The most favored materials for driveways are concrete and asphalt, though some people prefer to use materials like brick, stone, cobblestones, gravel or even crushed sea shells in seaside locations. Concrete and asphalt are the winners in the heavy duty, durable, low maintenance category. Concrete comes in different colors and can be textured, which can be used to add landscaping interest. Your driveway is the first thing visitors see when they come to your house. It adds to the curb appeal and overall value of the property.
Durable materials for a driveway
The strongest argument in favor of concrete and asphalt is their durability. A concrete drive that has been properly installed and maintained can last for anything from 25 to 50 years. Asphalt driveways can last up to 40 years but they need resealing every 3 to 4 years.
Both concrete and asphalt can be recycled and can be made with recycled materials. Both types of driveways should be given enough of a slope for water to run off rather than accumulate on the surface. The recommended slope is at least one-fourth of an inch per foot. A one-car driveway is 8 to 9 feet wide, while a two-car driveway is 15 to 18 feet wide.
Concrete vs. asphalt
Which should you choose? Concrete does not do so well in colder climates, and tends to crack or develops frost heaves because of the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle. Asphalt stands up to harsh winter weather better, and actually has problems in hot weather. The tar may soften or become deformed due to the heat. Cost can also sometimes be a consideration. Asphalt is cheaper, though prices vary with location.
Appearance can also help to determine which material is more suitable. Concrete now comes in many different colors, and gives landscapers something to work with. It can also be textured and swirled to create designs. However, it can also pick up oil stains which can be difficult to remove. Asphalt is an unchanging standard black though in recent years tints have been added to sealants.
When repairs become necessary
Keeping your driveway in good repair adds to the curb appeal of your house, and vice versa. A cracked and stained driveway presents a negative image to visitors. Both asphalt and concrete driveways can develop cracks which should be fixed before they expand and destroy the entire surface.
Asphalt repairs are somewhat easier to blend into the original. Local regulations may also play a part in determining which material you should use. A reliable contractor can advise you on the best material to use for your driveway.
Concrete and asphalt are both very durable materials that will last for a long time. There are a number of factors to be kept in mind when choosing the material for your driveway. Both are easy to maintain but any repairs necessary should be done promptly to prevent the cracks from spreading.