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How Much Does a Pressed Concrete Driveway Cost?

Pressed concrete is a very cost-effective alternative to authentic materials and if you use a skilled installer, then it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between pressed concrete and paving slabs or cobblestones. The average pressed concrete driveway cost in the UK for a coloured and patterned stamped concrete driveway is £87.50 per square metre.

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How much does a pressed concrete driveway cost on average?

Here are some guidelines for pressed concrete driveway costs.

Driveway size Average Price
40m2 driveway £3,500
60m2 driveway £5,250
100m2 driveway £8,750
Labour per day £250

What is pressed concrete?

Pressed or stamped concrete driveways - also called imprinted concrete - are an increasingly popular choice for householders as they have all the benefits that concrete can offer including price tag, combined with a unique and personalised design. Pressed concrete is traditional or regular concrete which is patterned or embossed to represent other materials like flagstones, brick, slate and even wood.

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Factors that affect pressed driveway costs

  • Whether an existing surface needs to be removed because it is not suitable to use as a sub-base
  • Do you need to re-route cables or pipework? Concrete is laid as one complete product and it would mean breaking up the surface to access any services that were underneath your driveway if they ever needed maintenance or repair
  • The size of the driveway
  • Whether it is an unusual or odd shape
  • The type of concrete
  • Depth of concrete
  • Thickness or depth of the hardcore
  • Whether colour is added
  • Geotextile membrane to prevent weeds from pushing through
  • Whether you add a boundary to the concrete like edging stones
  • Access to the site, difficult access usually increases labour time and cost
  • Planning permission fees
  • Drainage system unless your driveway is smaller than 5 metres square
  • The complexity and intricacy of the pressed design – simple patterns are cheaper
  • Waste skip hire
  • Where you live in the UK – labour costs are always higher in large cities and, in London and the Southeast, they can be as much as 20% higher than other areas

The advantages of a pressed concrete driveway

  • Pressed concrete is durable
  • Low maintenance if installed in line with national guidelines
  • Crack resistant if installed with the correct expansion joints
  • Applying a sealant will make the surface resistant to oils spills and chemical stains
  • The price is very competitive particularly as now, you can mimic a much more expensive surface like cobbles, block paving or tarmac using pressed concrete
  • Pressed concrete isn’t beyond the reach of a competent DIY enthusiast to lay themselves and it is also fairly straightforward to apply colour and sealant
  • There are huge variety of dyes and pattern stamps so you can create a bespoke design that really suits your house and is completely unique to your home
  • pressed concrete driveway costs are lower than that of Indian sandstone or cobblestone (view cobblestone driveway cost) but still look aesthetically pleasing.

Common pressed concrete patterns

There are an infinitesimal variety of concrete designs and patterns but here are some of the most popular:-

  • Slate – looks like large slates with a deliberately imperfect hand-cut edge
  • Cobblestones – mimics old-fashioned cobblestones with a light texture
  • Woodgrain – gives the appearance of 150mm wide open grain planks
  • Herringbone – provides a smooth surface with sharp corners and edges, a skilled contractor can make it almost impossible to tell the difference between this and real block paving
  • Random stone – heavily textured with just a random design to mimic an old, hand-laid surface,

Colour options

Adding colour will increase the aesthetic but will also increase the overall pressed driveway cost.

  • Acid Stain – adds earthy colours and soft blue-green tones
  • Dry Shake Colour Hardener – a wider range of choice than integral colours with tones which are more muted than Water-Based Stain and Concrete Dyes
  • Concrete Dye – a limitless variety of colours mixed diluted or undiluted with liquid concrete
  • Water-Based Stain – huge colour palette with the option to combine different stains to produce a unique finish
  • Integral Colours – provides earth tones and pastel shades

Planning permission

Planning permission is required for all non-permeable driveways that are more than five square metre in size. Non-permeable surfaces such as concrete don’t drain naturally so you will also need to install a separate drainage system. These extra steps add to the overall pressed driveway cost.

Checkout this short video discussing the pros and cons of a pressed concrete driveway installation:

For more information on pressed concrete driveway costs, learn more about costs related to pouring concrete, design options such as pressed concrete driveways, what you can do if your driveway is crumbling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to install a pressed concrete driveway?

The average length of time for installation is between 3-5 days.

Can I upgrade an old-fashioned and worn cement driveway with new pressed concrete?

Pressed concrete can be added as a top layer to an existing driveway, and this is much more affordable than replacing the driveway right down to the base. However, you do need a reasonably sound base to start with, so a contractor is going to have to assess whether this is possible. Using an unsound base is a waste of money as it will not adequately support the new layer on top which will eventually crack and crumble.

When is the best time of year to install a pressed concrete driveway?

Concrete mix contains a lot of water which needs protection from cold weather and freezing temperatures until the mixture has cured. Concrete cracks if it is laid in temperatures below 4-degrees as at this temperature, the water contained in it forms ice crystals which expand. The best time to pour concrete is spring through to autumn. If you are prepared to be flexible with your timing, you could spot an opportunity between cold snaps to lay the driveway. Most installers are less busy during the winter months, and you could bag yourself a discount.

How is colour added to the concrete?

Concrete creates its own natural colour depending on the ballast and sand used. However, to mimic brick weave or slate paving, you can now opt for a range of coloured dyes which can either be added to the mix, dusted onto the surface or hand applied using brushes and trowels. Clearly hand application is very labour intensive and could have quite a big impact on the final cost.

What type of guarantees and warranties are available with a pressed concrete driveway?

There are several guarantees which can be offered by the installer and also the manufacturer of some of the products used on the surface. These include the quality of the work (in the case of the contractor) and warranties against subsidence, colour change and surface cracks and degradation. There are two key caveats with most guarantees. First, the driveway must be professionally installed by a reputable contractor otherwise it may void product warranties and second, the surface must be looked after in line with recommended guidelines including any from product manufacturers.

Can I install a pressed concrete driveway myself?

Concrete is one of those materials which a competent DIY enthusiast can lay themselves. However, some of the more complex pressed designs and the ones that mimic other surfaces like cobbles or bricks do require a degree of skill and experience to achieve a good result. If you do decide to install your own pressed concrete driveway, then you will probably need to work with another person as things like ‘levelling off’ the top of the wet concrete is impossible for one person to do on their own.

What is curing?

Curing is the process whereby the concrete sets, it is a chemical process rather than the concrete just drying as many people think. However, you don’t want the concrete to dry out too quickly as it will dry before it cures, and this can cause cracking. If the weather has turned warm after your pressed concrete driveway has been laid, then you can sprinkle water onto the surface to protect it and prevent it from drying too quickly. Some builders recommend using wet blankets or a sheet of polythene. You should also cover the concrete if you are expecting a frost as this can cause water within the mix to freeze and expand. Never artificially dry the concrete so you can use the driveway more quickly. This interferes with the curing process and so although the concrete looks alright, it will crack later on.

How quickly can I use a pressed concrete driveway

You will be able to walk on it after a couple of days and drive on it after a week, but you shouldn’t park a vehicle on it for at least a month. This is how long it takes for the concrete to cure completely.

How thick should a pressed concrete driveway be?

The slab should be about 100mm thick for a typical domestic driveway. If you have commercial vehicles like vans or LGVs or even a motorhome, then you should increase the depth to avoid cracking and deterioration. If you increase the thickness to 225mm then you will increase the load bearing capacity by 50%.