Cost Guide: Garages & Driveways

How much does it cost to build a garage and lay a driveway? Consider everything from construction costs to materials with Build It's in-depth guide
Build It magazine expert Tim Doherty
by Tim Doherty
7th September 2022

The cost of your garage and driveway can depend on a variety of factors, such as size, materials and the plot you’re building on.

Although, the external works and ancillary buildings of your property can be the most overlooked cost on a building project, as they may not be as much of a focus. These elements are therefore frequently under-budgeted, and people’s cash streams are often depleted by the time it comes down to getting their landscaping underway.

If you’re taking a long-term approach then it’s often the right choice to allocate the vast majority of your funds to the principal house. But if you want to finish, move in and fully enjoy your new home’s facilities, then you should make a concerted effort to preserve your external works budget.

It’s important to consider all options regarding materials, layout and access to make the most out of your investment. But also, it’s equally as vital to make yourself familiar with the surrounding plot, as driveways and garages will commonly require ground works that can be costly.

All choices come with their pros and cons, and so here we have a detailed cost guide to help you through what to expect when building your driveway or garage.

How Much does Building a Garage Cost?

A detached double garage, built in matching bricks and tiles to the main house, may well cost you upwards of £18,000, as per the cost guide table below.

These costs are based on a specification that includes basic dimensions of 6m (wide) x 6m (deep) x 2.5m (high), a shallow pitched (25°) concrete tiled roof, half brick-thick external walls with brick piers, a simple ground floor slab and trench fill foundations (to a standard 1m depth).

The breakdown also assumes two single garage doors, a personal door and window, simple electrical supply and some rainwater drainage.

COST GUIDE: Typical 36m2 Double Garage
  • Trench Fill Foundations£2,520
  • Lightly enforced ground-bearing slab and backfill£2,700
  • External walls, piers, steelwork and lintels£3,900
  • Roof structures£1,190
  • Roof covering (felt, battens and tiles)£1,260
  • Carpentry (soffits, fascia, barge board and gable claddings)£1,350
  • Drainage£600
  • Guttering£600
  • Garage doors, access door and window£3,000
  • Electrical provision£1,000
  • Extras (decoration, security etc)£500
  • Total cost for double garage£18,620

What’s more, the costs above are given on the basis of you project managing the build (pulling all of the trades together yourselves), and so it is essential to consider this in your budget. 

If you leave it to a main contractor, you’ll need to add a management fee on top. In addition, don’t forget to add VAT if your project doesn’t qualify for a zero rated status (for example if you’re adding an outbuilding to an existing property, rather than creating a new home from scratch).

It’s easy to see how this specification could be increased to around £25,000 plus for a modern garage, by changing the external walls to cavity construction, adding insulation, sealing the floor, raising the roof pitch, including a smarter roof covering, or adding plumbing etc.

With a new build or major refurbishment project, some folks sensibly get their garages built first on site. This not only helps you to erect the structure to the original budget, but the building will also make fabulous dry storage or office facilities for many of your other materials/needs throughout the project.

Designing a garage in the UK

Modern garage door matching entrance and claddingRegardless of what they are used for, garages add an extra dimension to a home. They also add value to your home, regardless of where in the UK it’s located.

So if your property doesn’t have sufficient garaging, or you’re a self builder starting from scratch, where do you start?

Think carefully about what you want, and ask yourself some questions: should your garage have the potential to be converted into living space in the future?

Does it have a loft big enough to be converted? Does it need to perform numerous tasks, or is it purely to house your car?

Read more: Build It’s Guide to Choosing a Garage

What Should your Driveway Budget Consider?

Depending on the prevailing soil conditions on site, your driveway will need a proper specification to take all reasonable vehicle loads, effectively deal with surface water and prevent local settlement and surface erosion.

Unless you’re building on exposed bedrock, some excavation for reduced levels (digging down around 250-300mm), geotextile membranes and filling with compacted hard-core will be necessary. This ground work can come in at about £18-£20 per m2. Thereafter, the choice of topping and finishes is up to you.

However, driveways are not just about appearance, and regardless of covering, you should be clear about how surface water will be directed away from the property to not undermine the house footings. This can be through a porous paved option, traditional gullies or some of the more sophisticated attenuation systems.

Premiums will, as ever, apply to small or complex areas. If you are going to need a builder to coordinate all of the above for you then you must allow for their management, overheads and profit on top.

Your Driveway Materials Guide

Your driveway should be both stylish and practical as it serves a key function – access to your property. It is also one of the first things people notice about your home, and so it should be in keeping with the rest of the build.

After having carefully considering the underfoot requirements for your driveway, you can then consider which materials will work best for the size, use and plot gradient. There are countless options on the market, and each contain their own pros and cons that will suit both your stylistic preferences and plot foundation.

Gravel Paving

Readily-available from many builders merchants, gravel paving is an easily accessible option that will accommodate to a variety of driveway styles and budgets.

B&Q graveled driveway

This gravel from B&Q features naturally rounded stones in a range of colours

Pros: This cost-effective option is easy to DIY and comes in a range of colour and size options – go for pieces around 14mm-20mm – anything smaller will get stuck in car tyres and larger will be uncomfortable to walk on. The small stones also allow water to filter through without much fuss.

Consider: The tiny stones have a habit of spilling out of the drive, so they aren’t suitable on steep gradients. A gravel grid base will help prevent spillage and you can easily top up the surface yourself.

This material isn’t ideal beneath trees, as it will be difficult to sweep up the leaves. Don’t forget to lay a weed mat first, though bear in mind these aren’t completely impenetrable.

Cost: £12-£20 per m2 from builders’ merchants.

Concrete Pavers

Bradstone’s Woburn concrete rumbled block paving combines a durable, modern material with characterful rustic finishes. Available in three colourways, expect to pay around £33 per m2 from online suppliers such as Simply Paving.

Pros: Durable block pavers slot snugly together for a tidy and smart finish. This affordable option comes in a range of colours, and you can mix-and-match them for an interesting design.

Consider: Concrete has a high carbon cost. The linear shape of standard concrete blocks and tight joints don’t allow water to filter through. Specialist permeable pavers are available that allow surface water to drain through a base layer of pervious aggregate and into the ground.

Cost: From £19 per m2 up to £40 per m2 for textured, characterful blocks. Installation is time-consuming, so expect to pay around £40 per m2 for labour alone.

Stone Pavers

Made from specially selected Indian sandstone, the Fairstone sawn sandstone setts from Marshalls are on the higher end of the scale, costing £130 per m2, but have a stunning natural colour and characterful impact.

Pros: Available in a variety of colours, textures and sizes, each paver will have a unique quirk, so you get a more characterful look than with uniform concrete. Materials such as granite, limestone and sandstone stand up to the weather, without the colour fading through exposure to the sun.

Consider: Laying block paving requires precision and cuts must be done with a diamond-tipped saw. There’s a chance sections will sink over time if the base hasn’t been prepared properly, so this is key.

A layer of sharp sand around 50mm thick is put across the sub-base and the blocks laid on top, followed by kiln-dried sand brushed over to fill any gaps and prevent weeds.

Cost: £75-£100 per m2 (supply only). Labour rates will be similar to concrete pavers.

Resin Finishing

This project combines a Sureset resin driveway with carefully manicured soft landscaping for a practical yet attractive outdoor area to the house.

Pros: Made from natural aggregate that’s bound or bonded with resin, these driveways come in a range of colours – and a UV-resistant finish helps keep these from fading over time. Maintenance is easy as weeds are unlikely to grow through the surface – and bonded versions are permeable to rainwater.

Consider: Don’t confuse resin-bonded for resin-bound – the latter is more durable but is solid and requires drainage. You’ll need a specialist to install a resin driveway, though they are pretty quick to lay.

Cost: Economies of scale means the per m2 cost goes down if the size of the area goes up. Expect to pay in the region of £80 per m2 for a 200m2 installation, including both labour and materials.

Grass Paving

Pros: This up-and-coming eco alternative is particularly good for dealing with surface water run-off. These systems are formed of a grid strong enough to support vehicles, while grass is encouraged to grow up through the gaps.

Consider: This option is less durable and long-lasting compared to other pavings. It is also comparatively high-maintenance as a natural driveway system, but can be looked after like a grass lawn with weeding and cutting.

Cost: Around £12-£20 per m2 on a supply-only basis.

Read on for ideas on how you could use these driveway materials: Driveway Ideas – Gravel, Block Paving, Tarmac & More

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