Despite its ubiquity, the driveway is often considered as an afterthought when property owners plan to build a house or commercial building. But this section of your property is one of its most important especially if you want to ensure that you can park your car or leave your home without hassle, as well as boost the home’s curb appeal. If you are building a new residential or commercial property, or even planning to renovate one, here’s a handy guide on choosing the best design and paving materials for your future driveway.
When it comes to popularity, no other driveway paving material beats concrete. It is durable and can withstand prolonged exposure to the elements, making it a practical choice for any homeowner or commercial property owner. Concrete is mainly composed of stone aggregates mixed with water and Portland cement (its usual binder). A mixture of sand and gravel are used as aggregates. In some applications, concrete is reinforced using steel wire or metal rebar.
* Concrete is strong and long-lasting. Depending on the craftsmanship and how well it is maintained, a concrete driveway can last even up to 50 years.
* Concrete is an exceedingly versatile material. You can leave a concrete driveway as it is sans any decorations if you want to save money or you want a minimalist-inspired driveway. But if you want it to stand out and boost your home’s curb appeal, you can have your builder stamp decorative designs or etch some color on it.
* This type of driveway is easy to maintain. Simply clean dirt and stains as soon as possible, and reseal once every three to five years to ensure the driveway’s longevity.
* Can be more affordable compared to certain driveway materials.
* Because of the material’s strength, concrete driveways are ideal for properties where large or multiple vehicles frequently pass or park.
* Pouring a concrete driveway can be back-breaking if you want to go at it alone. This task is best left to professional concrete contractors.
* Concrete driveways can be a bit dull. If you’re looking to make it stand out, have your contractor stamp a design or etch a color on it.
If you want something more visually exciting and has more texture than concrete, then an exposed aggregate driveway is your best choice. This type of driveway is composed of concrete mixed with decorative aggregates, such as sand, gravel, granite, or liquid limestone. Glass, pebbles, and seashells can also be used as decorative stones that will be embedded into the concrete. After mixing the cement and the aggregates, the surface mortar is then removed to expose the aggregates underneath. Depending on the contractor, exposing the aggregates is done by simple brushing and washing, using a chemical surface retarder, or by abrasive blasting.
* This type of driveway is unique and visually impressive because of the wide array of decorative aggregates available for property owners. It also has that modern yet natural look that is perfect not only for driveways but also for patios and poolside.
* Like concrete, a driveway constructed from exposed aggregate is durable and long-lasting. Depending on how it is maintained, a driveway made of exposed aggregate can even outlast the car for many decades. It can also withstand extreme heat, making it perfect for the weather in Perth and other parts of Western Australia.
* Exposed aggregate driveways don’t need much when it comes to maintenance. Just clean the surface with water, and have it resealed every three to five years, and you’re good to go.
* It can be difficult to repair once cracks appear in the concrete or once the stones are damaged or dislodged.
* Pouring an exposed aggregate driveway is labour-intensive, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
* Deep-seated dirt that had settled between the stones can be difficult to remove using water and hose. Have it resealed to ensure its durability and longevity.
This type of driveway is made up of asphalt plus aggregates of sand and rock. Before the components are mixed, the asphalt is heated up and liquefied. The process of installing an asphalt driveway begins with grading the surface and compacting the base soil. A thick layer of crushed rocks will then be added and packed into the subsoil to provide the driveway a proper drainage. The base will be left to settle for about a week before it is topped with hot asphalt and compacted using a steamroller.
* Asphalt is durable and can withstand water and extreme heat without cracking. Depending on the workmanship and how it has been maintained, an asphalt driveway can last up to 20 years.
* Installation is very cheap.
* Unlike concrete which needs about a week or more of curing before it can be used, homeowners or commercial property owners can use an asphalt driveway after about a day or two.
* It is low-maintenance. All you need is a stiff broom plus a hose and some water to remove surface dirt. Apply sealant every two to five years to ensure its durability.
* Asphalt is ideal for places with colder climates as the material can melt and crack under intense heat which will later result in an uneven surface. But prolonged exposure ice and snow can also result in visible cracks on the surface. The fissures, however, can be easily repaired.
Clay Brick Pavers
The process of producing this driveway paving material begins with hard-firing clay bricks inside kilns. The high temperature ensures the durability of the pavers, as well as create warm earthy tones that are resistant to stains and UV rays. Crushed rocks used as base materials are laid out and compacted after the driveway site is prepared. After adding the sand, the clay brick pavers are installed. Additional sand is added to fill in the spaces between each paver.
* Warm earthy hues of clay brick pavers give your driveway a natural look. The hard-firing process also allows the pavers to retain their colours even after they had been exposed to the elements.
* Clay brick pavers are visually appealing as they can be installed in different patterns of your choice, such as herringbone, basket weave, and stretcher bond.
* More environment-friendly than other materials.
* It can last for more than 25 years depending on the quality of installation and how it has been maintained.
* More expensive than other driveway material options because bricks can be difficult to cut and the process of installing the pavers itself is labor-intensive.
* Your choices are limited when it comes to colour and size.
* Clay brick pavers need to be maintained more than concrete, asphalt, or exposed aggregate. It requires a thorough washing once a year using a pressure washer, while weeds that had grown in the spaces between each paver need to be removed.
Although it is known as “bluestone,” this type of driveway material is available in a wide array of lovely colours which include slate grey, gold, brown, red, and of course, blue. It gives off the right balance of modern and rustic, making it great for both contemporary and country homes. Installing bluestone pavers begin with the excavation of the driveway site. Paver base (can be sand, crushed rocks, or cement) is set on site before laying out the bluestone pavers. Sand or grout will be used to fill the spaces between the pavers. It will be sealed to give it a sleek look.
* Bluestone pavers are durable, making them ideal residential properties and even for high-traffic commercial establishments, such as office buildings and shopping centers.
* The pavers shows amazing versatility as the stones can be cut in different shapes and sizes. Homeowners are not limited to uniforms squares and rectangles.
* Bluestone pavers are durable because of the stone’s high density. This allows them to withstand extreme weather conditions.
* This type of driveway can be more expensive than other options. Bluestone is quarried in certain areas only, and this can drive the prices higher.
* The stones can degrade and its colors can change over time when exposed to salt and certain chemicals so it needs to be sealed to ensure its longevity.