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Block Paving frequently asked questions

Will you be able to widen my existing driveway and garden walls?

No problem! Firstly, to cut through and remove the existing garden wall; normally 9” (225mm thick); replace the gate pillars if required. Excavate the garden soil and area, this material is soft top soil so excavation is required to go to extra depth. We always lay a 5000 Geotextile material before running in the Class I. Hardcore and compaction.

What about drainage problems?

There are several methods of dealing with drainage problems and various techniques and methods to deal with them:-from various open gullies, slotted drains, French drains and modern plastic drainage systems. Our surveyor will investigate drainage methods and choose the correct type for your installation. (See leaflet Forever Drainage)

Do we require edgings?

Edgings come in various materials and many different designs and colours (see the Constructive Kerbs & Edgings leaflets) and can serve different purposes. The most common use of an edging is for soil or grass retention! A good quality decorative edging gives a neat appearance and a clean sharp finish to any surface.
With block paving the edge is an integral part of a path or drive giving the block integrity and strength; restraining outward thrust pressure, therefore avoiding movement of the block surface. It is well worth spending the extra money and making sure that you fit the correct edging kerbs.

How long is the driveway guaranteed for?

All our workmanship on Block paving is guaranteed for a period of 5 years and manufactures guarantees on products vary for example Marshalls guarantee their product for 10 years; whilst Tobermore products carry a 25 year colour guarantee. P.I.C.s concrete products also have a 5 year guarantee. Of course as Marshalls Approved Installers we are also available to offer to you a Marshalls Guarantee which covers our workmanship as well as their product. See our separate leaflets on this excellent method of peace of mind guarantee.

What maintenance is required?

A minimum amount of maintenance is required on all path and driveway surfaces. It may be that once a year you just wash your driveway down using a pressure washer; or like so many people use our specialist cleaning service. Ask for our DVD on cleaning, sanding and sealing driveways.

Who will reseal and clean my driveway and how often?

As part of our ongoing service we offer periodical surveys on all driveway surfaces. With Concrete Imprinted Surfaces we clean and reseal and the finish is restored to its former glory. Many people unnecessary worry about restoration of block surfaces. When you have installed new windows in you home, do you think they will never need cleaning again? The dirt and grime are still attracted to them and the birds still “muck” on them. The same with block paved surfaces a minimal amount of attention is required. We offer you a cleaning, sanding and sealing service. The result is that you have a driveway that is well maintanined and the colour of the block is emphasized with the sealant. The sealant resists weed growth between the blocks.

 Our verdict:            Worth every pound spent!

Does the surface colour fade?

The block paving colour will wear as traficked, however each manufacturer offers a guarantee in relation to this.

Can I get matching steps?

Matching steps are available in Block Paving. Steps can be square or circular or a mixture of both; in so many sizes. What a range of colours and edgings! Gone are those “wibbly wobbly” loose steps.

How long of a delay is there from order to installation?

Delays in installation do vary according to seasons. Yes, even in winter we are busy; in general we try to keep our waiting period to between four-six weeks and of course at times we do have delays due to bad weather.

 

What about weed growth?

With block paving, weed growth does not come from below the block but from surface seeding. This can be minimized by spraying with a weed killer twice a year and keeping the block and sand well sealed.    (See answer 6).

How do we gain access to our house whilst the driveway is being installed?

The same way as Father Christmas! After installing the sub base which usually takes 1-2 days depending upon the size of area, we then proceed to lay the bedding sand. At this stage you will be unable to walk over the area for a few hours. However once we have installed the block paving on the bedding sand you are free to walk over it as normal. However the use of vehicles on the surface is prohibited until sanding and compaction has been finalised. We regret this inconvenience.

 

Can Block paving be layed all year round?

Block paving driveway surfaces can be laid through out the year, although in winter months the process may be slightly slower. In summer if temperatures are over 30C we will not lay concrete and likewise in winter at -8C. Both these are extreme temperatures for the North West of England, so we don’t have too many worries on this matter.

How long is it before I can use my driveway?

If your driveway is a block paved driveway you will be able to drive your car on immediately we have vibrated the blocks into position and sanded the joints.

How deep down do you dig?

Firstly we dig down the depth of the block & sand or Concrete which ever surface you have chosen. Then as deep as required according to the ground conditions. We will have enclosed our “base material chart” showing the depth required. It is very unusual if we don’t excavate to a minimum of 25 cm. We always use at least one Geotextile Membrane in our base construction. This gives the base more stability and better binding of the hardcore fill material. Remember the surface material is only as good as the base it is built upon. Only a “fool” builds a house on a bad foundation.

How messy of a job is it?

In the majority of instances the mess is nominal in comparison with the work involved. From the offset we tackle this problem in a professional way. During the initial “dig out” we always endeavor to use modern machinery which ensures the work is speedily executed. The “spoils” (earth removed) where we can are removed instantly by the use of a “grab wagon” rather than to have a “skip container” hanging around. We always aim that on day one to dig out and move the waste, stone fill and compact the base. The laying of the block paving is laid fully usually within a couple of days on an average driveway. We then may need to make cuts and adjustments using a stihl saw, which can create a little dust. However this is always kept to a minimum, and usually take place over a few hours.

What choice of patterns and colour do I have?

The choice of colour and patterns of block paving are numerous and the permutations of patterns and colours are plentiful. This is why we always use a design surveyor who will give you expert advice on your choice of colour and style. We can style a drive, path or patio to suite your tastes to match the character of the property or whether you wish it to make “a statement” or just to mellow in with its surrounding. One thing is for sure – no matter what choice you will have a driveway that will give you a homecoming welcome that will last for years and years.

How much experience do you have in driveway construction?

With a West Coast Irish Ancestry I was born with a shovel in one hand and a pick in the other. Ground working is in my blood with some of my ancestors digging out the Manchester Ship Canal and then helping build the local railway networks. Others working on Blackpool promenade developments.
We have over twenty years of experience in “groundwork” schemes including all types of driveway, path and patio surfaces. We are a family business that is proud of our quality of service and workmanship and we will not loose our hard earned reputation by doing “shoddy workmanship”.
You will by this time have concluded that our professional ways and approach leave all our “competitors” way behind. This is only the beginning – our high standard and quality continues with a professional design service to using only the best material and employing the highest caliber of work force. What other type company would you have the confidence to undertake your contract?
May we suggest you read a few of our satisfied customer’s comments?    

Has your company been “bump” before and set up again?

From a small beginning as a “sole trader” building up a good reputation we soon developed into a well respected business. We were advised it would assist our growth to deal with commercial developers and authorities if we would become a limited company – this we did. We now have three divisions dealing with the path, drive and patio market. One division deals with Pattern Imprinted Concrete Surfaces another deals in Block Paved Surfaces, although both are in the same market place we feel we can give a better service and better quality installation by not allowing the same workforce to mix techniques – you will find that a good block layer does not have the same mentality or capability to become a good concrete layer and visa versa.
Recently we introduced our Cleaning and Sealing Service. This operation restores both Block and Concrete surfaces to their original pristine conditions.
The North West area is known as the “hot bed” for cowboy get rich merchants who have no quarms in “pulling the plug” one day and setting up the following week. It is a fact that the majority of our competitors trading as limited companies have been “bump” before. Do they go “bump” owing loads of money? No! The suppliers know where they are coming from and insist on cash payments.
Why do they go bump then? It is because their legacy of bad workmanship catches up with them and they no longer can afford to keep going back putting right the poor jobs they have done. Using inferior materials and poorly skilled workpeople soon catch up.
We have never been involved in any partnership, company or operation that has gone “bump” or “set up” again. We are proud of our high standards and good reputation and on no account will we throw that away.

Do you belong to any recognized Trade Associations?

We are proud to be an “Approved Marshalls Installer” which can give you peace of mind that our company has the backing of one of Europe’s largest manufactures of Concrete Building Products.   (see Marshalls Approved Installer Certificate enclosed).

Do you employ pushy sales people?

We do not believe in “flashy con-men” sales people who push people into making hasty decisions. We operate by having staff that respect your views and ideas and with their depth of knowledge will give you the best advice in the industry. This is always followed up with a written personal quotation and job specification showing clearly how we intend to do the work. We supply manufactures literature and brochures where available and we give out our supporting DVDs, photos of installations and our own information pack.
A large percentage of our work comes from customer recommendation and the last thing we want is “pushy sales people”. In fact we suffer from “pushy prospective customers”. How quick will I get my quotation pack? When will your design surveyor come? How long will we have to wait? Why can’t you give us the price now?
“We just love you all !”
 We are pleased what we are; we are always striving to do better. We are grateful for your questions enquires and eagerness. Thank you!

Do you get remedial work?

“Faultless we’re not!” We don’t tell lies! Yes we do get remedial work! Little snags. Most common “Blooming” occurring in small area on P.I.C. after sealant has been sprayed on. Reason that there has been dampness in atmosphere or on the concrete surface before we sealed the surface – remedy takes perhaps 1 hours work to strip of the affected area and re-spray sealant. Please be patient, must be done in dry conditions.

Struggling to think what else???

Occasionally “efflorescence” (natural salts) occurring on block paving. This is not really a remedial job it is a natural phenomenon which occasionally occurs on some new building products. It normally takes a few good showers and the acids in the rainfall wash it away and clears it up. Don’t be alarmed if this happens. Maybe one in fifty jobs this can occur – soon disappears.
Others can not think what? Snags occur – We will soon attend to any remedial call – shows our efficiency and good back up service. Both ours and our supplier’s guarantees mean something. Yes they are worth the paper they are written on.
 

Should I have my block paving sealed?

One major supplier prefers blocks not to be sealed. With the quality of sealants available today most people will consider sealing block paving after and initial period of 6-12 months. The choice is yours – there are several good reasons for sealing block surfaces.
We do a section on a DVD which shows the finish and benefits of a Cleaning, Sanding and Sealing Service. If you haven’t seen this part of our DVD ask our office, they will pop one in the post for you – or better still, we will always give you a quotation for this popular service and leave you with a quotation, information and a DVD.

We find your approach to drives, patios and paths far more professional than any other company we have seen. Is there anything you can do to bring your price down a little?

Thank you for the compliment. We are aware that our approach and presentation leaves our competitors way behind. We have worked hard and it has taken us years of experience to realize what our customers want.
To be frank; if you want a cheap job doing we are not the company for you. A “cheap” groundwork job is always followed by a disaster at some latter stage – it may take a year or two to occur, but it often does. The majority of times it is because the base work is inadequate, for several reasons – maybe not deep enough – not well compacted – poor quality aggregate used. I could write pages on why serious faults have occurred. It is very rare indeed that any driveway, patio or path product goes faulty – (remember some manufactures will guarantee their products for twenty five years). It is normally the fact that some company or indeed “one man band” has done poor quality site work, hoping to get away with using inferior materials, which are not suitable for the job in hand.
Our policy is always to put the best of everything into the job, not to miss items out that could cheapen the price and sacrifice the quality. We pay our skilled workforce a little more than the market rates. This makes sure that at all times we can keep quality craftspeople that are happy doing the work. Our prices reflect both the quality and service which we offer to our clients we are the company that can give to your both short and long term value for money. We will not get involved in “cheap makeover schemes” which always end in disaster. We pride ourselves, our company and our customers too much to entertain cheap shoddy jobs.
Hindsight is a great thing, but so too is wisdom. Don’t make a mistake in dealing with the wrong company. You may spend a lot more in the end and have years of “agro”!!

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