We’ve all asked the question, “How long should my driveway last?”. The amount that we put in our driveways is serious money and so naturally, we expect that to be worth our investment. Every type of material has a different characteristic and thus, varying lifespans. There are a handful of options that you can choose from, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, longevity, cost and of course, beauty. Knowing which material will match your driveway needs will help you in choosing the right fit for you.
If you’re also wondering how much does a driveway cost, here’s a quick guide that we have broken down for you. So whether you are planning to install a new driveway or replacing your old one, here are some of the most common materials used in paving to give you a better idea of what to choose.
Types of Driveways
Lifespan: 100 years
Cost: $1 – $3 per square foot
Gravel is a common material made up of loose rocks that are larger than sand but smaller than cobbles. It is processed to contain a combination of rock, sand, and clay. Gravel is actually more efficient than plain rocks because it compacts better thereby creating a more stable surface. Unlike concrete and asphalt which has less holding capacity for water, gravel is more water-resistant and can easily shed it away. If you are on a tight budget, you might opt to use gravel, especially if you have a long driveway.
Gravel, although a great option for the budget-conscious causes dust, dirt, and debris on your driveway particularly during the summer months. Moreover, snow removal is also more difficult with a gravel driveway. Because of its composition, snow tends to stick more compared to other materials.
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Cost: $2 – $5 per square foot
Asphalt is a popular choice among homeowners. It is mainly used for paving driveways, parking lots and other road constructions. It’s composed of sand, stone, and gravel mixed with asphalt cement. If maintained properly with sealcoating every 2 – 3 years, it could last you up to 20 years or more depending on how you take care of it. The installation costs for an asphalt driveway is also reasonable and the repairs are pretty easy to do.To add to that, it’s also more flexible because it is petroleum-based so it does not easily crack under tremendous pressure on the surface. Another advantage of using asphalt in comparison to gravel and concrete, which is also another popular choice, is that asphalt can melt the ice better than the two so you’ll have more ease in removing snow on your driveway.
The downside to using asphalt is that it has very limited options for customization. It is primarily black and there is really not many designs available. You have to also keep in mind that asphalt becomes very susceptible to dents and marks during extreme heat when it becomes really soft and during the rainy season when there is excessive rainfall that can seep through the surface and cause cracks. Hence, regular sealcoating is advised to prevent weather conditions such as those to cause serious damage.
Lifespan: 25 – 50 years
Cost: $3 – $10 per square foot
If you are looking for a material that has minimal to zero maintenance that could last you for years, you might want to consider concrete. Concrete is made up of the same aggregates as asphalt but with cement as the binding agent. Concrete would definitely cost you more than asphalt, but it could also last you for years without much maintenance. The nice thing about concrete is that you can have more customization options with it through color-etching or stamping.
Like the rest of the materials, concrete has its trade-offs. For instance, repairs are way more difficult to do with a concrete driveway. Concrete is also more prone to oil stains that leak from vehicles. And the stains are usually arduous to remove.
Lifespan: 25 years
Cost: starts at $10 per square foot
There’s no doubt that bricks add a classy appeal to any driveway. More than that, you have a variety of options when it comes to unique designs and colors that you want to place on your driveway to make it more personalized. Furthermore, bricks are also known for their durability and ease of repairs. And you don’t have to worry because as long as it is installed properly, it’s not going to crack. As for maintenance, occasional sweeping and pressure washing would help keep your brick driveway in top condition.
However, bricks tend to move over time as the soil shifts. Weeds poking out of the bricks is also a common problem, although a minor one. Nevertheless, it is the high cost of installation that holds people back from using bricks. Rates could soar as high as $50 per square foot depending on the style and pattern that you want so it is not exactly affordable.
Lifespan: 100 years
Cost: $15 – $30
Paving stones are the most expensive driveway material on our list although this could last you a century even with little maintenance. Natural paving stones include sandstone, limestone, brownstone, bluestone, flagstone or slate tile. There is a multitude of choices to choose from. It offers flexibility in customization, high curb appeal, strength, and durability. These are also generally permeable so water isn’t an issue at all. To add to that list of benefits, it is easy to repair and resistant to oil stains.
The biggest con though is its exorbitant prices. Unless, you have a lot of spare cash to spend on your driveway and you wouldn’t mind spending a lot on it, paving stones would be a really good choice.
To answer the question, how long should your driveway last, it really depends on the material, the weather and your location. For example, a driveway in Florida will have a different lifespan than say in Ohio because the salt they use in Florida has a different component than that in Ohio. And because of that, they prefer to use a lot more concrete in Florida. Materials also have different qualities and varying strengths depending on your preference, needs, and budget. But do know that there is no perfect option because all has its trade-offs. If you’re looking to find something that is affordable and long-lasting, we would suggest that you go for asphalt, but if you’re looking to splurge, you might want to consider fancier ones like paving stones or bricks if you want to settle for a little less.
On the contrary, if you’re looking to install, replace or simply a repair, head over to driveway repair Newport News VA for premium residential paving services.
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