Thinking of having a new driveway or landscaped garden in Birmingham? Adding a beautiful new driveway creates a perfect first impression of your house. There are now a wide range of materials available that can enhance your drive and give you a real sense of satisfaction. Gone are the days of just having tarmac, now you can have anything from red tarmac with contrasting block paved edges, to a complete block paved drive or tumble paving. Black tarmac drives are still popular, but they tend to have a block paved border that is pleasing to the eye. With a large number of colours available, driveways have become an extension of our interior design and can really flatter a property.

Having a new driveway installed isn’t cheap. Primarily because the material costs are high. Don’t be surprised if two thirds of the material costs of driveways are in the base, but, long-term, a good sub-base will ensure that your drive doesn’t sink and maintains it’s level appearance. With strict building control measures in place, much of the cost goes into ensuring the sub-base and drainage systems meet modern day requirements. All new drives that slope towards the road should have channel drainage to prevent large amounts of surface water from entering the local rivers adding to increased flooding. In order to prevent damage to your property, adequate drainage should also be installed where driveways slope towards the house. All driveways and paths etc, should be at least 150mm (2 brick courses) below the house DPC. This will have consequences to the amount of material that needs to be removed from the site, to allow for adequate sub-base and any depth of paving. For example, block paving driveways that are subject to large amounts of traffic, cars etc really should have a heavy duty membrane, and at least 150mm sub-base comprising of 120mm MOT grade aggregate, 30mm sharp sand screed, followed by a minimum 50mm block. This means that you will need to clear the site, 20cm or 200mm below the house DPC before you even think about laying a sub-base. We strongly recommend that you avoid blocks that are less than 50mm, because they will not withstand any significant weight or impact. Red & Black tarmac drives have a slightly different sub structure, but equally still require a good sub-base to preserve the integrity of the drive.

Driveways, tend not to add equity to your property in the same way that adding a new room or garage conversion would, however a well designed and professional looking drive will certainly be a selling feature of any property.

Always opt for a driveway & patio company that carries backing from their local Trading Standards. Companies such as  Aspire Driveways Birmingham, Block Paving & Patio Experts have some really good credentials and have the backing of their local trading standards, which really does carry weight and trust. There are just too many unscrupulous building firms out there, so it’s best to stick to a firm that is recommended by your local trading standards.

Foundations & Groundworks

Carrying out groundworks is a very skilled job, especially if it involves using steel reinforcement bars / cages to strengthen the foundation. When steel reinforcement has been specified by a structural engineer, then we work with MJC Construction. Who are Nationwide groundworks contractors based in Solihull.

Advice about maintaining Block Paving

Block paving is relatively maintenance free. When installed correctly (particularly with a heavy duty membrane) weeds are very unlikely to grow up through the paving, they will however grow down between the small joints. There really is little that can be done about this, so once or twice a year they will need to be either removed by hand or by weed killer. Personally, we use a Karcher Jet Wash with the paving attachment as this avoid large amounts of water splashing up walls etc. Once the paving has been cleaned we then refill the joints with fresh kiln dried sand making sure it is swept thoroughly between the joints. Because we have access to a compactor wacker plate, we would use this to ensure that the joints get as full as possible. Sweeping tends to just fill the top of the gaps. There are plenty of cleaning agents on the market that are designed to be used in conjunction with a pressure washer, most high street DIY shops sell these.

The alternative to the above is to have the block paving sealed. This gives the paving a shine, but avoid using a jet wash if it has been sealed as this will probably strip the sealant away.

Advice about maintaining Tumble Block

Tumble blocks should be maintained as block paving above.

Cost Saving Advice for the Removal of Soil, Clay, Hardcore and Building Rubble

Skips are expensive and require considerable wheelbarrow effort to dispose of soil and clay etc. We always prefer to use a grab truck because they can dispose of the equivalent of 2 1/2 builders skips. We regularly use grab hire firms, because they are reliable and offer discounts for repeat customers. We have also found them to be one of the cheapest professional firms whom are able to recycle materials using their transfer waste station.

Advice about cleaning Tarmac

Tarmac is rough in nature so tend to be a breeding ground for algae and moss. We personally do not like using high powered jet wash on tarmac, because eventually you get water ingression and the tarmac will then begin to degrade and crumble. The best way we find to clean tarmac is to first brush the tarmac with a stiff broom to remove as much of the moss and algae. You then spray the surface with a concentrated moss and algae killer. After a few days, when the moss and algae has been killed you can then brush the tarmac again and remove the dead weeds. Try if you can to avoid using products that require use of water; this will preserve the longevity of the tarmac. The British weather is relentless enough without adding further water to the cause.