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How to choose the right material for your new driveway

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Mika, Staff Writer

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Did you know a new driveway can add between 5% and 10% to the value of your property? 

As well as improving that all-important curb appeal, a driveway is a highly used area of any home or commercial business. Therefore, the material needs to suit the usage of the building by providing a practical surface to drive or walk on. 

Driveways require a lot of thought and research to get right, especially when it comes to choosing the material. Here’s every point you need to address to make that happen. 

Driveway material options

  • Asphalt

  • Block paving

  • Brick paving

  • Cobblestone

  • Concrete (smooth)

  • Concrete paving slabs

  • Grass pavers

  • Gravel

  • Resin

  • Tarmac 

Maintenance

Consider how much maintenance you are willing to put into your driveway. With brick (clay) or block (concrete) pavers, they will require pressure washing every couple of years to keep them clean. They may also need resanding as well as a treatment applying on top to prevent mould spots from forming. 

However, pavers are the easiest driveway material to lift up and replace. This means if you need work doing underneath your driveway, you’d never know the pavers had been lifted. 

Low maintenance driveway options include gravel, resin and smooth concrete. Each of these materials requires very little user intervention, though gravel will need topping up every once in a while. 

Asphalt or tarmac driveways are ideal for commercial parking areas or residential driveways, as they are the best material for painting parking lines or instructions onto. However, both asphalt and tarmac require regular maintenance otherwise they will develop potholes. 

Price

The cost of installing a driveway is always going to be a top consideration. What you need to think about is the upfront cost now versus the long term costs, especially if your driveway requires repairs or regular cleaning. Also, you want to avoid choosing a cheaper driveway now that isn’t suited to the purpose. Otherwise, it will cost you more in the long run to maintain or replace.

Cheaper driveway options include concrete (both smooth and slabs), asphalt, tarmac, gravel and block paving. The reason is that each of these materials requires less labour to install. Block paving is also cheaper due to being manufactured from man-made concrete, but has a slower installation time. 

Brick paving uses clay pavers which are made by dredging clay from riverbanks. The blocks are then individually shaped and heat treated. As a result, brick paving is a lot more expensive but does have an incredibly long lifespan. 

Colour options

The last thing you’d want is for your driveway to not match the look of your building, or for it to stick out like a sore thumb in your neighbourhood. 

Materials such as pavers (brick and block), gravel and resin offer the most colour options. Other materials such as asphalt, tarmac, smooth concrete, concrete paving slabs and grass pavers usually are usually only available in one colour. 

That said, the colours of tarmac or concrete are pretty universal choices for a driveway, but this doesn’t leave a lot of room for personalising your outdoor spaces. 

Practicality 

Think about whether your driveway is needed more for driving over or walking on. Cobblestones are fine to drive on but can be a tripping hazard to walk on especially for longer driveways. Plus, cobblestones aren’t as practical for wheelchairs or pushchairs. 

The weather also plays a huge part in driveway practicality. If your driveway is exposed to extreme weather conditions, it needs to not melt in the summer or pose a slipping hazard in the winter. Resin driveways have an anti-slip layer applied on top, though are more expensive and aren’t suitable for excessive car use. 

Installation time

How long a driveway takes to install varies significantly depending on the material you opt for. The process may include excavating the ground before your driveway can be installed. If you own a commercial business, check with your contractor as you may need to offer alternate parking for your patrons while the work is being completed. 

Driveway Installers near me

The above is just a snapshot of what you need to think about when choosing a driveway material. The option you choose needs to reflect your property type and how you intend to use the driveway. Plus, you need to make sure it’s a safe and practical surface that you can maintain.

If you’d like to get individual advice on your project or if you’re ready to get started, you can find local Driveway Installers near you on Bark.

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