Brick Pavers Over Concrete Driveway: Can It Be Done?
Improving or replacing your driveway is probably one of the more expensive jobs you can do outside your home. The results can be spectacular and will impress your neighbours, but you may find the cost is prohibitive.
This is especially the case for brick paving as it is time consuming and can cost significantly more than other driveway types.
But much of this cost is associated with the removal of your old driveway – so what if you simply pave over your existing concrete driveway. Is this recommended, and will it really save you money?
You can add around 20% to the value of your home by improving your outdoor space and making it more attractive and usable. This makes improving your driveway an excellent investment in the value of your home.
However, this is only the case if you do it properly. That means choosing a driveway type that will last as long as possible, and stay looking good for longer. The question is, will a brick paved driveway over concrete achieve this?
The Standard Way To Lay A Brick Driveway
In the vast majority of cases, a brick paver driveway will be laid onto fresh earth, where the previous driveway has been removed, and the ground dug down to the required depth. Crushed stone is added for drainage, and then a layer of sand is deployed.
This sand forms the bed for the bricks and means that no mortar is required. Sand is then brushed into the spaces between the bricks for stability, and the job is complete.
This process can take time and the bricks will be laid individually by the contractor. It can take several days, but the result is a beautiful and individual driveway that looks traditional and classic. It is also expensive compared to many other driveway options, but people are often willing to pay for the way it looks.
If laying the bricks without mortar, add a thick layer of sand and compact this. Use an edging material to keep the bricks in place, and lay them in the desired pattern, then brush more sand into the gaps between the bricks to keep them stable
Brick Pavers Over Concrete: An Overview
The process of laying any new driveway always begins with making sure the sub-base is in good shape. If this means digging it out and starting from scratch then that is the best approach to take.
However, it is possible (but maybe not advised) to brick pave over a concrete driveway – but only if it is in good shape.
The main reason for this is the fact that any changes to the concrete that occur over time will certainly affect the bricks laid over it. These changes are often associated with small cracks that become larger. This happens when water enters the cracks, and then freezes.
The cracks expand, and the concrete become more and more unstable. This leads to movement which will inevitably lead to movement of the bricks above. Your brick paved driveway can quickly start to look cracked and uneven.
However, it isn’t impossible, provided there are no cracks in the concrete, and the concrete is laid on a good base that does not move. Below is the following 3 step process that contractors follow to create this driveway type:
● Inspect the concrete base for any cracks, chips or holes, and repair these to get as smooth a surface as possible.
● If laying the bricks without mortar, add a thick layer of sand and compact this. Use an edging material to keep the bricks in place, and lay them in the desired pattern, then brush more sand into the gaps between the bricks to keep them stable.
● If you are using mortar, add a half inch thick layer of mortar to the concrete base and set the bricks into place.
Another issue is one of load. By the time you have added bricks to a concrete slab and then driven over it in your car, the weight bearing down on that concrete can be huge. You may find that the concrete cannot take the strain, and starts to break up underneath the top surface
Problems With Brick Pavers Over Concrete
If the base is in any way substandard, you will have problems and it is better to remove the concrete and start again. If the ground underneath the concrete is starting to fail, then this will also cause problems.
The main issue is not with cracks on your brick driveway, but with settling. If the concrete is dropping a small amount each year, this will be passed on to the bricks, and will result in sections that drop and are no longer level with the other bricks. This can cause a tripping hazard, drainage issues and more.
Other issues can come from choosing the wrong size brick height and not taking into account the undulations of the concrete beneath.
In order to get an even driveway surface, you may find that you need to use different depths of brick. A professional will be able to do this, but a DIYer may struggle with this aspect.
Another issue is one of load. By the time you have added bricks to a concrete slab and then driven over it in your car, the weight bearing down on that concrete can be huge. You may find that the concrete cannot take the strain, and starts to break up underneath the top surface.
6 Key Questions To Consider
● Will the increase in height cause any safety concerns?
● Will there be drainage or grading issues resulting from paving over existing concrete?
● How can I build up the edges of the driveway so the bricks stay where they should?
● Will the surface drain well and what about the freeze thaw cycle?
● Will ice or rain affect the bricks or the way they settle?
● Is it really cheaper to lay onto concrete in the long run?
Resin bound driveways are known to last for as long as 30 years – however it is extremely unlikely that your concrete base would last that long
Resin Bound Driveways: A Preferable Alternative To Pavers
Resin bound driveways are created using resin mixed with aggregate of your choice. You can opt for any colour or style stone that suits your needs and the result is a strong, yet water permeable driveway surface that offers good looks and durability.
It is possible to lay a resin bound driveway over a concrete driveway that is in excellent condition, however most contractors will warn of the possible pitfalls and will recommend that the driveway is dug out and laid as a new project.
This involves using a layer of crushed gravel for good drainage and then pressing the resin mix into this compacted layer.
Resin bound driveways are known to last for as long as 30 years – however it is extremely unlikely that your concrete base would last that long.
You may think that you are saving money by paving over your existing driveway, but it is worth noting that you are replacing the concrete because it is starting to fail or no longer looks good. This means that it is inherently weaker and more likely to lead to a poor paving job.
If you are going to pay for brick pavers, it is better to splash out and do the job properly. Either that or go for a resin bound driveway that will look just as good, and last even longer to boot.
For a resilient, long-lasting surfacing solution, resin bound material is second to none. Take the first step to creating a delightfully durable driveway today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!