With all of the different driveway materials available, it can be hard to sort through all of the options and choose the best for your home. When this choice is made, it will play a part in the overall value and appearance of your home.
The material that you choose for your driveway also has to fit with the surrounding landscape, so you will have to consider what other plants and elements are present on your property, as well as those that may be added over time.
Different materials offer different pros and cons. Knowing what they are will help you make the best choice for your home. This article will cover important things to consider when choosing a material, the different types available, costs, and the pros and cons of each choice.
Important Factors to Consider Before Installation
There are many different things to consider when choosing a material for your driveway. It would help if you determined exactly what needs to be done before any installation begins, so the choices are not overwhelming.
1) Functionality of the Driveway
What kind of vehicle do you have? Will you need more maneuverability, or does it matter how wide it is?
What will you use the driveway for? Do you need more space to park, such as on the street or in a garage, or do you need it just for show and not daily use?
Will the driveway be used primarily in one location or multiple locations? Is it primarily used by someone who lives there or also by visitors and guests?
Do you want the driveway to have sidewalks on either side for walking, or are there already existing sidewalks where you will be installing it?
How much are you willing to spend on your new driveway material? Is this an essential upgrade or just a small part of more extensive renovations in your home?
Know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your driveway before you begin making materials or installation choices.
Different Types of Driveways to Consider
Different Types of Driveways to Consider
Concrete has several advantages, including permanent durability and versatility. It can be poured into any shape that is required for your home. It also comes in many different colors, so it will suit the style of any home that it is added to.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on concrete as your driveway material. One important thing to know about concrete is that it cools down very quickly, so if you have a driveway with steep inclines, this can be dangerous for the first cars driving on it in the morning.
Pros of Concrete
- Durability: Concrete is resistant to damage from weather, rusting, and other environmental factors.
- Versatility: It can be poured into any shape or size needed for your driveway.
Cons of Concrete
- Expense: This material is more expensive than many others because it requires professional installation by a concrete company.
- Need for Regular Maintenance: This material requires regular sealing and other maintenance to preserve its beauty and functionality.
- Heat-Related Problems: If your driveway has steep inclines, it can be dangerous because the concrete will cool down very quickly, and the first cars driving on it in the morning could skid or slip if they don't have the proper traction.
- Requires Expert Installation: It is essential to use professional help with this material because of its complexity and sheer weight. If you do not have experience working with concrete, it would be best to leave the installation to professionals who know how to work safely and efficiently.
Average Concrete Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $4 to $12
Lifespan 15 to 20 years
Asphalt is much more affordable than concrete. There are many options available for people who want a simple, low-maintenance driveway that does not suffer from problems with heat or heavyweight.
Pros of Asphalt
- Affordability: Asphalt is the cheapest option compared to other materials available.
- Simplicity and Low Maintenance: This material is simple to use and doesn't require regular upkeep like other materials that may need to be resealed or repainted.
- Environmentally friendly: Asphalt does not emit toxic fumes, so it is safe for the environment.
Cons of Asphalt
- - Not as Durable as Concrete or Other Materials: The material is soft and does not last as long when it comes in contact with heavy vehicles such as large trucks.
- Limited Variety of Colors and Styles Available: Asphalt is limited in the types of colors or designs that can be applied to it.
- Resealing and Repainting may be Required over Time: Because asphalt is softer than other materials, it can suffer damage over time that will require repainting or resealing.
- Does Not Offer Good Traction for Slippery Roads: Like concrete, asphalt can get very slippery in rain or snowy conditions. This material does not offer good traction when compared to other options available.
Average Asphalt Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $3 to $6
Lifespan 10 to 15 years
3) Brick and Stone
Brick and stone driveways offer a classic look that many homeowners prefer. They are aesthetically pleasing and will add value to your home. These materials can be found all around the world, meaning they do not require special installation.
Pros of Bricks and Stone
- Adds Value to Home: These materials are popular among homebuyers, so they will add value to your home when you decide to sell it.
- Strong and Durable: The material is very strong and durable in all types of weather conditions. It can withstand heat without warping and can be used in all climates.
- Aesthetic Appeal: The classic look will make your home more appealing to buyers or renters, especially if you choose a unique design for your material.
Cons of Bricks and Stone
- Costly Installation: The material is not very affordable because it requires professional installation by a brick company.
- Durability and Heaviness: Because this material is very heavy, it can be difficult to install over a large area that requires connecting the materials together with mortar.
- Maintenance and Repair: The material requires sealing and repainting as needed to maintain its beauty and functionality. This will add additional costs as you need to pay for the work to be done.
Average Brick Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $12 to $15
Lifespan 20+ years
Gravel is a popular material that has been used for driveway surfacing for many years. It requires little to no maintenance and can be easily replaced over time.
Pros of Gravel
- Cost Efficiency: This is the most affordable option available out of all driveways. It will require minimal or no repairs or replacements over its lifetime.
- Durability: The material is very strong and durable, so it can withstand wear and tear from heavy vehicles such as cars or trucks.
- Ease of Installation: This material can be spread out on a driveway without the need for special equipment to install it. It does not require professional installation because homeowners can do it themselves easily.
Cons of Gravel
- Poor Drainage: The material tends to hold water, so proper drainage is required for this material to avoid flooding or muddy conditions on your driveway.
- Difficult Maintenance and Repair: While the gravel doesn't require much maintenance over its lifespan, replacing broken pieces can be difficult if you don't have the proper equipment to dig out and replace them.
- Limited Styles and Colors Available: Gravel has limited options when it comes to colors and patterns. If you're not a fan of the "gravel look," then this material may not be the best choice for you.
Average Gravel Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $3 to $5
Lifespan 10+ years
5) Concrete Pavers
Concrete pavers are similar to brick or stone, but they are typically smaller and not as heavy. This typically makes it easier for contractors to install them in a short amount of time. They offer a more modern look than other materials, so they are a popular choice among homeowners.
Pros of Concrete Pavers
- Aesthetic Appeal: This material is very aesthetically appealing, with modern designs and attractive colors that will make your driveway more beautiful without costing too much money.
- Low Maintenance Costs: This material requires little to no maintenance as long as it is correctly installed. You will not need to repaint or reseal the pavers over time unless you want to change the color.
- Durability and Strength: The material is durable and can withstand wear and tear from vehicles driving across it for many years. This means your driveway should last longer than other materials without needing too much maintenance or repairs.
Cons of Concrete Pavers
- - Costly Installation: This material typically requires the expertise of a professional contractor because it is heavy, and large pieces can be challenging to move around.
- Limited Styles and Colors Available: The pavers are only available in modern designs that may not match your home's design or existing brickwork on your house. There are limited options when it comes to colors.
Average Concrete Paver Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $9 to $15
Lifespan 20+ years
6) Shell Driveway
This material is made from recycled shells, so it is an environmentally friendly option that will not contribute to global warming. The surface of the binder can be smooth or textured, depending on your preference. Since shells are lightweight, contractors typically have no trouble installing this material over other surfaces such as gravel.
Pros of Shell
- Aesthetic Appeal: This material is attractive and can be customized with different colors to create a unique design that stands out. It also comes in textured or non-textured designs so that you can choose between smooth or bumpy surfaces.
- Ease of Installation: The lightweight material makes installing on gravel, dirt, or existing concrete surfaces easy for contractors.
- Resistant to Oil and Gas: Since it is made from recycled shells, the material is resistant to oil and gas stains, so you don't have to worry about ruining your driveway with leaks in your vehicle.
Cons of Shell
- Expensive Installation Costs: Contractors charge more per square foot to install the material because it is a lightweight alternative.
- Limited Styles and Colors Available: You will have limited options for colors and styles since the driveway is made from recycled shells. It's also difficult to match your home's existing brickwork or other features since there aren't many choices.
Average Shell Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $10 to $15
Lifespan 10+ years
7) Permeable Pavers
Permeable pavers are made from recycled materials that allow water to seep through the surface. This allows you to conserve water because it does not pool on your driveway. It also requires little to no maintenance after installation, although resealing is recommended after ten years. Contractors typically use permeable pavers for parking lots because they create a space where water can drain to a nearby storm drain.
Pros of Permeable Pavers
- Low Maintenance Costs: This material does not require repainting or resealing because it is made from recycled materials and permits water through the surface. It also requires little to no maintenance after installation because it does not pool water like concrete pavers.
- Attractive Aesthetic: This material comes in bright colors that are meant to blend with modern landscapes. The bright hues can create a unique style for your driveway if you want something different than the traditional gray or brown pavers.
Cons of Permeable Pavers
- High Installation Costs: It's safer and more cost-effective to hire a contractor to install concrete pavers because they have experience with large pieces.
- Limited Styles and Colors Available: You will only have limited options when it comes to colors, so you may not be able to match your home's existing brickwork or other features.
Average Permeable Paver Driveway Cost and Specifications
Cost per Square Foot $10 to $15
Lifespan 10+ years
The material you choose for your driveway will impact its durability and design. It can also influence the cost of installation depending on what type of surface you already have, whether or not you need a base layer, and how large of an area you want to cover. Each material has its own set of pros and cons, so you must decide which style fits your needs best. When it comes to choosing the right type of driveway for your Houston home, make sure you discuss all of your options with a professional first.
For more information on the costs associated with each driveway material, contact our team today!