Choosing the Right Thickness with Your Paving Slabs

Are you looking for paving slabs for your garden or driveway? When shopping for new paving slabs, it's often tempting to concentrate on the material and design of the paving so that they complement your home. But, it is also important to consider the thickness of the paving slabs so that they are practical and the right choice for your outdoor space. It is all about what the area will be used for and whether it is for foot traffic or for vehicular use. After all, paving slabs are not cheap and you don’t want to have to replace them within a few years because they are not the correct thickness!

Read on to find out what the right paving slab thickness is for the different parts of your home!

Utility Area Paving Slabs

We all have that area in our garden where we store our tools and have the shed to hide away all of our equipment. While this area may not be walked on as much as your patio, does it actually requires a thicker paving slab because of the weight it is holding?

As a general guide, the answer is no, as all weight will be evenly distributed and when this happens, the paving is not expected to hold any additional weight. However sometimes you may have extra heavy machinery and this would require an uprated paving thickness.

When it comes to paving utility areas, a thickness of 50mm (2") is a good sturdy option and sufficient to support the weight of heavy machinery and equipment. It is also thick enough to prevent cracking and damage from the weight of these objects over time.

This would typically be found in a concrete product designed for utility areas, such as Marshalls pimple paving slabs, also known as 'council slabs' at a whopping 50mm thickness.

For utility areas where heavy machinery will not be used, a standard 32mm thickness concrete paving slab would be more typical. A typical choice of paving slabs we think is perfect for the job is Brett Paving Manmade Stamford Ultra Natural Paving Slabs. These paving slabs enjoy a thickness of 32mm, which is a good quality option. It is made from a wet-cast concrete that is durable and strong, with a slightly uneven rippled surface. In addition, the mid grey colours mean it will match any garden and home setting. Another 32mm option with a riven finish is the Farndon Buff paving.

Shed Bases

A good option for use under a shed is a portable shed base that can be laid straight onto level soil rather than needing to construct a base. This clever piece of kit comes with a weed membrane to apply across the ground and then simply clip the 50cm x 50cm size tiles together. Optionally fill with gravel and hey presto, you have an instant shed base

If you would prefer to use paving slabs as a shed base, this generally requires more work, time and cost, however the same principle applies as utility area paving. A 32mm paving slab is usually sufficient as shed weight is distrubuted over a large area. 

Garden Patios Areas

Garden patios areas are typically outdoor spaces that are designed for relaxation and entertaining, and they often see a lot of foot traffic from both people and pets. These areas need to be able to withstand the weight of people and furniture, as well as exposure to the elements.

When it comes to paving garden patios areas, a thickness of 15mm upwards is suitable for a domestic patio. This may be a 'variable' thickness stone such as 15-22mm or a 'calibrated' (even thickness) stone at 18mm, 22mm or 24mm for example. The main difference between the two is that a variable stone will have a similar appearance top and bottom and may take slightly longer to lay as there is a little more levelling off required to ensure the finished surface level is even across all paving whereas with calibrated stone, it can be laid faster across a screeded wet mortar bed. Often the variable thickness stone is offered at a lower price so it's well worth considering this option, but take not that the edges are usually tapered and it's essential for the smaller face of the slab to be laid downwards. With porcelain paving, this is always provided at a consistent, calibrated thickness of either 16, 18mm or 20mm for outdoor use. This thickness is sufficient to support the weight of people and furniture, and it is also thick enough to prevent cracking and damage from exposure to the elements over time when your paving is laid correctly.

With all paving stone, there is the possibility of minor tolerances in the thickness and this will not have any bearing on the final project as the paving will always need levelling when laying to ensure there is a slight run away from the house to prevent water seepage during rainfall. 

It is important to use a durable material for garden patio paving, such as concrete, natural stone or porcelain paving slabs. These materials are strong enough to withstand foot traffic and exposure to the elements, and they also come in a variety of colours and textures to create a unique and stylish outdoor space.

Indoor Tiles

Indoor tiles are used to create floors in indoor spaces, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. These areas typically see a lot of foot traffic, and they need to be able to withstand the weight of furniture and appliances.

When it comes to indoor tile thickness, a thickness of 10mm +/- is typically recommended. This thickness is sufficient to support foot traffic and furniture, and it is also thin enough to allow for easy installation and maintenance. It's also an option to use any exterior range of stone for indoor purposes, however if using an exterior paving stone, then ensure this will be suitable for indoor door height clearance. You may need to adjust door heights to work with the extra thickness of an exterior paving product.

It is important to choose a durable and slip-resistant tile for indoor use, as these areas can be prone to spills and moisture. Materials such as porcelain and natural stone are all good options for indoor tiles, as they are strong, durable, and easy to clean.

Driveway Paving Areas

Driveway paving areas see a lot of traffic from both vehicles and foot traffic. They need to be able to withstand the weight of vehicles, as well as exposure to the elements.

When it comes to paving driveway areas, a thickness of 50mm (2 ") is typically recommended with concrete paving. This thickness is sufficient to support the weight of vehicles, and it is also thick enough to prevent cracking and damage from exposure to the elements over time. Concrete block paving is 50mm thickness as standard, 60mm as an uprated option for heavy domesttic and light commercial use and 80mm thickness for comercial use. 

With other material types, it becomes a little more complex. Some natural stone products in large slab styles can be thinner, such as natural sandstone at a 25-35mm range. The Paving Superstore Select range sandstone in 25-35mm thickness is ideal for this purpose. This sandstone driveway paving also offers great value. Always lay sandstone driveway pavig slabs on 150mm compacted MOT Type 1 bed and then a wet mortar bed of at least 50mm (ideally thicker for driveway use). 

If you prefer natural stone driveway blocks, these are 50mm in thickness. 

Other natural stone paving products such as granite are 50mm thickness for driveway use such as Paving Superstore Pro Range Granite Driveway 50 Silver Grey Driveway Slabs. These are made from a strong and durable granite and is great for withstanding the movement of driving your car in and out of the driveway.  Not only is it a hardwearing surface, but it is also an attractive paving slab for your home. The silver grey colour boasts a flecked appearance where you will see light grey, mid grey and sparkling silver shades. This is sure to get your neighbours talking! Another option is the Paving Superstore Pro Range Granite 'DRIVEWAY 50' Pink. With a 50mm slab thickness on this granite, it is perfect for a domestic driveway and will be able to withstand a lot of weight. Not only it is practical, but it also looks stunning! It is made from granite with a sawn and flamed top for slip resistance. The shades of rose, silver and grey bring a lovely warmth to your driveway, which will suit modern and traditional houses. 

There are several porcelain options available in large profile paving slabs suited to driveway use. These range from extra thick porcelain tiles at an uprated 30mm thickness such as the Marshalls Paving Porcelain Tempo Crafted Soot Driveway Slabs. It's 30mm thick, heavy-duty and boasts an industrial inspired design to create the contemporary feel of concrete, whilst gaining all the benefits of a low maintenance porcelain. This product wont fade in sunlight, so your driveway will always look newly installed. If you are looking for large driveway slabs, then read through our special article to learn more and then have a look at our large driveway slabs product page. 

Additionally, it is important to properly prepare the ground before laying the paving for a driveway. This may include excavating the area and laying a base layer of MOT Type 1 to provide a solid foundation for the paving.

In some cases, thicker paving may be necessary for areas that see particularly heavy traffic or weight, such as commercial driveways or industrial loading areas. In these cases, it is important to consult with a paving professional to determine the appropriate thickness and material for the specific needs of the area.

In conclusion, the thickness of paving needed for different areas of a property will vary depending on their intended use and the amount of weight and traffic they will need to withstand. By choosing the appropriate thickness and material for each area, property owners can ensure that their paving will last for years to come and provide a safe and functional surface for their needs.