At first glance, one could easily mistake a cobblestone driveway to a concrete brick driveway since both have that block and interlocking style. Some even tag their driveway as made of cobblestone when in fact, the better term would be concrete pavers.
True cobblestones are made of granite, sometimes limestone, basalt, and other natural stones. They are very polished looking, bold and stand out and if you are interested in installing a cobblestone driveway, you must know everything about this material. In this post, you can find all the essentials in cobblestone driveways so read on.
Related: Stone Driveway: Cost, Installation, Pros and Cons
Types of cobblestone driveway
You have to understand that cobblestone is a representative term because as have been previously mentioned, it can be made from different stone types. Hence, here are the types of stones that you can use for a cobblestone driveway.
- Bluestone cobblestone: charcoal gray palette; made for high traffic areas
- Bokara cobblestone: sandy beige color for courtyards, streets, and driveways
- Buffalo granite cobblestone: mild-gray color, brushed and worn-out looking
- Gneiss cobblestone: warm gray and brown color, rugged and rustic vibe
- Italian porphyry cobblestone: natural stone colors, irregular shape, does not stain
- Nile cobblestone: rich, dark grey tone; rugged and slightly irregular shape
- Reclaimed cobblestone: irregular shaped and angled cobblestones reclaimed from old European streets; aging from 100-300 years old
- Sesame cobblestone: grey-gold finish, good for high traffic areas
- Silex cobblestone: subtle brown to chocolate brown color; good for edging, paving, for driveways and other high traffic areas
- Tumbled limestone cobblestone: mottled gray color with smoother, brick like surface
Other stones used for cobblestone driveway or paving would be basalt and travertine.
Cobblestone driveway cost
In general, cobblestone driveways are more expensive than brick, cement, and other concrete materials. To give you a general view of what to expect, here is a breakdown of cobblestone driveway costs.
How much does it cost to build a cobblestone driveway?
The average cost of building a cobblestone excluding labor costs for the installation would be $12000-16000. This is based on a 640sq.ft driveway. The average cost for cobblestone driveway materials starts at $12 per sq.ft.
How much does it cost to install a cobblestone driveway?
The above mentioned range only includes materials for a 640sq.ft. driveway. With the addition of labor costs and rental equipment, the average installation cost for a cobblestone driveway is in between $14000-22000 per 640sq.ft.
How much does it cost to replace a cobblestone driveway?
Like brick pavers and driveways, you can easily replace cobblestone driveways because each stone is changed individually. The average cost of replacement materials for cobblestone driveways is pegged at $20-70 per sq.ft. excluding labor and installation costs.
Cobblestone driveway pros and cons
To get to know cobblestone more as a driveway material and what to expect when you have one, here are some of the pros and cons of having a cobblestone driveway.
- Aesthetic value: With the natural colors and look of cobblestones, curb appeal is one of its major upsides. As such, it adds more value to a home when sold.
- Easy to install: Cobblestones are installed in the same manner as bricks would. While labor intensive for others because the stones are laid one by one, once you get the hang of it, it would take less time. Also, you can have an option to either lay it with mortar binder or just lay them dry on the driveway.
- Unlimited design: Another pro of cobblestone is that you can go for unlimited design opportunities because you can use different kinds of stones (see types of cobblestone driveway above). You can also have different design patterns, an array of colors, and different textures.
- Cost: They say that cobblestones are so expensive but really, you can have affordable cobblestone options limestone, basalt, and other local natural stones.
- Load bearing capacity: Cobblestones are known to have a very high load bearing capacity at its 19000-21000 psi. Regardless if they are bound with mortar or not, their durability and load bearing capacity does not change.
- Weatherproof: This is a major plus for a dry cobblestone base because you have open joints where excess water could be absorbed and where frost and heat could not permeate. These are all the things you need for a weatherproof driveway. These are also the reasons why cobblestones are fairly low maintenance.
- Stain resistant: The stones used for cobblestone driveways are considered calcareous stones. This means that they are acid proof, hence, stains and other hazardous chemicals from vehicle fluids cannot stain the cobblestone driveway.
- Easy to clean and easy to replace: Power washing and sweeping are all it takes to clean a cobblestone driveway. Just do it regularly, along with some sealing if you may, and you can maintain the cobblestone driveway in its pristine look. As for replacement, you can just dig the ones that need replacement and dig in the new one.
- Costly: At the outset, you really are investing a lot when you opt for cobblestone driveways because the upfront cost is huge compared to concrete. If you are a little low on budget, it is not the right driveway material for you.
- Laborious: The repair and replacement is easy because we are only talking about individual stones but laying them down could mean two weeks and more especially if you are just doing it on your own.
- Uneven surface: Expect bumps and noise when the car is in friction with the uneven surface of the cobblestone driveway. If you do not want this, it is best to consider another driveway material.
- Weed and snow removal: Because of its uneven surface and sometimes patchy texture, de-weeding and snow removal can be a major problem. You have to do it the manual way or just leave the snow there and melt on its own.
Cobblestone driveway installation
As have been mentioned, cobblestone driveway installation follows the same process as you would install brick and concrete driveways. Just to give you a view of what to expect in a DIY installation, here are the steps to follow.
- The first and most laborious phase of installing a cobblestone driveway would be preparing the surface. You need to clear the old driveway material down to the ground and this alone already includes sledge and jackhammers. Clear the debris, tree stumps, and plants by the root.
- Next, prepare the driveway base. Mark the dimensions with stakes or nylon wires and then excavate at least 7-inches of base depth.
- After this, lay crushed stones around the base and pulverize them using a power tamper. Make sure that there is 4.5-inches of thickness there for the crushed stones.
- The next thing to do is spread coarse sand on the base and even it well using a rake. Again, compact the surface using your power tamper.
- In contrast to bricks, you must start laying the cobblestones by the edge. Make sure that you follow the nylon string. Lay all the stones down in a linear pattern. To adjust, align and keep the stones in place, tap each cobblestone with a rubber mallet.
- As soon as you put everything in place, use a garden hose and wet the stones. Again, run the power tamper to even everything in. After that, use a leaf blower to ensure that no debris is stuck in between the cobblestones.
*If you are thinking of sand or epoxy grouting your cobblestones, you must make sure that they dry all the way through before you use them. After the grout has dried, make a push for another hose washing and then you are all done.
Cobblestone driveway repair and maintenance
When it comes to cobblestone driveways, there are just a few things to really master as they are durable and low maintenance. Here are some pointers that you should remember in cobblestone driveway repair and maintenance.
- Regular sweeping: Using a standard push broom, you should have a thorough sweeping of the driveway every two weeks. Clear off the surface from leaves, stones, and debris. Also pay attention to cracked stones and see if there are ones that need to be replaced. You also would have to broom more during fall.
- Scrubbing: Dirt and mud should be removed immediately, and you need a standard garden hose or power washer for this one. To make the scrubbing more effective, you must use warm water and dish soap along to scrub the surface with. Rinse it thoroughly with the hose and let it dry before using it.
- Sealing: This is not a mandatory process but you would want to avoid more wear and tear in the long run and to maintain its polished look so you can consider this. Sealing the cobblestone driveway also prevents stains from gas, oil, and other fluids.
No matter what you are repairing, it is easy peasy when it comes to cobblestone driveways. For cracked and broken cobblestones, just remove the stone and then reinstall a new one. For sunken areas, remove the cobblestones from the sunken area and then just fill the base with more gravel and then reinstall the stones. For stains and discoloration, just wash and rinse using a soap and warm water solution.
Cobblestone driveway vs asphalt driveway vs concrete
These three driveway materials here are probably the most popular ones across materials. To compare these three, let us break down some of their key similarities and differences.
Asphalt Concrete Cobblestone Durability 10-25 years 7-25 years 30-100 years Upfront cost Inexpensive Cheap to mid-tier Expensive Curing time A few days to a week A few days to a week No curing time Maintenance Low Low Low Repair Expensive Expensive Inexpensive Load capacity 15000 psi 11000-15000psi 19000-21000psi Design Limited Unlimited Unlimited Installation Easy Easy Labor intensive
There is so much more to cover when it comes to the differences of these three materials but as far as building a driveway is concerned, these should be the main factors to consider so we are only narrowing these down for you.
Cobblestone driveway ideas
For you to have a mental image of what to expect out of cobblestone driveways, here are some cobblestone driveway ideas that you can consider for your home.
If you want to add a historic and rustic charm to your driveway, quaint cobblestones are a fine choice for you.
Here is another rustic chic design reminiscent of English countryside. It made use of irregular shaped basalt cobblestones in a curved base. It is also edged using the same cobblestones to maintain a unified look. To say that it complements the house well given its stone slab design is an understatement.
Related: 10 Best Driveway Edging Ideas On A Budget
This small driveway here is made of gneiss and limestone cobblestone pavers. Their lighter colors are in uniform with this classic, vintage look of the home.
Overall, the exterior of the house as complemented by the cobblestone driveway can transport you into the 30s or 50s anytime.
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Urban electric style
For a modern flair but with the warm, country tones, this cobblestone driveway is a thing that could sweep you off your feet.
Made of bluestones and Nile cobblestone, it brings a fancy urban façade to your driveway. Just adorn it in a minimalist manner with some lines of potted plants or just let it be like this one.
If you are caught up with just the solid block pattern of cobblestone driveways, you can opt for more dynamic patterns. As have been mentioned, the patterns for cobblestone driveways can be unlimited.
For instance, you can go for a fan shaped cobblestone driveway with linear cobblestone edging and drainage like this one here.
For a natural, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean look, you can go for a horizontal, herringbone pattern reminiscent of ancient courtyards and historic streets. This one here made use of sesame cobblestone. The conformity of the style is also due to the use of this sandstone retaining wall on the side.
This one here, on the other hand, follows a circular pattern with each panel bordered by an interlocking, linear style of cobblestone. The subtle tones of the cobblestone used add warmth to the home’s façade in general.
This one is going for a more geometric look with its interlocking cobblestones made of basalt and terra cotta and the surface divisions coming from the concrete slabs. It offers a clean and minimalist look for any modern, industrial as well as minimalist style homes like this one.
Sealed and polished
For a seasonal, glowing look for the driveway, you can opt for the polished look of sealed cobblestone driveways. This one is especially stunning for summer homes in colder regions.
The stability of the cobblestone pavers is owed from the epoxy grout. This makes for a low maintenance cobblestone driveway because it does not encourage weed growth and the snow is easily thawed.
If you want a darker contrast for your bright colored home and of course, to guise leaks from oil, gas and other fluids from vehicles, a black, sealed cobblestone driveway like this one is a fine option for you.
Part of the dynamicity of cobblestone is also having the option to go multi-colored. This one here features the warm tones of silex cobblestones and the cooler gray blue tones of buffalo and bluestones.
Its circular pattern and use of live edging in the form of turf grass and well curated shrubs give it a classic European vibe that cannot be easily missed.
How many cobblestones do I need to build a driveway?
As per rule of thumb, contractors say that one square foot space would need 4 cobblestones. With this figure, you must compute first for the dimensions of the driveway (the proverbial length multiplied with the width) and then multiply it by 4. That is how you get the number of cobblestones needed in building your driveway.
How long do cobblestone driveways last?
The longevity of cobblestone driveways is beyond superior as they could remain stable for hundreds of years. The fact that contractors still make use of reclaimed cobblestones mainly from old European towns and the Middle East is enough manifestation of the durability and longevity of cobblestones.
To conclude, cobblestones are not just stunning and upscale to look at in driveways but are good investments in the long run. First off, their curb appeal is just so timeless, offering a good selling point for your property through the years. Two, they are durable and have good load bearing capacity. Three, cobblestone driveways are easy to maintain and easy to repair.