Pattern Imprinted Concrete Or Block Paving- Which Is Best For You?
Pattern imprinted concrete and block paving are two of the most popular choices for driveways and patios. They offer something a little more interesting than plain concrete or tarmac. But how do you choose between imprinted concrete or block paving? And how do you know which one is best for you? First of all, the methods for each driveway option are completely different: Pattern Imprinted Concrete - a suitable sub-base is laid down and then a layer of concrete is poured over the top. Your chosen colour is applied and whilst the concrete is still wet, a specific pattern is imprinted to create your chosen effect. Block Paving - individual bricks or blocks are laid down in a predetermined pattern. You can choose the colour and material of the bricks, as well as the design of the overall pattern. There are pros and cons to each driveway choice but overall, they are both excellent options to choose. We’ll have a look at the similarities and differences of both types of finish.


Block paving is extremely durable, slightly more so than pattern imprinted concrete. However, over time, and if the blocks aren't laid properly, they can start to spread or loosen. Some sink-age can occur with specific blocks too if a heavy vehicle is parked for long stretches or if there is heavy foot traffic. Pattern imprinted concrete won't spread or loosen because of the solid base that is formed, however, it does have a shorter shelf life overall.


Pattern imprinted concrete has a little bit of a quicker installation process which is reflected in the price, compared to block paving. You can cover a large area fairly quickly via pattern imprinted concrete whereas block paving is a slightly more laboured process.


Both types of finishes do require some maintenance to ensure that they retain their longevity and that they stay looking well. Pattern imprinted concrete requires the sealant to be reapplied every 2-4 years, whereas with block paving you really just need to give it a clean and a brush to keep it looking good, although beware of weeds...


These nuisances find their way into seemingly every nook and cranny! There’s more chance of this happening with block paving simply due to the tiny gaps that will be left between each block or brick. While these gaps are perfectly normal and just occur where each block meets the next, it does mean that pesky weeds can sneak their way in. You just have to stay on top of the maintenance to keep them at bay. Whilst weeds can occur with pattern imprinted concrete, the likelihood is very very low. Price Block paving is more expensive than pattern imprinted concrete because you’re buying individual bricks rather than just concrete and colour. However, block paving is more durable and is cheaper to repair, so that’s something to factor in when weighing up the price difference.


Block paving requires no additional drainage and is classed as a permeable option. Pattern imprinted concrete however is a non-permeable option which means you must incorporate proper drainage solutions. This is vital to comply with garden and patio regulations that are in place.


Block paving bricks can be easily lifted up, and replaced, if access is needed underneath or the bricks need repairing. There is minimal disruption and once the blocks are replaced it usually looks as good as new. With pattern imprinted concrete it’s a bit trickier to gain access underneath and afterwards, can look a little disjointed. It’s much easier to tell when you’ve had to repair pattern imprinted concrete which leads some people to have the whole driveway or patio replaced. This can obviously be very expensive.


Most people generally prefer the look of block paving compared to pattern imprinted concrete. That isn’t to say that pattern imprinted concrete doesn’t look good. Quite the opposite in fact. You can create intricate designs that attempt to mirror the look of block paving or Indian stones in a more time-effective and slightly cheaper way.


Whether you choose block paving or pattern imprinted concrete, you need to ensure that you use a reputable, skilled paving company who can do the job to a high standard. Then, no matter which option you choose, you’ll be happy with the result. There are some differences between the two options and whether these affect your decision will depend entirely on your own circumstances. We’re specialists in block paving and pattern imprinted concrete, so whichever you choose we can both help from offering advice right through to laying your chosen surface.  Contact us to discuss your requirements and we can get started on your perfect exterior today!
Published: April 2017

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