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Driveways Part II: How Do You Choose Materials?

The Fabulous Four Driveway Materials

We’re all more than familiar with the standard slab of straight concrete so common to millions of cookie-cutter homes all over the country. They have been a familiar sight seemingly since the beginning of time. But things have changed – especially when it comes to landscaping trends and the use of certain materials in driveways – which means that you don’t have to resign yourself to the often appeal-less straight stretch of blasé gray.

Currently, there are four common materials you can choose for driveways. Each comes with a number of pros and cons to consider. So, you’ll need to be fully aware of the details before you decide which is best for you.

Halt for Asphalt

Asphalt generally costs between $3 and $5 per square foot and requires relatively moderate levels of maintenance. It also has a general lifespan of 20 years, making it quite cost-effective. Another plus to consider is that asphalt holds up well against extreme temperatures, and its dark color easily absorbs heat – a fact which makes it extremely beneficial in expediting the melting process of snow. Repairs are generally simple, and using recycled asphalt will further lower the cost of the driveway.

On the downside, you must reseal asphalt every few years to keep it protected from erosion and chemical abrasion. It can also cause drainage issues and is prone to plant damage.

Travel on Gravel

Gravel generally costs between $1 and $3 per square foot, making it an inexpensive material; but it requires a great deal of maintenance. Even so, the lifespan is unlimited, so the amount of maintenance is often a worthy trade-off. Because it’s relatively inexpensive and quick to install, gravel is a great choice of materials for many homeowners. It is also extremely versatile, making it the perfect way to accent homes of almost any style.

Versatility and cost-effectiveness aside, gravel does have the nasty habit of creating dust. The loose rocks can also be easily displaced, somehow managing to get into areas like your car, the house, the grass, the garage and into shoes. Because the gravel does nothing to create a real barrier for weeds, weeding can become an issue. Also, you’ll need to refresh the top layer every 1 to 5 years to keep it looking well maintained and attractive.

Word on the Street About Concrete

Standard concrete generally costs between $2 and $4 per square foot, while stamped or colored concrete can cost as much as $10 to $50 per square foot. It requires very little maintenance and usually has a lifespan of 30 to 40 years, which is why it is so often used in residential applications. Concrete is also extremely solid and resists major cracks. No longer simply pouring out the boring, design options for concrete now range from flat pavement to finishes that can be stamped, colored or patterned so that your driveway is completely customized and one-of-a-kind.

Unfortunately, concrete is extremely susceptible to stains, which are difficult to remove. And tree roots can all cause major cracking and damage.

Do Pavers Favor?

Pavers generally cost from $5 to $50 per square foot, depending on the type of pavers you’ve selected. They require a moderate amount of maintenance, as you will have to replace damaged pavers periodically. But the lifespan of a driveway made of pavers is generally 20 years or more. Pavers are also available in a wide variety of colors and shapes as well as type, making their price range equally as varied. Concrete pavers, for instance, are on the less expensive side, while clay, brick and natural stone are generally a costly choice.

Adding to the plus column, however, is the fact that areas of damage can often be repaired simply by replacing the affected pavers rather than having to replace the entire driveway. Pavers are also permeable, allowing the ground to absorb and clean rainwater, which provides natural irrigation for your lawn and helps create proper stormwater run-off. On the downside, the installation cost of pavers is high, and finding replacement pavers to match originals can prove to be a difficult task.

Give the team of driveway design experts at Executive Landscaping, Inc. a call to learn more about how we can create an Executive Masterpiece for you today!