How setts differ from cobbles and why they make a practical yet attractive and rustic surface for a driveway. The variety of choice in stone finish and design options.
Giving your hard surface areas a more traditional look with a classic touch
If you watch popular TV soap ‘Coronation Street’ you may not be aware that the classic cobbled street that features in the opening shot is actually not cobbled at all, but is in fact made of setts. What is clear is that setts offer a traditional, rustic and durable option when creating a driveway with character.
What is a sett?
Basically, they are sections of stone – often granite – that have been fashioned into more or less rectangular blocks and are set in a bed of sand, or a sand and cement mixture, to form a surface. They’re commonly used for paving but there are many examples of setts featuring in roads and other hard standing areas.
The difference between cobbles and setts
The terms ‘cobbles’ and ‘setts’ are often used interchangeably, but there is a specific difference. As said above, setts are oblong or rectangular stones of exactly or very close to the same size as one another while cobbles are naturally weathered, rounder stones originating from rivers and beaches where, over time, the water has worn them into rounded shapes.
Both are set into a bed but, compared to setts, cobbles will tend to make for a more uneven surface.
A classic surface
The Romans pioneered the use of setts, so it’s not surprising they feature in many Italian streets. Closer to home, many parts of Edinburgh feature setts including the Royal Mile.
They’ve stood the test of time and provide a practical yet attractive and traditional looking surface.
Create your own sett based driveway
The beauty with setts is that you can choose from various colours and finishes such as those featured in these granite setts for sale and arrange to have them laid (or lay them yourself if you have the requisite skills required) in various configurations.
You’re not restricted necessarily to serried ranks of setts; you could go for a patterned look, circular style if you have a larger driveway or area of hard standing. Maybe a slanted design might appeal?
The reclaimed stone option
If you like the idea of a traditional, rustic looking surface for your driveway then the reclaimed stone option is worth considering. As its name suggests, these are setts ‘reclaimed’ from a previous use so the stones will be weathered and give your driveway an established look from the start.
It’s also good to think you’re helping the environment by effectively recycling existing stone. It may also appeal to know the setts used in your driveway may have spent years on a pavement in a town or city somewhere in the UK or elsewhere and been walked on by a variety of people down the years.
Laying the setts
Laying setts is a job best left to the professional unless you are one yourself; laying the sub layer that the stones in their sand or sand and cement mixture will lie on once they’re laid is a deceptively involved process.
In the interests of efficient drainage, the sub layer must have a slight gradient and not slope towards a house or other building, and specific materials have to be used. For example, you can’t use ordinary builders sand to lay the setts in – you require sharp sand which has a different make up to the ‘ordinary’ variety.
Choose your sett material carefully and let the professionals create your driveway of character.