast permeable concrete paving can also help in the fight against flooding and pollution. As permeable CPB will comply with current planning rules, you won’t have to worry about applying for permission for your new drive – or face retrospective action from your local authority.

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