When’s the last time you thought about your driveway? You know, that little road that leads up to your house? Should it be concrete, asphalt, or gravel? Unless all you want is a dirt two-track with a grassy middle? These are all things to consider when installing or replacing a driveway.
Cost of Materials
Let’s start with cost. Obviously the dirt two track is the cheapest: Just drive over it again and again until you kill two tracks worth of lawn and you’re done. Gravel will cost from $1 – $3 per square foot, asphalt from $2-$4, and concrete from $4-$6 for ordinary concrete and up to $15 for the custom stuff.
When it comes to maintenance, gravel is the big winner here. It easily compacts and water drains through it. You may have to add to it once in a while, or round up a few truant pebbles every so often, but that’s it.
If you want, concrete can be sealed after it cures. But that’s just for aesthetics. And, concrete can also be stamped with a pattern or tinted a number of different colors, which is not only cool, but not as easily possible with asphalt or gravel. On the other hand, there is only one guarantee with concrete – some day it will crack, especially due to freezing temperatures.
Some people prefer the appearance of a black asphalt driveway, because it may look like an extension of an asphalt road.
The gravel in asphalt is bonded together with tar. It can soften in extremely hot weather. And, to help with longevity, it should be sealed every two or three years. (Recently, a tint has been developed for the asphalt mixture, so black may not be your only option).
Expected life of the asphalt driveway is more than 20 years, while a concrete driveway can last upwards of 40 years.
Gravel can last a lifetime, as long as it stays where it belongs.
So, when planning your new digs or thinking of ways to update your existing property, remember the driveway – the little road that leads home.