An Introduction To Block And Brick Paving

25 October 2023by

Index of Contents

This page is the central hub connecting all the pages dedicated to various forms of paving using individual concrete or clay blocks, commonly referred to as block paving, brick paviors, CBPs, monoblocs, or other regional names for this versatile paving material.


This page provides an overview of concrete block paving. In contrast, the subsequent linked pages delve into different block and paver types, alternative construction approaches, guidance on selecting the most suitable block for specific projects, insights into edge courses, kerns, and the establishment of patterns.

Explore the provided links to delve deeper into the many facets of this incredibly versatile paving material.

Utilizations and Practical Applications
Block paving has grown significantly within the British and Irish industries for roughly four decades. Implementing mass production methods has effectively lowered the cost of manufactured blocks to an accessible level, making this paving financially feasible for many projects. When used for domestic driveways, concrete block paving incurs only an additional cost of £3-6 per square meter compared to plain flags or slabs.

Brick or block paving offers versatility for various applications. They enhance the aesthetics of driveways and boast long-lasting durability. These paving materials can be creatively employed as walkways or patios, and when combined with other paving styles, they can create distinctive designs. Moreover, they are a practical substitute for the conventional asphalt or macadam surfaces used in estate roads, offering a more appealing appearance than tarmacadam or plain concrete. They are impressively finding utility in high-stress environments like airport taxiways, docks, and freight yards due to their exceptional load-bearing capabilities.

The potential for creative design when using these compact paving units knows no bounds; if you envision it, you can bring it to life using block or brick paving.

Categories of Pavement

Not all pavements or paving projects are created equal. For instance, the weight and stress placed on a bustling freight yard filled with heavy-duty HGVs and agile stacker trucks cannot realistically be equated to the demands placed on a backyard patio.

As a result, pavements are designed to adhere to varying standards, often necessitating distinct materials or varying thicknesses of the underlying layers. It would be impractical, for instance, to build a reinforced concrete base 300mm thick beneath a standard block paved driveway. Similarly, employing 50mm thick pavers for an airport taxiway would not be appropriate.

Pavements are classified into distinct categories, each grouping of pavements expected to experience comparable loadings and stresses. There are four primary Categories (with the added complexity of Category I being further subdivided into two subcategories). Generally, as the Category number increases, the pavement’s capacity to withstand heavy loads decreases.

In nearly all cases, patios, driveways, paths within the residential and garden context, and similar applications fall under the Category 4 pavement classification.

Varieties of Blocks and Bricks

There are two fundamental types of block paving: the molded concrete block, often called Concrete Block Pavers (CBP), and the kiln-fired clay brick. This interchangeability in terminology between “block” and “brick” paving arises from these distinctions. In the subsequent information, concrete variants will be denoted as “blocks,” while clay variants will be called “bricks.”

Nonetheless, both of these may also be recognized by the names “pavers,” “paviors,” or “paviors,” as well as some less familiar terms, not all of which are suitable for polite conversation!

These bricks and blocks come in thicknesses ranging from 40mm to 100mm. Even 120mm units are available for exceptional applications, although they are unlikely to be readily stocked by your local supplier. The 50mm or 60mm units are the most appropriate for residential purposes. The 80mm thick units are employed in road construction or areas with regular vehicle traffic. In comparison, the 100mm wide units are reserved for heavy-duty pavements in Freight Yards, Ports, and Airports. Notably, the 40mm thick blocks, which are now challenging to procure, offer no substantial cost advantage over their 50mm dense counterparts. Additionally, they have historically been susceptible to breakage during the compaction phase of construction.

Considering the extensive array of products available, selecting the right block or brick paver for a specific project can be lengthy, intricate, and challenging. A more comprehensive exploration of the available options is discussed in detail on the “Choosing a Block/Brick Paver” page. Here, we provide a concise overview of the critical considerations.

Concrete Units

Extensive shapes, dimensions, hues, and textures exist within concrete blocks. Leading concrete paving manufacturers produce conventional rectangular blocks, unique shapes, vintage-style tumbled or antiqued units, and an ever-expanding range of textured blocks.

Within the construction industry, among contractors, specifiers, and manufacturers, these blocks are commonly referred to as “CBP,” which stands for Concrete Block Paving.

Most rectangular blocks are cast to a standardized size of 100mm x 200mm x 50-100mm, resulting in precisely 50 blocks per square meter. This uniform size allows for potential interchangeability between blocks from different manufacturers, contingent upon tolerance levels and the positioning of any spacer lugs. Typically, rectangular blocks have one visibly attractive side, although some blocks are reversible, simplifying the replacement of stained paving.

Various sealants are accessible to safeguard the finished paving against color fading and oil spills. The top-quality sealants effectively ward off oils, mild acids, dirt, and weed growth, while the more inexpensive ones essentially amount to little more than enhanced varnish.

For additional details, please consult the Sealants page.

Common patterns

The Benefits and Drawbacks

There is a broad price spectrum, ranging from budget-friendly to high-end options. Many prominent do-it-yourself retail chains offer rectangular concrete blocks for approximately £8-£10 per square meter, including VAT. Tumbled, ‘olde-worlde’, or uniquely shaped concrete blocks typically fall in the £12-£20 price range. In contrast, clay bricks can be priced at £25 per square meter or even higher.

  • Ensure that the block you select complies with the standards specified in BS EN 1338 for concrete blocks or BS EN 1344 for clay paving bricks.
  • They are readily available at most Builders’ Merchants, and many manufacturers offer free brochures outlining their product range. You can request a copy from your nearby builder’s merchant or visit the concrete and clay paving links page to find information about significant manufacturers and how to contact them.
  • If you come across a block or brick pavement that you believe would be a perfect fit for your project, inquire with the contractor or property owner about the product’s name and manufacturer. Observing an already completed pavement provides a much more reliable method for selecting the type you desire than choosing solely based on photographs.
  • It’s essential to ensure proper drainage to direct water to gullies or other appropriate drainage outlets. Even though conventional block or brick pavements have dry sand joints, they become nearly impenetrable once firmly established. Therefore, all rainfall should be treated as runoff water that needs to be directed away from the paving. Alternatively, you could explore using Permeable Paving for better water drainage. 


The pricing for block paving exhibits substantial regional disparities, with significantly elevated expenses in London compared to the fiercely competitive rates prevalent in the urban areas of northern England. Additionally, challenges related to material availability in remote regions like The Highlands and Islands of Scotland and specific areas of Western Ireland cast doubt on the reliability of any price guide.

As a result, the previously available price guide has been discontinued. Instead, we advise you to seek at least three quotations from well-experienced and reputable local paving specialists instead of general-purpose builders or landscape contractors. This approach will give you a better understanding of the prevailing local pricing standards.

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How thick should block paving be?

Block paving thickness should be about 50 millimeters (2 inches) for pedestrian areas and standard vehicle driveways. If your driveway will bear the weight of heavier vehicles like trucks or vans, it’s advisable to go for a thicker layer, approximately 70-80 millimeters (2.8-3.1 inches), to ensure robustness and stability.

How thick is a paver block in MM?

Paver blocks come in various thicknesses, typically millimeters (mm). The thickness of a paver block can vary from 30mm to over 100mm, depending on the specific type and intended use. It’s crucial to select the right thickness to ensure the paver block’s durability and performance meet the requirements of its intended application.

What size is a standard block paving?

The standard size for block paving typically falls in the range of approximately 200mm in width, 100mm in length, and 50mm in thickness. It’s worth noting that specific measurements may vary slightly depending on the particular product or regional preferences.

How thick is a concrete paving block?

Create paving blocks have variable thicknesses, typically 1.5 to 2.5 inches (38 to 64 millimeters) for standard applications. However, thicker options up to 3 inches (76 millimeters) are available for more demanding projects. The choice of thickness should align with the specific requirements of your project, considering both durability and aesthetics.