Paving the driveway adds curb appeal to your property, and also creates a safer, lower maintenance area for parking. Asphalt paving remains the most affordable option for driveways, but many discerning homeowners are considering poured concrete or paving stones as viable, attractive options.
Do your research before deciding on which type of material to use for driveway paving. What are the benefits to these materials, and what can you expect to pay for design and installation?
Basics of Poured Concrete Driveways
Poured concrete is routinely used for sidewalks, pathways and even roadways across the country. Dense and durable, concrete bears heavy loads without a problem and stands up to all sorts of weather for years. When properly mixed and professionally poured, concrete runs little risk of cracking and can be easily maintained.
Concrete is a versatile material. Using wooden forms and an adequate amount of concrete your contractor can form a straight or curved driveway, mimicking almost any shape. Use concrete on walkways, for the porch and any stairs in the area.
Removing concrete is a messy job, but with heavy equipment or brute strength, even thick slabs can be broken up and carted away. Cutting holes in concrete involves a grinder or heavy-duty saw, and concrete debris is often recycled into gravel.
Benefits of Using Poured Concrete
Strong and extremely durable, poured concrete provides a uniform, attractive finish on driveways of any size. Opt for the standard gray brushed concrete finish, or invest in other styles and finishes, including stamped concrete, polished concrete or colored concrete. Tailor the appearance to suit the architecture of your home and coordinate the surrounding landscape for a beautiful exterior.
Concrete requires very little maintenance. Snow can be easily cleared away in winter, and ice melting products can used to eliminate ice slippery conditions. If staining occurs, poured concrete driveways can be cleaned off using mild detergent. Difficult stains, such as oil or grease, may require the use of granular cleaning products. Concrete can be scrubbed and swept without damage, and most power washers can be safely used on concrete driveways and walkways.
Concrete driveways are affordable, especially when compared to high quality paving stones or natural stone. Some concrete styles come with a premium price, including exposed aggregate or stamped concrete. These designs require more labor and use specialty products to create a unique appearance.
Basics of Paving Stones
Paving the driveway with preformed paving stones provides a durable, attractive finish that reflects character and style. Paving stones come in a wide array of colors, shapes and textures, providing homeowners with almost unlimited choice in terms of design. Your paving stone driveway will be completely unique, and built to last for decades.
Paving stones are manufactured to carry heavy loads. When laid on a layer of gravel for drainage, paving stones stand firm through any weather, including anything from below freezing temperatures to high humidity and extreme heat.
Pavers may be formed from concrete and interlock over the surface of your driveway to form a strong area for foot and vehicle traffic. Natural or cut stone can also be used for driveways, provided the top surface creates a safe, flat surface. Gaps in the stones are filled with sand or crushed limestone and weeds should not be a problem with an adequate base.
Water drains away quickly and safely with paving stone driveways, much more efficiently than on asphalt or poured concrete. Because of those gaps between the stones water has more than one path, resulting in less wear and more controlled run off. Paving stones are used in urban areas to reduce run off and direct rainwater and thawing snow quickly away from traffic areas.
Benefits of Using Paving Stones
Most people opt for paving stones due to the attractive and unique appearance. Create an old world look with a cobblestone driveway, or opt for something more contemporary and use one of the modern styles.
Paving stones are also flexible and freely move with seasonal changes. Each stone shifts slightly with the frost and thaw cycle, without affecting the overall surface. Avoid cracked driveways by paving your property with quality paving stones that present a beautiful, reliable finish for years.
Experts state that quality paving stones contain less moisture than poured concrete driveways. This provides greater load-bearing capabilities, as well as higher levels of strength in extreme climate conditions. When properly installed in an interlocking pattern, paving stones present one of the most durable surfaces for vehicle and foot traffic.
You can expect to pay a premium for this style of paved driveway, but it will also substantially increase the value of your home. Opt for an attractive pattern that mimics the architecture of your home and style of your landscape. This will ensure the driveway remains part of the overall exterior design. Incorporate pathways, patios and even garden edging to create a synergy in your outdoor living space.
Consider your budget and tastes when deciding between poured concrete and paving stones. Often the house style will dictate a certain product as well. Modern homes designed with a minimalist style are complemented by poured concrete in a brushed or polished finish. Traditional homes look best with a unique pattern of paving stones laid in the driveway and front entrance. Both of these products will fit into a certain house character, and that combination should also suit your own tastes and style.
Paving the driveway creates greater levels of safety and impressive curb appeal. Whether you choose affordable and attractive poured concrete or unique and charming paving stones for your driveway, be sure to hire an experienced contractor. A professional will create the ideal design, prep the jobsite and use only quality materials. Expert installation ensures durability and allows your home improvement investment to retain value for years to come.Posted by: TrustedPros