Your driveway is the first welcome you or any visitor to your home gets. Imagine you’re coming home at the end of a long day at work, do you want to have to deal with pulling into a poorly maintained driveway that has poor traction and is slowly crumbling away, or do you want a smooth and easy pull in that you don’t even notice? Your driveway is a crucial part of the curb appeal of your home, and the investment that you put into it pays off in not only an improved home experience but also an increased home value.
But there are a wide variety of materials that can be used for your driveway, and choosing the right one can go a long way to ensuring you’re getting the most out of your investment. Unfortunately, there is no “Best material” so we’ll walk you through some of the benefits and challenges that the different materials have.
Gravel - This is probably the most low cost option, but also the highest maintenance. Gravel is also one of the easiest driveways to install, and has the added benefit of being able to be transformed into a concrete or asphalt driveway later on without too much clearance needed. However, it can be highly problematic in wintery conditions and is also susceptible to erosion, especially in high flood areas. Gravel does have the advantage of not being susceptible to cracking, and you can simply pour in more gravel to replace lost patches over time.
Asphalt- Next to gravel, asphalt is the next lowest cost option, with more durability. The black color of the material means that it will absorb heat and reduce the need for snow and ice upkeep. However, it still has a high maintenance cost, needing resealed every few years. In extreme heat the asphalt will become malleable and may pick up divots from bike kickstands or car jacks. (or anything else that may put a higher than usual amount of pressure into a small surface area)
Concrete - A middle of the road cost option, concrete is still more affordable than options like paver stones or brick driveways. Concrete also holds up better than gravel and asphalt and requires less ongoing maintenance. Concrete is susceptible to cracking, especially with extreme weather changes or shifting in the ground surface. This can be mitigated however by laying a thicker under layer and a thicker concrete pour for the driveway itself. Concrete also has the added advantage of customization, as it can be colored by dyes and stamps can be used to allow concrete to take on different appearances. Concrete also has the advantage of being easier to maintain in wintery conditions than asphalt or gravel.
Paver tiles- On the higher end of cost options, paver tiles or stone driveways bring with them a high end appearance appeal. Stones can be set in different shapes, colors, and patterns. Paver tile or stones also have the advantage of being very low maintenance. They hold up well over a long term period of time and are less susceptible to cracking. If the stones are damaged, you can easily replace the individual damage stones and retain an appealing look for the whole driveway rather than a patchy appearance that would come from a similar fix to asphalt or concrete.
This is, unfortunately, only a sampling of the wide variety of driveway materials available, but we only have so much time and space to discuss! There’s other options like shell, recycled material, and even reinforced grass driveways now available! What kind of material do you use? What’s a material you’d like to try if you had the budget? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget, regardless of what material you use, if you need your driveway cleaned to remove unsightly oil or grease stains, give our power washing experts a call!