If you’re resurfacing your driveway, or even if you’re installing a new one, you’ve no doubt put some thought into the type of surface material you would like. Nowadays, there is something for everyone, so if you’re mainly concerned with a cohesive look, the environment, how well it will hold up in your climate, or your budget, you’re guaranteed to find the right surface for you.
We understand that too many options can often be disconcerting, and it’s true, there are many options to choose from. To help you make a clear choice, we’ve listed the advantages and disadvantages of the most common driveway material types.
Whichever surface type you opt for, don’t forget to properly prepare the underlying ground. Failing to do can leave you with less than optimal results and make the money spent seem like less of a good investment.
- Let’s start with one of the most attractive options: Unistone. Unistone is formed by interlocking small blocks and then holding them in place with a mixture of concrete, aggregate and sand. This type of driveway needs regular maintenance, although you won’t have to spend hours every weekend maintaining it. You’ll just need to apply a sealer to protect it from the elements once per year. This is a popular choice because if one block becomes damaged, you can easily lift it out and replace it without disturbing any of the others.
Next up we have concrete paving blocks. Again, these require little maintenance, just the sealer application once per year. Concrete paving blocks are available in a range of colours, shapes and textures to suit all tastes. They are also very durable, withstanding heavy vehicles and freezing temperatures with ease, this option has a life expectancy of up to 30 years.
You can also find regular concrete driveways, which is also a durable option. The concrete is poured into compartments with joints where it can expand and contract as needed with fluctuating temperatures.
Moving on to the most economical solution: Gravel. It may not be the most attractive solution, but you can always add a layer of decorative gravel about 0.5”‑thick to improve its look. It is economical, but requires a lot of maintenance. Due to its very nature, you will have to apply several different layers, and you may have to add more gravel in the spring, depending on how much has been displaced when snow has been cleared from your driveway.
Gravel is also very environmentally friendly; the rainwater can be reabsorbed directly into the ground and thus is prevented from flowing into streets and eventually into sewage systems.
If you like the economic and environmental side of gravel, but don’t like its appearance, you could opt for a different natural stone. We particularly like pebbles, limestone and slate.
Next up we have an uncommon option: Reinforced grass. Reinforced grass is the perfect choice for those of you who are concerned with the environment, want a look that blends in with your front yard and drive lightweight vehicles. Unfortunately, this option is not for you if you drive a heavy vehicle and plan on using your driveway frequently.
It’s an interesting option, a plastic, honeycomb‑like structure is installed on the ground and then filled with soil and seeded for grass. You definitely don’t get immediate results and you will have to be a little bit patient. If you want to speed things up a bit, you could lay sod instead of seeding, but in this case, you must absolutely not use your driveway until the grass has taken root.
- Finally, we have asphalt, by far the most common and widely used material. If you’re looking for something that’s really low‑maintenance, this is the material for you. To keep it looking great, you just need to apply a sealer once every few years – you can’t get much simpler than that! If you want something more avant‑garde, ask to have a pattern stamped into the asphalt that looks like pavers.
- And if you still can’t make up your mind, why not go mixed media? The possibilities are almost endless, so let your imagination run wild!
While we’re on the subject of driveways…
Don’t forget where your driveway leads, no matter how much you invest in your driveway, an outdated, past‑its‑best garage door will crush your curb appeal. Why not think about upgrading your garage door and contact us today at:
- London: 519-685-9797
- Mount Pleasant: 905-304-9700
- Guelph: 519-821-4400
- Goderich: 519-482-3251
We are garage door experts and are the best people to advise you. Once we know what you’re looking for, we’ll be able to provide you with a detailed quotation. We’re also more than happy to make a house call if you would rather speak to someone in person.