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What Are Council Paving Slabs? (Everything You Need to Know)

What Are Council Paving Slabs?

Council paving slabs are sturdy, squashed concrete slabs that local councils in the UK use in public areas like streets, parks, and community spots. These robust slabs are built to cope with heavy foot traffic and the always unpredictable British weather.

Why are they named "council paving slabs."

The name comes from their primary use by local councils for public spaces. Consider it a kind of medal – councils all over the country trust these slabs.

Why Are Council Paving Slabs Used?

Lots of people walking on a busy path in London

The perks of using council paving slabs to start with, these paving slabs offer lots of perks which make them a top pick for public spaces. They’re often used for commercial projects and public works because they’re simple to make in large quantities. You might even get a price cut when buying commercial-grade concrete flags in bulk.

Their toughness and resilience

One of their main strengths is their toughness and resilience. These slabs are built to last, even when faced with harsh weather.

Their fitness for crowded areas

Another reason council paving slabs are used is that they’re a good fit for overcrowded areas. Take London’s busy Oxford Street or your local shopping area on a Saturday afternoon – it’s like a never-ending round of musical chairs with people coming and going! Council paving slabs are made to withstand this non-stop foot traffic.

How Council Slabs Are Made

Two workers inspecting street patio

Let’s examine how these slabs are created to form durable paving essentials for our public places. The part played by squashed concrete in their making.

The process kicks off by mixing the ideal batch of ingredients: cement, sand, water, and crushed stone.

Next, you throw in the squashed concrete, and once everything is mixed, it’s poured into moulds and squashed under high pressure. This squashing removes any air pockets, ensuring a solid, uniform structure.

The part played by squashed concrete in making council paving slabs is crucial. This squashing process makes council paving slabs hard-wearing and built to last. They can cope with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, which is why they’re used on walkways and next to roads.

Alternatives to Council Flags

Delve into the wide array of other paving options for outdoor areas, each offering unique styles and materials to fit every preference and budget.

Indian Sandstone

Stacks of indian sandstone waiting to be laid

First up is Indian Sandstone, the Bollywood sensation of paving materials. Its brilliant colours, designs and natural charm will add a hint of glitz and warmth to any outdoor spot.

You can find it in various shades. And, it’s a doddle to look after – a good clean now and again will keep it looking spiffy.

Slate Paving

Its chic and stylish appearance is just the ticket for creating a modern and classy feel. The dark, moody tones of slate can add a splash of drama to your outdoor area, while its natural texture offers an intriguing feel underfoot.

Slate paving is adaptable and goes well with different landscaping styles. Regarding toughness, slate is no pushover – it resists frost, stains, and scratches, promising a long-lasting and attractive finish.

Porcelain Pavers

A porcelain patio being installed by workers

Next, let’s have a look at Porcelain Pavers. These pavers are made from top-notch porcelain, merging natural stone with the durability and low upkeep of man-made materials.

Porcelain pavers come in a broad range of colours and styles, allowing you to create an outdoor area that mirrors your unique taste. They’re also super hard-wearing and resist staining, fading, and frost damage, so your garden or driveway looks spotless for years. If you’re after a low-upkeep but stylish option, Porcelain might be what you’re looking for.


Its sturdy nature and striking look make it a top pick for those after both durability and style. Granite paving slabs come in various finishes, from polished and honed to flamed and bush-hammered, letting you create a truly personalised look.

Their natural speckled design adds depth and character to any outdoor area, while their resistance to scratches, stains, and weather damage means they’ll withstand the test of time. So, if you’re hunting for a paving material that’s as tough as it is beautiful, Granite might be the one for you.

Where to Buy Ex-Council Slabs

An image of a phone with facebook marketplace screen

Are you on the prowl for ex-council paving slabs to jazz up your outdoor area? Well, you’re in luck, as we’ve got the inside track on where to snag them!

When shopping for council paving slabs, give Facebook a whirl and search for local marketplace groups. If you don’t strike gold there, try your hand on eBay, the online shopping giant, where you can often bag a bargain on ex-council slabs.

How to Get Free Council Paving Slabs

It’s as easy as picking up your phone and giving a bell to local paving companies. Let them know you’re after council paving slabs and ask if they’d mind giving you a shout when they stumble upon some spare or leftover slabs from their jobs.

FAQ Section

What slabs do the council use?

UK councils typically plump for compressed concrete paving slabs, famed for their durability, strength, and low-maintenance nature.

How big is a council paving slab?

A bog-standard council paving slab measures 600mm x 600mm. These measurements guarantee durability and strength to bear the brunt of heavy foot traffic and diverse weather conditions.

How thick is a council slab?

The thickness of a council paving slab is usually around 50mm, but this can rise to 70mm in some cases.

How heavy are old council slabs?

Old council paving slabs in the UK usually tip the scales at about 41 kg each. This heftiness helps ensure their durability.