The surface of your driveway says a great deal about how much you care for the appearance of your home, and it can impact your curb appeal as well. With so many different materials available on the market today, it is important to weigh the pros and cons to determine the best possible look to your own driveway, and one that fits within your budget.
It is also possible to select a combination of materials, such as pavers and asphalt, to even further enhance the individuality of your home. While it is not our focus here, do not neglect the importance of this step. If you do not focus on the materials for your driveway, the money you spent will seem wasted as you become disappointed with the resulting look.
To begin, arrange the elements that are the most important to you in order to assist you in choosing the right material:
- Appearance: How important is it that your driveway matches the overall exterior design of your house?
- Climate considerations: Are there any major temperature fluctuations in your area that you need to be concerned about?
- Upkeep: Are you wanting to devote a lot or no time to the maintenance of your driveway?
- Budget: It is always a good idea to know how much you are comfortable spending, as this will help steer you in the right direction.
This can usually be the cheapest option available, but it also is the one that requires the most maintenance. You will want to make sure that you add gravel multiple times, as it will compact over time. You should consider a layer of decorative gravel in order to be more appealing. This should be about ½ inch thick and be added to the top.
If you are living in a snowy area, much of the gravel could end up on your lawn as the plowing is done. This will require more upkeep as well.
Gravel is effective from an environmental perspective as it soaks up water well and keeps it out of the sewer systems.
You can also consider some slate or other varieties of natural stone. This might be a bit more expensive than gravel alone, but it will not end up scattered all over your lawn, creating quite the mess come springtime.
This is still the most used driveway material. To put it in effectively, the most important part of the process is preparation. This material also requires regular upkeep as you will want to add a sealer ever two to three years to keep it protected from the weather. The sealers come in different shades, so this could be a way to add a design element to your asphalt driveway.
Concrete paving block
These are pricier than asphalt, but they tend to stand up better to heavy vehicles. They are also better in cold weather and can last up to to 30 years. Another benefit is the variety of shapes that they come in, adding in yet another design feature that you can get creative with. You do need to remember to prepare the base of your driveway and be ready for an annual application of sealant.
Concrete is becoming more popular today, but it usually poured into the compartments that have joints. This allows for better expansion in extreme weather conditions.
A unistone driveway utilizes blocks of roughly 2 ½” thickness (60 mm), each fitted together and bonded with a mixture of cement, aggregate and sand. Sealant is applied annually, but this is the only major upkeep. A noticeable advantage of this kind of driveway is that if a block becomes cracked, stained, etc., another can easily replace it without disrupting the integrity of the other blocks.
Have you considered this type of material? It allows your driveway to integrate right in with look and feel of your lawn, resulting in a creative look that will make you the envy of the neighborhood. The ground under the driveway will need to be reinforced with a plastic honeycomb-like structure. This is then filled, after which it is seeded with grass. Sod can be laid to speed up the process, but try not to do this unless there is enough time for the grass to take root before you begin driving on it. Concrete slabs or blocks are also available, and grass can be grown in the openings. This is an eco-friendly option for your driveway.
A combination of different materials
If you cannot decide on the material, or you want to get creative, you might consider combining two or more different materials. There are endless possibilities here, so just think about what will work good for your driveway, sketch it out, and see what you think.
Don’t forget your garage door
While you are considering a makeover for your driveway, don’t forget about your garage door as well. You can contact us at (508) 875-3508.
We will send out a detailed quotation to you via email. We can also come out to your home and talk about various garage doors that you can choose from. We have years of experience in the industry, so we can help you make a good decision. You can also stop by our Design Center or hop online to view our image gallery.