Driveways not only serve as functional parking spaces. They also make it easy to access your home and play a role in your home’s curb or aesthetic appeal. Whether you are renovating or building a new driveway, you should make informed decisions for successful paving. Like other home improvement projects, you should consider several factors when paving your driveway. Below are the top considerations homeowners should make when paving their driveways:
Choosing the paving material is undoubtedly the most important decision for homeowners. Your selected paving material will affect the driveway’s visual appearance, durability, and maintenance costs. Below are common paving materials to consider:
- Asphalt paving: Most homeowners prefer hot mix asphalt for its affordability, durability, and ease of installation. Asphalt paving is a cost-effective option to concrete and other paving materials. It can also withstand heavy loads, making it perfect for driveways with heavy-weight vehicles.
- Concrete: This is a popular driveway material for its longevity, strength, and visual appeal. Concrete driveways have a longer lifespan. With regular maintenance, a concrete driveway can last for decades. They also offer a polished appearance that improves your home’s curb appeal. Concrete pavements are available in different colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose designs that fit their architectural styles.
- Gravel: You should consider gravel paving if you are looking for a cost-effective option with quick installation and excellent drainage features. Gravel is porous, which prevents water pooling and surface erosion. It is a good choice for areas with poor drainage or experiencing heavy rainfall.
You should consult paving professionals before choosing your paving material. They can suggest perfect options based on their local expertise and your unique demands.
You should also consider the local climatic conditions when paving your driveway. Paving materials react to changing weather conditions differently. Below are a few factors to take note:
- Freeze-thaw cycles: Areas with alternating freezing and thawing are problematic for all paving materials. Regular expansion and contraction caused by freeze-thaw cycles can cause cracks and deterioration of your pavement. If you live in such regions, choose paving materials that withstand frequent temperature changes.
- Heat resistance: Intense heat can affect the longevity and appearance of your driveway. High temperatures can soften and deform asphalt paving, forming depressions and ruts. Concrete is a better choice for areas with extreme heat.
- Rainfall and drainage: You should also consider the amount of rain and general drainage characteristics of your front lawn or backyard. Proper drainage prevents water from pooling and surface erosion, which deteriorates the driveway. Your driveway should slope accordingly and have functional drainage systems.
- UV exposure: Strong UV rays are damaging and can degrade your driveway over time. Some paving materials fade and discolor, making it necessary for homeowners to apply protective sealant.
- Local climate: You should also consider the climatic patterns of your area. Some areas experience extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, heavy storms, and prolonged snowing. These weather conditions can stress your driveway.
Though not a priority, the cost is a huge factor when planning to pave your driveway. Ideally, you shouldn’t compromise your driveway’s quality, appearance, and durability because of cost. Driveway paving expenses are categorized as follows:
- Material costs: Include the cost of purchasing paving materials and installation. Asphalt is a cost-effective option compared to concrete. However, gravel remains the most affordable, especially since installation costs are negligible.
- Long-term costs: You should also consider the maintenance requirements of various paving materials. While asphalt and concrete have comparably higher initial installation costs, they are durable and have low maintenance needs.
You should evaluate these factors to make an informed decision when planning your driveway paving project.
Homeowners should also consider the care and maintenance requirements in advance. Below are a few things you should know about driveway maintenance:
- Sealing: Regular sealing protects your driveway from harsh UV rays, water damage, and oil spills. You should also consider painting asphalt paving. Observing this maintenance practice extends the lifespan of your driveway.
- Cleaning: You should clean your driveway regularly for various reasons. Promptly clearing snow and other debris prevents staining and reduces the risk of slips. You should consider power washing your driveway.
- Repairs: Depending on its usage, driveways can develop cracks and potholes over time. Prompt repairs prevent further damage and costly future repairs.
Driveways hold a lot of weight and handle years of vehicle traffic to your home. They also influence your home’s general curb appeal. You should consider these and many other factors when planning a driveway paving project. Like renovations and other installations at home, you should consult paving experts for professional guidance.