The 5 Best Driveway Materials to Welcome Your Car Home

The 5 Best Driveway Materials to Welcome Your Car Home
  • Opening Intro -

    You have finished the journey.

    Coming home and rolling up and onto a prized driveway is the ultimate welcome mat for your car.

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It signifies home and all that it means: Sanctity, safety, relaxation and whatever resonates with you about hearth and home. Let’s look at the five best driveway materials that convey this message and offer a safe surface for your tires.

Asphalt

Once the standard, asphalt is still used for driveways although not as much as in the past. It is mid-range pricing from $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot with an expected lifespan of up to 20 years. Recycled asphalt can save you on a brand-new installation.

  • Pros:

    Durable over time and holds up to extreme weather fluctuations. The black of asphalt holds the heat, which aids in snow melt. Repairs, recapping or resealing is a quick process as needed or every 2 to 4 years depending upon wear and tear.

  • Cons:

    Without upkeep, surface erosion from both weather and chemicals such as car fluids can cause break down. Watch for possible drainage issues or plants and grasses that can grow through the asphalt.

  • Caution:

    Beware of the drive-by offers from unknown solicitors. Warnings issued by the National Pavement Association recommend waving off a same-day paving using the leftover asphalt from another job.

    While the tempting discount is steep, so is the risk. If the temperature of the material used is not high enough, it won’t be effective. You are better off collecting bids and letting the contractors compete for your business.

Concrete

Concrete has been growing in popularity for everything from indoor floors to cement countertops, but as a driveway material, it’s always been a hit as a clean, solid surface. It is a low-range cost at $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot. For stamped concrete that gives you a patterned finish, you can expect the price to rise by $8.00 to as much as $48.00, depending on the detail. You can create an impression of a different type of material such as brick, stone, tile and more by pressing molds into the wet cement as it cures. Lifespan for concrete is excellent from 30 to 40 years.

  • Pros:

    Versatile design options as concrete can be stamped, colored and patterned. You have countless ways to personalize your finished look with concrete. In fact, cement driveways have grown immensely in popularity for how easily they can be customized. Major cracks are generally not an issue and cleaning, smoothing or filling minor cracks can be DIY projects, if you are handy.

  • Cons:

    Susceptible to stains without a seal. Tire marks and oil leaks from vehicles are the culprits. Road salt can erode the surface. Extreme temperature changes, encroaching tree roots or improper installation can all contribute to damage from cracks.

Flagstone

Distinctive in appearance, flagstone driveways deliver classic elegance to your home. At a higher range, the national average price runs from $15.00 to $20.00 per square foot. A sedimentary rock composed of feldspar and quartz, it is split into layers and only quarried in certain areas. In the U.S., both Arizona and Pennsylvania have large quarries of flagstone.

  • Pros:

    Uncompromisingly beautiful, effective and efficient when properly installed. Advances in stone-cutting machinery has contributed to making the work both cheaper and more efficient. The color of flagstone will not wash away or fade over time. Despite harsh weather, it is highly unlikely that flagstone will develop any cracks or fissures. With proper care, your flagstone driveway will last a lifetime.

  • Cons:

    Labor-intensive installation can make flagstone price-prohibitive and time consuming. Algae, moss and weed growth must be tended to within the damp cuts between the stones. Poor workmanship or base material may lead to breakage. Shipping and handling influence pricing the farther away you are from the quarry.

    Concrete flagstone pavers provide an alternative to the natural stone while still offering the characteristic gentle surface clefts, variable colors and textured surfaces.

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Gravel

Popular throughout the U.S., gravel driveways are quick to install and come in different colors allowing customized complementary looks. Preparation is key making sure the soil beneath the gravel is strong, clear of debris and detritus and stripped of the topsoil.

A fabric can be laid down above the subsoil before the gravel is laid down. Cost is on the low end ranging from $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot and potentially lasts a lifetime if the top layer gets refreshed every 1 to 5 years.

  • Pros:

    Quick and cheap to install. Aesthetically pleasing. Easily accent a variety of home styles. When properly laid down, the driveway will have a crown where the middle of the driveway is higher than the edges to allow for water runoff without eroding the surface.

  • Cons:

    Maintenance. Gravel can move, and you will need to fill the low spots with the gravel that has caused high spots. Water runoff can create and move silt if the grading is not maintained. Weeding is necessary and can be difficult. Snow plowing is tricky leading to loss of surface gravel without using an expert operator to remove the snow.

    Gravel creates dust and the loose material ends up being transferred to the car, the house, in the grass and inside the garage. It can also get inside your shoes and is hard to walk on without them.

Pavers

Growing in popularity, pavers add class and character to your home with a variety of thicknesses best optimized for vehicular traffic. Visually stunning, pavers let you create the driveway of your dreams. They are in the high-range costing from $5.00 to $50.00 per square foot. They last 30 to 40 years with moderate maintenance only replacing pavers as needed.

  • Pros:

    Designed to provide the same visual appeal of natural stones or brick but with greater durability. Versatile and adaptable to your choice of design, only limited by your own imagination. They can be made stain resistant, are unlikely to crack, can be up to four times stronger than poured concrete and are randomly colored to resemble natural stone or brick. Permeable pavers allow the flow of water runoff to return to the ground water, taking the strain off sewer systems.

  • Cons:

    Labor intensive. Expensive to install. Replacing individual pavers may not match your originals. Snow removal can be tricky with the edges catching the shovel. Occasional weeding of sprouts between the pavers is needed.

When you can drive up to your home on the driveway of your dreams, the comfort factor is off the scale. The curb appeal, the way it makes your car look so good, the way it makes you feel are all aspects of immeasurable value. When your driveway is as beautiful as it is functional, it is a reflection for you and anyone passing by that this is a place called home.

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