How Much Do Cobblestone Driveways Cost?
Cobblestone driveways are one of the more expensive options when it comes to relaying an old driveway or constructing a new one. However, the two key advantages of cobblestones are that they can last for decades, and you can customise the design, effectively creating your own pattern. So how much do cobblestone driveways cost? The average cost per square metre for a cobblestone driveway is between £80 and £130 including labour.
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What are Cobblestones?
Cobblestones are small, regular blocks of natural stone paving and are usually made of limestone, basalt or granite. The appearance of cobblestones adds a traditional and rustic charm to an area as well as being very hard wearing and durable. There are numerous different types to choose from including tumbled limestone cobblestone, sandstone cobblestone and blue cobblestone.
Originally, cobblestones were taken from streams and riverbeds where they had been rounded into smooth shapes by the water.
Granite cobblestones are one of the most popular choices for roads, walkways and pavements because of the stone’s huge durability and they have also become an attractive option for the external areas of rural and traditional properties.
There are plenty of cheaper alternatives which are designed to mimic the look of cobblestones, but these tend to be made of different materials.
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What factors influence cobblestone costs?
There are a number of different factors which will influence how much cobblestone driveways cost and these include:-
- The complexity of the design – intricate patterns take longer and push up cobblestone costs.
- The choice of cobblestone or block paver
- The area or size of the driveway
- Whether an old driveway needs to be removed first and any other preparation works
- The length of time the installation takes
- Hire costs including a mini digger for the foundations and skip hire for waste
- Extras like a weed prevention layer
- Access to the site
Cobblestone driveway cost breakdown
Most cobblestones cost between £20 and £60 per square metre depending upon exactly what you choose.
In addition to materials, there will be labour charges to excavate the foundations and waste disposal costs for getting rid of the existing surface. A mini digger costs on average £150 to hire and a skip between £80-£100.
Cobblestones require a base layer to bed into so there is the cost of the material and a roller for compacting. Most reputable driveway companies will also install a weed prevention mat to stop grass and weed growth between the cobbles.
How are cobblestone driveways installed?
The process of laying cobblestones is very similar to brick pavers and concrete pavers. Cobblestones are usually set in either sand or mortar.
The installation company will usually begin by marking out the ground where the driveway is to be laid. Existing paving or surface will need to be removed and the designated area broken up to around ten inches deep. The area of excavated ground is then flattened out and smoothed off.
Approximately a 5” layer of compactable gravel base is laid on top of the smooth, excavated surface and then compressed with a heavy roller or a machine called a power tamper. Sand is then poured onto the top of this to around a depth of 2”.
If the design includes edging stones to create a border, then these are installed first followed by the cobblestones which are set by hand to a pattern of the homeowner’s choosing. Finally, a roller is used to level the surface and secure the stones into the sand. The joints are filled and then the entire surface is finished with a sealant.
Cobblestone driveways should be free from cars for the first 48 hours at least after they have been laid although human footfall is fine after just a couple of hours.
What are the advantages of installing a cobblestone driveway?
Despite the high price tag, cobblestones can still be a really worthwhile choice for your property and here are some of the reasons why.
- Appearance – cobblestones have a very desirable aesthetic and complement an old or contemporary property
- Permeability – cobblestone driveways have a water-permeable surface, so you don’t have to worry about drainage issues and the added cost of installing drain runs to take away excess water
- Long life – although cobblestone costs are certainly a large upfront financial amount, they will last a lifetime if correctly installed
- Low maintenance – cobblestones once laid require virtually no maintenance as the natural stone is very hard wearing and resistant to all types of extreme weather, both hot and cold. Cobblestones are also very hard to damage
- Endless design choices – there are so many different types of cobblestones in terms of size, shape, texture and colour that homeowners have the opportunity to bespoke their own driveway with a unique pattern of their choice
- Kerb appeal – a beautifully laid cobblestone driveway will increase the desirability of a property and uplift the value of your home when it comes to sale time
Finding the right driveway company
Installing cobblestone driveways is reasonably specialist and a significant investment for any householder so it is important to find a driveway company that has the right skills and can demonstrate a track record of doing this sort of work. Although using experts may increase your cobblestone driveways cost, the quality of finish will be worth paying more for.
Ask around friends, family and work colleagues for a personal recommendation. You might even see a cobblestone driveway in your neighbourhood that you like the look of. It could be worth knocking on the front door to see if you can find out who the contractor was and the cobblestone cost. However, if the driveway has been in place for a long time, then the homeowner may not know the identity of the installer, particularly if they have bought the property relatively recently.
Using social media forums, community or neighbourhood groups, can be a good way to find some names and numbers but remember, a lot of people will recommend their friends or family. Make sure you post clearly that you only want recommendations of people who have actually installed a cobblestone driveway for the person commenting on the post.
There are plenty of trader platforms where you can leave just a few quick details and receive quotes directly to your inbox.
Funding a new cobblestone driveway
A new cobblestone driveway is one of the more expensive home improvements on the list, but it will add value to your property and create a beautiful, functional and low maintenance space which you can use for extra parking.
Other than using savings, many people fund expensive external projects with money obtained on a re-mortgage or home improvement loan. You will need equity in your property and to pass your lender’s affordability test.
Some driveway companies will have a link to a third-party organisation and can offer finance packages for expensive projects. These are attractive and encourage homeowners to sign on the dotted line but always shop around as you might be able to get a cheaper rate elsewhere. These arrangements are subject to the same credit and status requirements as any other type of finance agreement.
Although cobblestone driveways cost more than the many other types of driveway, they look amazing and increase your home's curb appeal. Other solid suggestions for driveways are shingle driveways which can add a rustic charm, pressed concrete which can come in a selection of colours, or Indian sandstone which offer exceptional value for money and aesthetic appeal.
Here's a short video showing a typical cobblestone driveway installation:
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a cobblestone driveway last for?
Many of the old cobblestones in towns and cities were laid in the Victorian era. Correctly and professionally laid cobblestones can last for over one hundred years. Not only are cobblestone driveways very long lasting but they retain their attractive appearance and don’t wear or decay. Any natural changes to the surface over time only adds to the charm and aesthetic appearance and won’t impact on the ability of the cobblestones to do their job.
What are the disadvantages of a cobblestone driveway?
Cost is the main drawback that puts people off although a cobblestone driveway does represent an excellent long-term investment. Some people dislike walking on cobblestones especially if they regularly wear high heels or have mobility issues. However, modern cobblestone driveways are uniformly flat compared to an old cobblestone street that you might encounter in a town or city.
Despite any form of prevention, sometimes weeds and moss can grow in between the cobblestones. A weed prevention mat is really essential as part of the installation. Some people feel that a large cobblestone area is just a little too stark and barren, but you can soften the look with shrubs and plants in pots which have the added benefit of being portable.
Are there any cheaper alternatives to real cobblestones?
Concrete cast pavers can provide the appearance of cobblestones and are cheaper to both buy and much quicker to install than hand laying individual stones.
Can I install a cobblestone driveway myself?
Hiring equipment and doing it yourself is not impossible but it will take a long time, even if you can work on it full time. It is quicker to hire a professional installer and you are likely to end up with a better result as well as guarantees for the workmanship and materials.
How long does it take to install a cobblestone driveway?
A small driveway will take between 3-5 days, a large area can take anything up to two weeks.
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