See Other Commonsense Guides
      Home Improvement  »   Home Exterior and Property  »   Driveways  »
Driveway Paving

An attractive, well maintained driveway can add distinction and value to your property. Visitors frequently form their first impression of your house from the condition of your driveway. If you are considering replacing a driveway or installing a new one, the architectural style of your house, the weather in your area, the length of the drive, and the amount of money you want to spend can help determine which construction material will be best for you.

There are a variety of materials that can be used to construct driveways. Consider the following information:

  • Asphalt (see asphalt driveways) is one of the least expensive driveway materials and therefore one of the most popular. It will last for many years and is smooth enough for easy snow removal. It is installed by pouring a special mixture of hot tar onto a prepared bed. It is important to get the right slope when installing asphalt, as good drainage prevents water from freezing and cracking the driveway surface. You can prolong the life of an asphalt drive by applying a sealant every one or two years. These sealants are best applied in hot, dry weather.
  • Concrete is another popular choice in cold climates where snow removal is an important consideration. Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate (usually washed stone), various additives, and water. It can be colored, stamped, etched, embedded, brushed, and molded to achieve an almost infinite number of effects. Concrete is more expensive than asphalt, but it will last for many years before it begins to crack, especially in areas with severe winters. You can use a driveway sealer to help protect the concrete.
  • Brick makes a beautiful driveway, especially when an antique look is desired. Brick is manufactured in a large range of warm, earthy tones, and it can be laid in a variety of patterns that add texture to any property. Brick drives can be easy to repair, as damaged bricks can be individually replaced. Less expensive brick like pavers are also available in a wide range of colors. Their uniformity makes them easy to install.
  • Driveways made from stone blocks are the ultimate luxury look. Only dense stone such as granite should be used since fieldstone and slate will crack from the weight of vehicles. Concrete blocks that have been colored and tumbled to smooth their edges so that they resemble cobble stones are an increasing popular, less expensive choice. These sturdy blocks can be mixed and matched to create patterns rich in texture. They are especially suitable where large areas will need to be harmoniously paved.
For a more natural look in areas where snow removal is not an issue, driveways can
be constructed from a variety of loose, natural materials. Wood chips, pine needles, gravel, and crushed sea shells all make charming, inconspicuous drives, although it is best to pick a material native to your area when making this kind of driveway. All of these need to be replenished on a regular basis.

Also, you may want to consider a driveway gate to dress up the entrance.

As a service to you, we are experimenting with providing additional product information:
Questions, Comments, Suggestions, & Corrections 2005,2006 CliqueFriends, LLC