Your driveway says a great deal about the care and maintenance you put into your home, and that’s true whether you’re considering your material options from a “style” perspective, from an environmental impact perspective, or a more practical consideration about durability. There are plenty of options on the market, and each brings its own advantages and disadvantages to the table. You’ll need to know your options, what they can do for you, and what drawbacks you might encounter.
In addition to single material options, you’ll find a number of choices that combine materials to create a unique look, such as pavers and asphalt. We’re not going to get into ground preparation for driveway installation, but we do want to emphasize that this is an essential consideration and cannot be overlooked. Poor prep work can result in damage to your driveway and a loss of investment.
How do you get started considering your options? The best place to do that is by prioritizing the elements that you consider the most important when choosing a driveway surfacing material. The can include the following:
- The Look: How much do you want to tie into the architectural style of your home?
- Climate: How much do temperatures fluctuate throughout the year? Do you deal with lots of snow or rain?
- Maintenance: How maintenance-intensive are you willing to be with your driveway?
- Your Budget: How much do you have to invest, and what compromises will you need to make to stretch your budget as far as possible?
Now, let’s take a look at some of your options.
It’s probably the most economical choice out there, but it does require a significant amount of maintenance. Gravel will need to be added to you’re your driveway over time as it compacts through use. To add a little more aesthetic appeal, consider placing a layer of half-inch gravel on the top of the base substrate.
However, understand that any snow plowing done to a gravel driveway will cause damage, and will spread the gravel into the surrounding areas. With that being said, gravel is one of the most environmentally friendly driveway surfacing options, because it allows water to be absorbed by the underlying earth, rather than forcing it to run off to other areas. You can also invest in higher-end gravel, such as slate and limestone if you prefer. These larger, heavier pieces won’t end up scattered across your lawn.
This is the single most popular material for driveway surfacing thanks to its general affordability. While asphalt is durable, it does require the right ground preparation in order to last. You’ll also need to invest in regular maintenance. It will need to be sealed every few years to ensure that it is not affected by the elements. You can opt for different colored sealants if you want to change the look, and asphalt can also be stamped and shaped if you like.
Concrete paving blocks
If you’re looking for excellent durability, you might consider concrete pavers. They’re more expensive than asphalt, but can hold up to heavy vehicle traffic very well. They are also pretty resistant to the freeze/thaw cycle, which can damage other driveway surfacing materials. With a lifespan of up to 30 years, they also help you maximize your investment. You’ll also find that they come in different shapes, sizes and colors to help you customize your driveway. With concrete pavers, ground preparation is of immense importance. You’ll also need to seal them every year. Of course, you can also use regular concrete for your driveway, but make sure that the installer pours it in segments to create joints so contraction and expansion don’t crack the material.
A unistone driveway uses a system of interlocking blocks. They’re about 2.5 inches thick, and they’re held together with a mix of sand, cement and aggregate material. This type of driveway is very durable, and will only need to be sealed each year to stay in great shape. Another benefit here is that if a block is damaged in some way, it can be replaced without having to replace nearby blocks.
Does this option sound a little strange? It might, but it provides a pretty eco-friendly option for driveway construction. You’ll find that there are several options here. One involves preparing the soil and laying a plastic honeycomb down. Grass can then grow within the protected confines of the plastic. Another option is to use concreate slabs or blocks with openings for grass to grow. While this can be an appealing choice, understand it might not be the right option for you if you use your driveway frequently.
Not sure what you want to use in terms of driveway materials? Why not go for a combination of different materials? You can use concrete pavers for areas where your vehicles will actually be driven or parked, and then accent the rest with blocks, tie it into the road with asphalt, and more. Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to customization options when using multiple materials.
What about Your Garage?
While you’re considering your driveway, make sure to pay attention to your garage door. Chances are good that it could stand to have some TLC. Contact us at 724-287-1673 to learn more about your options.
We can provide you with a detailed quote by email if you want, as well. We’re also happy to pay a visit to your home in person and explain your options. With decades of experience in the industry, you’ll find that we can help you make even difficult decisions about your garage door. Of course, you’re also free to use our Design Centre and our image gallery to find inspiration.