The driveway is the first thing that greets a house owner, a guest or a potential buyer before reaching the house’s front door, providing a first impression of the property. How it looks like could even make or break a potential house sale.
There are several types of materials for making driveways.
- Concrete – Made of crushed limestone, sand, rock and cement; light in color so, easily stains; installation relatively quick; durable; needs low maintenance; lifespan up to 50 years.
- Asphalt – Made ofa mixture of sand, tiny bits of gravel and asphalt cement; dark in color so, hides stains; installation relatively quick; needs annual maintenance and sealing every 2-5 years; lifespan from 12-35 years.
- Gravel – Made of loose gravel, poured into a containment barrier; no repair needed but gravel needs to be replaced every few years since it gets displaced easily; looks dirty fast.
- Brick – Available in clay and other colors so, lovely to look at; easy to install by DIY; durable; needs low maintenance; lifespan 50 years or more.
- Cobblestone – Made of granite; most durable material (stain- and weather-resistant, does not crack or split); lovely to look at; almost no maintenance needed; lifespan almost 100 years.
- Glass – Made of a mosaic of thick tumbled glass (pieces of broken bottles or tableware with rounded edges, sealed with resin); eco-friendly; low maintenance, if installed right.
- Green – Made of grass covering the surface of a plastic base; eco-friendly; needs high maintenance to keep the grass alive.
Factors to consider when choosing a driveway type:
- Cost. The cobblestone type would be the most expensive to install, followed by brick, glass, concrete, green, asphalt and gravel (the cheapest), in that order. However, the cost of annual asphalt maintenance and sealing will add to the total cost of an asphalt type. People who want good look, low maintenance and durability may opt for an affordable concrete flooring.
- Appearance. Cobblestone and brick are the most pleasing to look at. They are also the most expensive. Glass color may not be desired by potential buyers. Concrete and asphalt are both good choices for good look and price.
- Installation. Concrete, asphalt and brick installation is easy and quite quick.
- Maintenance. Grass needs high maintenance; asphalt, annual maintenance, with resealing. Gravel needs to be replaced every few years. The others need no or low maintenance.
- Durability/Lifespan. Cobblestone lasts over one’s lifetime. Brick and concrete last as long as each other.
- Size/Length of driveway. For long driveways, many prefer asphalt and concrete because of the medium cost, but still good appearance.
Evidently, the choice of driveway type will depend on a combination of factors. If money is not a concern and the property is located in an upscale or historic neighborhood, the owner might choose a cobblestone or brick driveway.
Both enhance curb appeal and need low or no maintenance at all. For those with children, the driveway might also be used for playing. A concrete or asphalt driveway would be durable enough and not costly to maintain.