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Can I Pave My Driveway Myself? – [DIY Drive Paving Guide]

If you’re eyeing that driveway and thinking, ‘I could do that, then you’re probably right – you can pave a driveway yourself quite easily. But should you?

Paving a residential driveway is not an easy task and requires some heavy lifting and special tools that most homeowners don’t have in their sheds.

Consider the pros and cons of DIY drive paving before getting started. On the plus side, it’s definitely cheaper to do it yourself; but on the downside, it can be more difficult than you think, and if something goes wrong, fixing it might not be so simple.

In over 15 years of landscaping, we’ve learnt how to install paving reliably and efficiently for a range of different spaces. This kind of project can be hard work and fairly tricky at times, but following a tried and tested method will produce beautiful results.

Here’s our guide, formed from the experience of countless jobs, on how to do paving driveway installations safely, correctly and efficiently to give your property a bit more curb appeal!

So if you’re wondering, can I pave my driveway myself?

Read on for our tips on how to pave a driveway like a pro, and decide for yourself if this is a job best left to the professionals.

Should You Pave Your Own Driveway?

Paving your own driveway is entirely possible, but it’s backbreaking work. However, if you have experience in landscaping and construction, it can be relatively straightforward.

For most people, laying paving and the work that goes into an entire driveway installation can be a mammoth task that can easily go wrong. Making sure that you have the correct equipment, materials and are following the most appropriate methods can be difficult.

How Long To Install Driveway Paving?

For smaller driveways, it usually takes around five working days to remove the old driveway, install the new foundation, install the new paved driveway and clean away any debris.

Time will need to be spent making sure that the new driveway has proper drainage and equipment will need to be hired to aid in the excavation process. Dump trucks may be necessary to transport and apply the gravel, soil, sand or other driveway base materials.

A professional paving company or contractor may be able to complete a job of this size in as little as three days, but if you’re new to laying driveways, this job could take a lot longer!

What Tools Will I Need?

To complete a DIY paver driveway, you’ll probably need to consider hiring tools that aren’t commonly available in the average household’s garage. Depending on the size of the driveway and how difficult it may be to remove the old paving, large excavation tools and vehicles may be necessary.

Here’s a list of tools commonly used for paving a driveway DIY:

Planning Permission for Residential Driveways

Before beginning any paving driveway DIY, you should understand the rules around planning permission for your property.

Homeowners who intend to install a new or replacement driveway using porous material such as concrete, gravel, stone pavers, or porous asphalt will not need planning permission. The new paving or concrete driveway structure will allow for water drainage.

You will find more info on SUD’s compliant driveways on the government website.

If the surface you intend to pave is larger than 53 square feet and is to be made from a non-porous material, you will require planning permission to ensure that the structure allows for water to drain from the surface.

These rules apply to a house owned by the occupant; different restrictions apply to flats, maisonettes, or any other converted house.

DIY Driveways – Step by Step

Type of base

Decide on the most appropriate material for the base of your installation. The base will need to be durable, strong, and allow water to drain from the finished driveway surface. A layer of gravel or crushed stone and sandy soil is usually a good, inexpensive base material, provided the layer is a minimum of 8 inches thick.

Demolish and excavate the existing driveway

With your materials decided, the first proper task for your project will be removing the existing driveway. With the aid of excavation equipment, demolish the existing pavement into manageable chunks, and transport them safely to a skip or dump truck for disposal.

If the removed material can be broken down into small pieces, this gravel-like material can be used as an affordable option for a sub-base. You must, however, ensure that this material is suited to allow water to drain through the installation.

Grading and sloping

The process of grading and sloping your paving is essential to ensure that the surface can allow water to drain efficiently. The slope of your paving should be a minimum of 2% (or 2 feet of rise per 100 feet in length), the maximum slope should be no more than 25% (or 25 feet of elevation per 100 feet in length).

To accurately grade your paving have a person hold one end of a length of string at the top of the paving, and another person hold the end at the bottom. Keep the string level, and measure the change in elevation from top to bottom.

Find the length of the paving by measuring the level string and dividing by the rise in elevation of the paving.

Sub-base

When installing your sub-base, you must ensure that the area is completely dry. Once you are sure of this, you can begin to fill the excavated area with your durable sub-base material. We recommend using heavy-duty equipment for this task, like a skid steer loader or dump truck.

Though this represents an added expense, any contractor will tell you that loading a large amount of sub-base by hand isn’t worth the danger of injury. If you want to know how to lay a driveway sub-base to provide durable driveway paving, we recommend using a plate compactor to ensure a level base and a better appearance when you pave the structure.

Laying the paving

Now to finish the paving and achieve maximum curb appeal! A good contractor will use a string line to ensure that every brick or paver is level and ordered. Embed your stones into the sub-base, at least 6 inches deep, and gently hammer them into the ground with a rubber mallet. Start from the edges near your yard and work inwards in a clockwise motion.

Once the paving has been laid, fill the joints with jointing material and consider applying a sealant to protect your paving and provide added durability.

Last Word

Laying a driveway is not an easy task. It takes time, money and physical effort to do it yourself. You can’t take shortcuts when paving your own drive because the process requires heavy equipment that might be difficult for you to manoeuvre on your property alone. Oversights are common with DIY projects like this one, which could lead to expensive repairs in the future.

Paving a driveway is no small job, so we recommend calling in a professional contractor who can discuss all your driveway options!