Before people can get through your door, they first all get to your driveway. This makes the driveway the most commonly used space in your compound. Because of this there is need to ensure that not only your driveway of durable material but is also appealing to the eye.
A driveway is usually the first thing people see when visiting your house, and it’s one of the most used areas of your property. Make sure that your driveway balances aesthetic appeal with durability and longevity. The material you use for the driveway has a big impact on how your driveway looks and functions. To decide what kind of material to use, you’ll want to consider several factors.
Once you’re leaning toward a specific material, consult with a well-referenced professional contractor in your area. The contractor will be able to give you information specific to your climate, and he or she will know how to install the driveway properly so that it lasts as long as possible.
A good driveway is one that is planned for. It should be wide enough and also strong enough. When you have a good driveway you are complementing your house and even increasing its worth.
Never underestimate the importance of a well-planned driveway. Done right, it should be wide enough to navigate, strong enough to withstand occasional delivery trucks and graded so water slides off like rain from a roof. A good driveway also complements the house and is a pleasure to traverse.
Start by planning the route from the road to the garage thoughtfully. A curve or two takes up more land but lends grace. Drives should be at least 10 to 12 feet wide at straight runs and 14 feet wide at curves, says This Old House landscape architect Tom Wirth. If the drive is long, provide a 12-by-18-foot (or larger) space at the top for turning around; this can double as guest parking. To make sure there’s enough room, do what Tom does: Make a scale model of the cars and driveway first. “We slide the models around on the drive and make sure the turning radii are generous.”
Prevent puddling by angling the paved surface slightly downhill. Or create a crown: The center of the drive is built up so water flows down the sides into the soil or drainage channels.
There are many options available if you do want a driveway. You should also know that every type has its own pros and cons.
Asphalt driveways are the cheapest option for a permanent driveway. Tarmac or Bitmac is a cheap, flexible medium made up of rock, shale and asphalt cement. Since some of its ingredients are extracted from crude oil, tarmac and asphalt are very dark. Some contractors will mix the asphalt with a polymer dye for a more pleasing appearance. Generally these driveways last about 15 years. The driveway will need a sealant that is reapplied every two to four years. Cracks, which are common, will need to be repaired to ensure a longer life for the original asphalt.
Asphalt is generally not a do-it-yourself project. The foundation must be solid. The needed machinery generally requires a contractor’s involvement.
Concrete driveways generally last longer than asphalt and require less maintenance. In return for its 20- to 50-year lifespan, concrete is 1.5 times more expensive than asphalt. Concrete is essentially cement, gravel and sand. Cement driveways are made by creating a framework on leveled ground. Then a heavy cement mixer pours the concrete into the framework. For best results, the concrete must sit for three days or more. Many experts recommend letting it cure for a week to be sure that it achieves its maximum strength. After the concrete has been poured and cured, a sealant should be applied. For a more upscale look, concrete can be textured before it is cured.