Another Driveway Option - Interlocking Brick
Are you in the market for a new driveway but uninspired by the traditional choice between asphalt and concrete? Interlocking brick is an increasingly popular choice for many homeowners since it gives them options other driveway materials don't and is a practical way to enhance the outside appearance of your home. If you're not familiar with interlocking bricks, here's some background information that could help you make your decision.
What are interlocking bricks and how are they made?
- Interlocking bricks are manufactured from clay mixed with color and then fired to ensure the color is consistent throughout the entire brick and this process guarantees the bricks won't fade in the sun. The bricks themselves are uniform in both size and thickness and designed to fit together making them relatively easy to install. (unlike cobblestones or flagstones which are irregular in size and shape so require individual fitting).
How do you install interlocking bricks?
- Similar to a poured concrete driveway, the first step is building a solid base. This means excavating down at least 12" then adding and compacting, first a layer of crushed stone followed by a layer of sand and finally a layer of stone dust.
- Install edging around the perimeter of the driveway to hold the bricks in place and finally the bricks are installed in the chosen pattern or design.
- The cracks between the bricks are filled with sand and the whole driveway tamped down yet again. The result is a solid , strong surface that won't sink under the weight of heavy vehicles
Sounds like a lot of work- Why Choose Interlocking Bricks?
- As long as the base is built properly, the sand filled brick surface won't settle or crack during freezing and thawing cycles so you never need to worry about cracks developing in your driveway (as can happen with concrete or asphalt driveways).
- In addition to the "hard" benefits of having a brick driveway that won't fade, crack or shift and will support even the heaviest vehicles, there are "softer" benefits to interlocking bricks as well,
- Interlocking bricks open up all kinds of design options. Besides a choice of colors, you can design a driveway with sweeping or sharp curves, be creative in the patterns you choose for laying the bricks themselves (circles, waves, weaves) and effectively set your driveway and your home apart from your neighbors' standard asphalt or concrete drives.
- You can also increase the curb appeal (and market value) of your home by integrating the colors of your driveway with your home's exterior colors, and by using the same colored bricks in your landscaping ( walkways, entrance,patio) tie the entire exterior of your home together visually.
Sounds great, but there must be some disadvantages
- A proper interlocking brick installation requires a lot of work and many homeowners decide to have their interlocking driveways professionally installed which can be costly.
- While a poured concrete driveway will cost in the range of $6 to $10 per square foot, an interlocking brick driveway costs more - in the range of $10 to $20 per square foot.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He has been quoted as an expert on home related topics in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal.