If you are considering laying a new driveway, then one of the key decisions you must make early on is to choose the material your driveway will be constructed from. In general, your choices will be between Gravel, Asphalt and Concrete.
There are of course various advantages to each material, and whilst you will no doubt be able to find various articles bragging off the benefits of gravel and asphalt, the advantages of concrete really do stand head and shoulders above the other materials.
Advantages such as…
Yes, let’s start with cost because on the face of it, this is actually where concrete has it biggest disadvantage over the other two driveway materials, especially asphalt. Yes, asphalt driveways are cheaper then concrete – that is true, but only if you consider the initial installation costs.
However, if you then factor in the time and cost of all the maintenance that asphalt requires over the years and compare it to concrete the cost argument dramatically shifts. Yes, a concrete driveway is going to set you back in the region of around $4 per square foot to lay. But once it’s in, you can pretty much forget about it.
Not so with asphalt driveways however. Unless they are protected from the sun and weather with a technique called sealcoating then they are going to start turning grey and becoming brittle and cracked very quickly.
Depending on your local weather conditions, sealcotaing is only going to remain effective for a couple of years at a time. After you’ve paid to sealcoat your asphalt drive a few times, those initial cost savings are well and truly gone.
That concrete is one of the toughest surfaces out there is no great secret – after all, they build everything up to and including nuclear bomb shelters out of the stuff!
Concrete driveways are no exception to this. A well laid driveway made of concrete is going to have a life expectancy of around 25 to 30 years with very minimal maintenance required. Just a good pressure wash every now and then.
Concrete will eventually begin to show it’s age, and start to crack however we are talking years and years – decades – before this becomes an issue. It used to be the case that when a driveway began to show its age, there was no remedy except to rip it out and re-pour fresh concrete.
Happily, in this day and age the rip it up and start again strategy is not the only one on the table. Concrete resurfacing is now a real possibility, as is a method called Concrete Overlays that can also be a quicker and easier option when older driveways begin to show their age.
Concrete driveways also hold advantages over the other two materials in terms of weather extremes. As anyone who has ever walked on an asphalt surface at the height of summer can testify, the deep black coloring for asphalt can really trap the heat! Concrete, as a lighter material is usually fine to walk on barefoot in all but the absolute hottest of summer days.
On the other end of the weather spectrum, anyone who has ever had to scrape snow from a gravel driveway will know that this is no easy feat. If you live in an area that experiences snow fall at least part of the year, concrete is by the far easiest driveway construction material to shovel and sweep snow from.
Ultimately, the decision as to which material you construct your driveway from will be down to you, and many factors will ultimately affect your decision. Hopefully the above article though will have given you some good suggestions as to why concrete is the best available material for your driveway.