Selecting a Driveway Surface Material
Weigh your options when determining which paver is right for your driveway
By Glyn Sheridan
Since the typical driveway sits in the front of a residence and leads a visitor's eye directly to the house, design is as important as function. With a number of material choices, you can select a basic driveway to minimize your costs or you can add custom paving elements that will set your home apart from your neighbors' homes.
- What You Need to Know
- You'll need to know the length and width of your future driveway in order to solicit bids from contractors.
- You may need a permit or approval from a homeowners association. Some communities and subdivisions restrict driveway surface materials to one or two choices.
Select concrete if your driveway is short and the soil beneath the drive is compact. Concrete is readily available in most communities but it requires a solid base to reduce cracks due to soil settling. Like most driveway options, concrete driveways require professional installation for the best results.
Choose asphalt instead of concrete to save money and to provide an attractive surface that resists temperature-related cracking better than concrete. Asphalt is a combination of tar and gravel, poured and smoothed by large machinery to form a durable surface for general vehicle use.
Make a design statement with your driveway by selecting pavers for the surface. Pavers are individual stones, concrete blocks or bricks that the contractor positions one-by-one for a custom driveway. Pavers are more expensive than poured concrete or asphalt. In addition, you may have to pour a base of concrete on which to lay the pavers. If paving the entire drive is out of the question, you may opt to use just a few stones or bricks, incorporated within a concrete drive, for a design accent.
Stamp poured concrete or color it to suit your style. Stamped and tinted concrete often looks very much like brick or cobblestone but at a much-reduced cost to the homeowner. Ask your contractor if you can see past projects with stamped concrete to get a good idea of what to expect.
Opt for a loose surface material if you live in the country. Rural dwellers may have long driveways that are too expensive to pave, but by applying a layer of crushed rock and following with another layer of gravel or sand, a long country driveway can withstand even heavy truck traffic.
Go green by choosing recycled ground asphalt or ground concrete instead of rock and gravel for your rural driveway. If you live near an area where new roadways are under construction, the highway contractor may sell the ground-up material from the old roadway to consumers.
About the Author
Glyn Sheridan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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