Your home's driveway is a surprisingly important part of your house's aesthetics. It's also a feature that a home inspection company will definitely examine. There are many materials that can be used to construct a driveway, and each has its own advantages. If you want to give your home a particularly cohesive look, you can use the same material for the driveway and any pathways through the lawn on your property. Take time to select the perfect material for your driveway - the correct choice will offer an unbeatable combination of looks and function.
Here are some options and the benefits they offer:
This is the go-to choice for many homeowners, and it's easy to see why. Cement is a pleasing neutral color and provides excellent durability for years of use. Unfortunately, it's difficult to pour cement on very steep inclines, so it may not be the best choice if your house is located at the top of a steep hill. Otherwise, this is a good all-purpose choice and relatively easy to maintain. Cement is somewhat porous, however, which requires some special consideration.
Because cement can absorb materials on its surface, you must seal cement on an annual basis. This is particularly important in climates that experience snow and ice in winter. The rock salt used to melt snow on walkways and driveways can quickly destroy a cement driveway if the surface hasn't been sealed. Luckily, it's relatively easy to complete the sealing process yourself each year.
Brick is a great building material, but it's less suited to driveways. Bricks are very susceptible to the weight of constant car traffic, and if the bricks are not laid on an expensive solid concrete bed, they will quickly become uneven. In addition to being unsightly, this can be a huge pain during winter months because shovels will catch on the undulating brick surface. Pavers solve these issues and provide a brick-like look.
Pavers supply a solid and relatively low-maintenance surface, but you will need to clear out the space between each tile regularly. These gaps allow water to drain through the driveway, and This Old House noted that water will not be able to escape if these openings are clogged.
If you live in a particularly rainy part of the world or want an inexpensive option for your driveway, look into porous paving choices. Porous options usually consist of large slabs that feature wide holes to allow water to pass through. These offer a better-looking alternative to gravel and require less maintenance. Unlike gravel, which can erode over time, porous driveway surfaces maintain your driveway's shape while still allowing consistent drainage. Porous driveways are poorly suited to colder climates because they make it difficult to remove snow and ice.
Asphalt is popular in areas that get regular snow, and it deals with the cycle between cold and warm temperatures better than cement. Like cement, it requires sealing, though on a less frequent basis. It can also be less expensive than cement, particularly when the price of oil is low.