Whether you built or bought your new house, you must be very eager to make your house look the best it can, and your choice of driveway has a huge impact on the external appearance of your home. Driveways can be made from different materials – most commonly asphalt, gravel, pea-stone, pavers and concrete – and which material you choose depends on a number of factors, listed as follows.
Cost certainly plays a big role in material choice for driveway construction. When working out the costs, ensure that you also consider the costs of maintenance of a driveway over its lifetime. For instance, paver driveways are very costly to install upfront, but have minimal maintenance requirements. Gravel driveways are very cheap, but they require frequent maintenance, increasing your projected cash outlay. Research on the maintenance requirements of the various options you have so that you can calculate the full cost of a material over the driveway's lifetime.
Aside from cost, the maintenance of a driveway also demands a time investment. You may need to hire professionals depending on what needs to be done. Concrete needs resealing every two years, depending on your region's weather patterns. Having a gravel driveway where snow requires shovelling means the material will need replacing in spring. Asphalt needs resealing and crack repair every two-four years to prevent water from getting into and unseating the gravel foundation.
Durability is affected by many factors, including the kind of vehicles that will travel on the driveway, frequency of use and material grade. Concrete driveways can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance and care. Pavers last even longer. Asphalt driveways can last 20 years before they need complete redoing. Of course, taking proper care during installation and maintenance (ensuring it is done by professionals where necessary) can extend the lifespan. Gravel and pea-stone driveways are erosion-prone and won't last long at all.
Driveway materials have different levels of tolerance for changing weather patterns. Pea-stone or gravel driveways are unsuitable for areas with heavy rainfall since the soil underneath can get eroded easily. Asphalt driveways can better withstand the freeze-thaw cycles of winter/summer better than their concrete counterparts. Consult a qualified contractor in your area about the effects of humidity, temperature, snow and rainfall on your choice of material.
How your driveway should look also depends on exterior features of the house, including landscaping and architectural styles. For example, having a gravel driveway may complement quaint cottage-style homes, while stately, colonial-style homes would look better with patterned brick driveways. Consider how the choice of material will impact the external home features; you can use the Internet to find out how different driveways look against the backdrop of a home like yours.
For help with your driveway construction, talk to a professional.