If you’re a homeowner, the chances are that you’ll have to replace or repair a driveway at some point. This might be for practical reasons, because you just fancy a change or a mixture of the two.
There are lots of different driveway materials out there, which can make it difficult to decide which one to use. Each driveway material has its own pros and cons so it’s important to research and make an informed decision.
If you need to surface your driveway and want to learn more about different material options, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out more about 5 great ways to surface your driveway.
Gravel is a commonly-used driveway surfacing material and looks great on a range of driveways. You’re most likely to find a gravel driveway in rural areas, as they tend to complement older properties and green areas. However, they can also look great in more urban areas.
A big advantage of gravel is that it’s relatively cheap. This means that installing and repairing a gravel driveway is fairly inexpensive. Repairing a gravel driveway is also easy – all you need to do is use a rake to level out your driveway every so often and fill in any potholes as and when they appear.
Another benefit to gravel is that it comes in lots of different colours, shapes and sizes. So if you want to coordinate your driveway with your property, using gravel is a great way to do this.
One of the few downsides to gravel is that it’s not suitable for sloped driveways. As it’s loose it would move from the top to the bottom and make an uneven, scruffy driveway.
A resin bonded driveway is a great choice if you want the look of a gravel driveway without the potential mess. Resin bonded driveways are made by adding a layer of resin to a base, usually made of concrete or asphalt, followed by a layer of aggregate. The aggregate sticks to the resin and creates a driveway that can look like gravel but doesn’t have any loose stone.
A great benefit to resin bonded driveways is that, like gravel driveways, they come in lots of different colours. You can also use a range of aggregate, including crushed flint and gravel. So you can create a unique driveway that suits you.
A downside to resin bonded driveways is that the resin can lift from the base if the driveway hasn’t been installed properly or the base is structurally unsound. To avoid this problem, make sure you use a quality contractor who you trust.
Asphalt is another driveway surfacing material you should consider. It’s often known as Tarmac, which is a very similar branded product. It can look good on any driveway and is a practical and affordable option.
One of the benefits of asphalt is that it’s long-lasting. An asphalt driveway that’s been installed and looked after properly can last around 35 years. It’s also flexible, so is generally able to withstand very hot and cold weather.
That said, despite its flexibility asphalt can still get damaged by extreme weather. To keep it in good condition you should sweep and wash it regularly and seal coat it once every 2-5 years.
Block paving is a particularly popular choice of driveway surfacing material. It’s generally hassle-free as it’s long-lasting and low maintenance. Block paving is also easy to repair as if any part of your driveway gets damaged, you only need to remove and replace the affected pavers.
A major reason why block paving is so popular is because it can come is so many different materials, colours, shapes and sizes. You can use block paving to make attractive patterns and designs and create a truly unique driveway.
An unfortunate downside to block paving is that it’s relatively expensive. If you’re looking for a budget option it’s best to go for a cheaper material, like asphalt or gravel.
Concrete is another commonly-used driveway material, particularly in urban areas. This is because it’s long-lasting and low maintenance. Concrete driveways can easily last more than 30 years and need no more than the occasional sweep, wash and coat of sealant.
Like block paving, concrete is a great option if you want to create a unique-looking driveway. You can stain concrete different colours and create patterns with it using a mat. You can even make concrete resemble other surfacing materials, like slate, granite and cobbles. This is handy if you’d like a natural stone driveway but don’t want to fork out for one.
Unfortunately, concrete does have its downsides. It can crack under extreme pressure or in severe weather and is hard to repair without creating an untidy, patchy look. It’s also more expensive than gravel and asphalt.
So now you should know a bit more about your different driveway surfacing options and can make an informed decision on which one you’re going to use.
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