Pros and Cons of Different Types of Driveway Materials

A newly laid driveway, using a high-quality driveway material.

Selecting the right materials for a driveway is a crucial aspect of enhancing a home’s curb appeal. Often an overlooked element, choosing the appropriate driveway material can not only accentuate your home’s aesthetics but add value to your home.

High-end materials such as pavers or brick may initially be more expensive. Still, they could yield a higher return on investment compared to the cheapest option for a driveway that doesn’t align with your home’s style.

Read on to learn more about driveway options and the pros, cons, and cost-effectiveness of different types of driveway materials in the UK.

Types of Driveway Materials - Your Options Explained

For many homeowners, the primary factor when deciding on the best driveway material is the overall cost. However, it’s essential not to base your decision solely on cost. Some materials are more weather-resistant, easier to maintain, and can even simplify tasks like snow removal. Another important consideration is how well the driveway material complements your home’s exterior.

Here we’ll run through each driveway material to give you a good idea of what will work best for you.

1. Asphalt Driveways

Best suited for: Colder climates, budget-conscious homeowners.

Asphalt is an appealing choice for homeowners with long driveways or those working within a tight budget. Its sturdy surface and relatively low installation cost make it the cheapest option for a driveway. Asphalt performs excellently in colder climates, but it needs regular resealing to maintain its condition. Despite its affordability, it may not be as visually appealing as other types of driveways.


  • Excellent performance in colder climates
  • Affordable, especially for larger driveways
  • It can be easily resurfaced and repaired
  • Quick installation


  • It tends to become soft and sticky in hot weather
  • It needs resealing regularly to maintain its condition (every 3-5 years)
  • Prone to cracking if not properly maintained
  • Not as visually appealing as other options

2. Concrete Block Paving Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners looking for a cost-effective, customisable and attractive option.

Concrete block paving offers homeowners a low-cost driveway material that can be customised to their preferences. With its durability and wide range of shapes, styles, and colours, block paving is a popular choice.


  • Durable and stronger than poured concrete
  • Available in a wide range of shapes, styles, and colours
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Provides good traction when wet
  • One of the cheapest driveway options.


  • High carbon footprint in the raw materials used
  • Blocks may shift over time
  • Weeds can grow in the cracks between blocks

3. Resin Bound Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners seeking a low-cost, eco-friendly and visually appealing surface.

Resin-bound driveways combine construction aggregates with a polyurethane resin, creating a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option. They require low maintenance and are available in various colours depending on the chosen aggregate. However, professional installation is necessary, and the cost may vary depending on the size, depth, and materials used. Resin driveways may not be suitable for all climates.


  • Low maintenance requirements.
  • Available in various colours depending on the chosen aggregate.
  • Environmentally friendly option.


  • Requires professional installation, increasing the overall cost.
  • It can be expensive depending on size, depth, and materials used.
  • It may not be suitable for all climates.
  • Not ideal for sloped surfaces.

4. Gravel Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners seeking a cost-effective and permeable solution, particularly in rural areas.

Gravel and shingle driveways are an affordable choice, especially for homeowners with long driveways. They offer a variety of size and colour options, allowing for customisation. However, they require consistent maintenance, such as raking and adding new gravel. Gravel driveways may not be ideal for snow removal and can cause dust accumulation on vehicles.


  • Most economical driveway material
  • Variety of size and colour options for gravel
  • Relatively DIY-friendly
  • Water permeable, promoting good drainage


  • Challenging to remove snow
  • Can cause dust accumulation on vehicles
  • Requires consistent maintenance, such as raking and adding new gravel
  • It needs to be replaced every few years

5. Turf Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners looking for a green alternative and light traffic areas.

Turf driveways combine grass with permeable pavers or concrete blocks, providing an eco-friendly and visually appealing option. They promote good drainage and sustainability but require regular trimming, mowing, and watering. Turf driveways may not be suitable for cold or dry climates and can be damaged by heavy traffic.


  • Visually interesting and customisable design
  • Water permeable, promoting good drainage
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly choice


  • Not well-suited for cold or dry climates
  • Requires regular trimming, mowing, and watering
  • Can be damaged by parked vehicles or heavy traffic

6. Imprinted Concrete Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners seeking a unique, durable and low-maintenance driveway.

Imprinted concrete driveways offer a long-lasting and customisable solution. They can mimic the appearance of natural stone or brick, adding an attractive touch to your home’s entrance. While they require minimal maintenance, intricate designs or premium materials can be costly. Imprinted concrete driveways may crack in freezing climates and require professional installation.


  • Durable and long-lasting, with minimal wear and tear
  • Low maintenance, requiring only occasional cleaning and resealing
  • Wide range of design options for a unique and personalised look


  • It can be expensive, particularly for intricate designs or premium materials
  • Prone to cracking in freezing climates due to ground shifts
  • Requires professional installation, adding to the overall cost

7. Cobblestone Driveways

Best suited for: Homeowners looking for an upscale appearance, particularly for historic properties.

Cobblestone driveways provide a classic and durable option, adding an authentic touch to historic properties. They are strong and long-lasting, capable of withstanding heavy traffic and harsh weather. However, cobblestone driveways come with a higher price tag and the installation process is more time-consuming.


  • A timeless look that adds value to your property and enhances curb appeal.
  • Strong and long-lasting, capable of withstanding heavy traffic and harsh weather.
  • Adds an authentic touch to historic properties.


  • Materials and installation can be significantly higher than other driveway options.
  • Installation is more time-consuming due to the need for precise placement and securing of the stones.
  • It can create an uneven surface unsuitable for some vehicles or pedestrians.

8. Clay Pavers

Best suited for: Homeowners seeking an attractive, eco-friendly and versatile option.

Clay pavers, also known as block paving or brick paving, offer a visually appealing and environmentally-friendly option. They come in various colours and styles, allowing for a personalised look. Clay pavers are more costly, particularly for intricate designs and may be susceptible to cracking in freezing temperatures.


  • A traditional and sophisticated look with intricate patterns and designs.
  • Eco-friendly choice as they can be recycled multiple times over.
  • Versatility in design allows you to create a personalised look that suits your style.


  • More costly than other paving options, particularly if you opt for intricate designs.
  • Unsuitable for DIY installation due to the intricate nature of clay paver installation.
  • Susceptible to cracking in freezing temperatures.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Driveway Materials

When selecting the ideal materials for your driveway, several factors should be taken into account to ensure that you make the best decision for your specific needs and preferences.

Here are some key factors to consider before making your choice:

1. Climate

The climate in your area plays a significant role in determining the most suitable driveway material. Temperature fluctuations, precipitation patterns, and other weather conditions can affect the durability and longevity of various materials.

For instance, concrete may be prone to cracking in areas with frequent freezing and thawing cycles, while gravel may not be the best choice in regions with heavy rainfall.

2. Budget

Your budget is another crucial factor to consider when choosing driveway materials. Different materials come at different price points, so it’s essential to determine how much you’re willing to spend on both materials and installation.

Keep in mind that some materials may require more frequent maintenance or replacement, which could impact the overall cost over time.

3. Aesthetics

The appearance of your driveway can significantly impact your home’s curb appeal, so it’s essential to think about the overall look you want to achieve. Consider materials that complement your home’s exterior design and landscaping.

Options like brick or stone can add an elegant touch, while asphalt or gravel may be more budget-friendly yet still visually appealing.

4. Maintenance

Different driveway materials require varying levels of maintenance, so it’s crucial to be realistic about the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest in upkeep.

Brick and stone driveways may need sealing and cleaning, while asphalt and concrete driveways could require patching and resealing. Assess your willingness to maintain your driveway and choose a material that aligns with your maintenance preferences.

Need Help Selecting & Installing Your Perfect Driveway?

By carefully considering these factors, you’ll be better equipped to choose the perfect driveway material that suits your specific needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences. This will ensure that your driveway looks great and lasts for years to come. If you are based in North London and need help choosing and installing your driveway, please contact us for a free quote. We would be happy to help you!