Right now, imprinted concrete is arguably the most affordable way to get a distinct and elegant driveway. Ask anyone in the driveway industry, and they will tell you that although other driveway materials may have more aesthetic value, elegance and durability, none offers as much value for money as pattern imprinted concrete, aka PIC.
Imprinted concrete driveways have all the benefits of a regular concrete driveway (durability, weed resistance and low maintenance), but don’t suffer from the same vulnerability – poor aesthetic value. And these patterns and colours that give imprinted concrete their unique look can come in as many styles as you can imagine.
So, if you are looking for a relatively cheap way to add significant kerb appeal to your home, look no further. Imprinted concrete driveways are the answer, and in this article, we will go through the costs.
How muchdoes an imprinted concrete driveway cost?
An imprinted concrete driveway project can set you back by about £1400 to 5200 depending on the size of the driveway (mostly) and other factors that we will consider later.
To do this, we will divide the budget into labour costs and materials costs. So, if you want to install imprinted concrete for a driveway of small, average and large size respectively, it will cost:
|Size (square metres):||Material cost:||Labour cost:||Final Cost:|
Now that you have an idea of the final cost, here is a further breakdown of the material costs.
Imprinted concrete: £70 to £80
Edgings: £900 to £1000
Weed membrane: £40 to £50
Sharp sand: £130 to £160
Hardcore: £30 to £50
So, there you have it. Use these figures as a starting point before approaching driveway installers. Note that the term “Installers” is capitalised, because it is important to approach more than one person before hiring. Then you can compare their rates, references, and anything else (that may be important to you) before choosing the person for the job.
On average, expect their rates (i.e. labour cost) to be between £100 and £250 per day.
The Imprinted concrete driveway costs calculator
The estimates above are only intended to give you ideas of what an imprinted concrete driveway costs. When you finally decide to install one, you will need to do a little calculating. Don’t worry. It’s not so difficult. All you have to do is measure the size of your driveway or the space where you want to install it.
You want the figures in square metres. Then using our online calculator or by yourself, you can calculate the quantity needed for each material. Add a little extra for wastage and labour cost, and you will have a pretty good idea of the imprinted concrete driveway costs.
Now, these calculations don’t include the cost of preparing the ground. You will have to deal with that separately. But expect to spend more money depending on the condition of the space. We will explore this further when talking about the factors that affect driveway prices.
For imprinted concrete, the cost per square metre should be between £70 and £90. This includes the cost of every material and labour for every stage of the project (from preparing the ground to finally pouring concrete, imprinting and sealing).
How long does it take to install an imprinted concrete driveway?
The time it takes to install any kind of new driveway depends on the size of that driveway and the complexity of the design.
Using the sizes 20, 40 and 80 square metres to represent small, medium and large in terms of driveway sizes, expect the project to take about 1, 2 to 3 and 5 to 6 days. This depends a lot on the amount of preparation that is needed.
Then add an extra 1-5 days of waiting for the concrete to dry. Your new concrete driveway may be dry enough to moderate foot traffic by day three, but it needs a little more time to get ready for cars.
However, this timeframe assumes that the space (where you want the driveway installed) doesn’t need much work done before it is ready. If not, the project may take a while longer. But once the ground is prepared, the rest should go smoothly.
Everything is in the preparation!
Here is a quick breakdown of the whole concrete driveway installation process to make things more interesting and easier to understand.
Step 1: Check the space for pipes (water, gas etc.) and cables (electric, telecoms etc.).
Step 2: Excavate to get rid of weeds, excess soil, and stone. This also creates enough room to lay the materials without affecting the driveway’s entrance. You want the space to be about 200 to 250mm deeper than the desired level for the driveway.
Step 3: Install drainage channels.
Step 4: Install edgings and blocks to set the boundary for your new driveway, and to keep concrete from overflowing (when you finally pour it).
Step 5: level and compact the soil. You need an even surface.
Step 6: Lay the weed membrane. Check for weeds again before doing this.
Step 7: Lay a sub-base of 100 to 150 mm. This is simply a layer of stone, followed by sharp sand.
Step 8: Pour the wet concrete and spread until even. For an imprinted concrete driveway, you need a depth of about 90 to 100mm.
Step 8: Spread colourant and imprinted concrete sealer over the wet concrete
Step 9: Imprint your desired pattern (s)
Step 10: Cut expansion and crack control joints into the still wet and now stamped concrete.
Step 11: Wait for your new pattern imprinted concrete driveway to dry.
Factors affecting pattern imprinted concrete driveway costs
Despite everything we have discovered so far, expect driveway prices to vary. In fact, we have already insinuated this, and you probably expected this. So let’s look at the factors behind that variation, starting with the type of main driveway material itself, the concrete mix.
The type of concrete: Concrete comes in types. Some are stronger and more durable, aesthetically pleasing, heat resistant, porous than others. These all depend on the proportions of the materials in the concrete mix and type of the cement. Costs will vary because of this. You don’t have to go for the best of the best or know much about these things. The driveway installers will take care of it. But knowing a thing or two can help you get the best value for your money.
The size of your driveway: Surface area alone is the biggest factor affecting driveway costs. Remember that we have been measuring material prices and quantity at cost per square metre up to this point. So, size is one of the first things to look at. As you can see from our imprinted driveway cost projections, a driveway of 80 square metres costs almost twice as much as 40 square metres.
The shape of your driveway: Picture two driveways of similar sizes. Driveway A is rectangular, while B is an S shape. Without a doubt, driveway B will cost more than A. Because even if it takes the same amount of materials to install pattern imprinted concrete on both, driveway B will require more working hours and skill.
So, depending on the shape of your driveway, labour costs and even material costs may differ.
The complexity of the imprinted patterns: We have already mentioned that imprinted concrete can come in several patterns and colours. Sticking to the main categories alone, we have stone, slate, wood, tile, seamless textile and brick patterns. There are also several patterns of varying complexity, attractiveness, and, of course, cost within each of these categories. So, consider these when choosing patterned concrete.
Condition of the space (i.e. driveway area): The space where you want imprinted concrete driveway installed will fall into either of the following two categories. You’ll either have a driveway already there, in which case it needs to be removed. Or you’re turning a “garden” into a driveway. Both have their own set of challenges.
In situation one, you may decide to lay your new concrete driveway on top of the old one. Or you may decide to remove the old driveway and use only the sub-base instead. Either of these two will save you some money but make sure you are not putting your new driveway on a shaky foundation. Or that by installing it this way, the driveway level won’t be so high that it would disrupt the entrance. So in most cases, it may be better to remove the entirety of the old driveway and start afresh.
In situation two, you are starting on virgin ground. And as you can see from the “How long does it take to install an imprinted concrete driveway?” section, it may take a little more work and money to prepare the ground for your brand new driveway. Just follow the steps (excavation, sub-based, imprinted concrete etc.). And don’t forget to add a weed barrier and drainage channel.
Why a pattern imprinted concrete driveway?
Pattern imprinted concrete is the perfect marriage between quality and affordability when it comes to driveways. There are some alternatives, but here are some reasons to go with PIC.
PIC driveways offer significant kerb appeal at low cost: Concrete is still the most affordable and practical material for building driveways. But, nobody can ever accuse it of resulting in the most beautiful or unique driveways. However, pattern imprinted concrete and concrete block paving (CBP) are changed that view. Now you can have a concrete driveway that is unique and beautiful without having to spend too much money.
There are many different patterns to choose from: There are so many options for patterns and colours. So its bye bye dull concrete driveways and hello interesting looking Pic driveways. We have already mentioned the main categories earlier. So now, let’s mention some popular imprinted concrete patterns. These include cobblestone, ashlar stone, wood plank, basket weave and herringbone, to name a few.
PIC driveways are easy to install: It is similar installing a regular concrete driveway, except with a few extra steps. As you can tell from our installation guide, it’s not beyond the DIY enthusiasts. However, whether we recommend doing it yourself is another issue that we will discuss later. But the fact remains that pattern imprinted concrete driveways are some of the easiest to install.
Pic driveways are low maintenance: Even more so than regular concrete driveways, especially if you add crack control joints. It doesn’t take much to keep these (PIC) driveways looking good and healthy. Just regular sweeping, washing and the occasional more intense cleaning and maintenance steps, all of which we will discuss when we talk about maintaining pattern imprinted concrete driveways.
Do I need planning permission to install pattern imprinted concrete driveways?
No, you don’t need planning permission to install pattern concrete driveways or any kind of driveway. However, there are two rules you need to be aware of-
- The driveway entrance must not be affected.
- There must be a drainage channel unless the driveway is no larger than 5 square metres in size
It’s pretty easy to adhere to the first rule. You obviously want your driveway to aid traffic to and from your property; you don’t want it to disrupt it. So, if your new driveway is well-installed, you won’t have to worry about this.
Adhering to rule number two is a little trickier. Your driveway will likely be larger than 5 square metres. Even one (driveway) of 20 square metres may not park more than two cars. So, you will need a drainage channel, like a soakaway or Aco drain.
Something to divert water away from roads and other parts of your property you don’t want to be flooded. You can even multitask by diverting the water to your lawn, garden or flower beds.
Can I install pattern imprinted concrete myself?
The simple answer – yes. The complicated answer – it depends.
Our recommendation is don’t.
There is no denying that you can save some serious cash (more than 50%) by doing some or all of the project by yourself. But there has to be a line between price and quality. Take pattern imprinted concrete as an example; it balances price and quality.
So, if you want a PIC driveway that will look good, be good and last long, we recommend hiring a professional. That’s the thing about life. When we hire someone to perform a service, it is not because we can’t perform that service and do it well ourselves. It’s is usually because that person will make our lives easier and do a better job.
Installing any kind of driveway is intense, time-consuming physical labour. It also takes some knowledge and experience to get the right proportions for mixing and order for laying driveway materials. Depending on the complexity and scale of the project, the risk of getting overwhelmed and making mistakes rises pretty fast.
How do you maintain imprinted concrete driveways?
One of the benefits of a concrete driveway is that weeds and can’t grow on it. Even mould will have a hard time finding its way to your driveway. So, most of the maintenance you will be doing is simply keeping your driveway clean.
Most times, sweeping alone will do. Other times, especially because of oil and chemical spills, you may have to wash the driveway with detergent and water. If that doesn’t work, then you may try a pressure washer (although don’t go crazy with it!). Although we don’t like this because it causes some wear on the sealant, concrete itself. Limit pressure washing if you don’t want the patterned concrete to wear, and lose its colour too soon.
Beyond simply keeping your concrete pattern driveway clean, you still have to do something else. Every few years, you need to reapply the sealant every three to five years. It depends on the amount of traffic on your driveway and the weather you have had. However, some sealants are slippery, so avoid applying them during winter or spring. The ice and rain will make your recently sealed driveway slippery, even though the concrete itself is slip-resistant.
How much resealing imprinted concrete driveways cost
Fixing and resealing an imprinted driveway could be pricey. This is why it is crucial to get things right during installation.
Think of it this way – you are dealing with a large concrete slab. So, you won’t just have to reseal the affected part. You also want it to look as similar as possible to the remaining parts. You don’t want the resealed parts to stick out like a sore thumb. This is where the trouble is. It is difficult to make the new parts blend perfectly with the older ones.
To have any chance of achieving this, you will also have to do more damage (crack more) to the concrete surface before getting started. These will cost more money depending on the level of the damage and the surface area.
Alternatives to pattern imprinted concrete?
If you haven’t decided, here are some alternative driveway options.
Regular concrete driveways: cost a lot less but don’t offer the same aesthetic appeal. Plus, they all look the same. So with this option, you won’t have the unique textures and patterns of patterned concrete driveways.
Block Paving driveway: One of the most popular and versatile materials. However, imprinted concrete costs much less. Concrete block paving driveways (CBP) are still affordable. But by still being a block paving driveway, it costs much more to maintain.
Tarmac driveway: here is another affordable option. However, it doesn’t have as much variety (it comes in only red and black) and lacks the low maintenance and durability of an imprinted driveway.
Grass driveway: Grass may be easier to install, even with geo girds, but you will end up spending a lot more money and time on maintenance.
Gravel driveway: this final option has many benefits, especially regarding ease of installation, maintenance and repair. It is almost unbeatable on all three fronts. But it doesn’t offer as much elegance, longevity and comfort as the others.
How Long Does Imprinted Concrete Last?
A well-installed and well-maintained imprinted concrete driveway will remain in good shape for at least ten years. Of course, that lifespan may be affected by factors like traffic and weather conditions.
For example, concrete expands and contracts during hot and cold weather, which is the main culprit for cracking. It is also why you need the control joints to allow concrete to do its thing without cracking. However, it will happen eventually. But all you have to do is repair the damaged parts. If not, your driveway may start losing its looks, and weeds may also grow through the cracks.
When Can I Start Using My New Driveway?
Wait until day three for moderate foot traffic and day five for cars. You can add a few extra days for good measure. The only rule is to allow the damp concrete to dry off totally.
What are the Supply Costs of an Imprinted Concrete Driveway?
Supplies for a pattern imprinted concrete driveway cost between £600 to £1400. That includes block and edgings, weed membrane, sharp sand, hardcore and imprinted concrete cost.
What are the Additional Costs of an Imprinted Concrete Driveway?
Additional costs are for a manhole cover (£250), steps (£150), Aco drain (£80), pin kerb (£25), boot kerb (£40). You may need none, one or more of each.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove an Imprinted Driveway?
It could cost between £60 to £70 per square metre to remove an imprinted concrete driveway. So, the final costs depend on the size of the driveway. For example, for a 20 square metre, the price will be about £1200 to £1400.