Homeowners have a choice as to what is the best material for your driveway, asphalt, concrete, or paving stones. Paving a driveway is a surprisingly large investment, so it is very important that it be done right. The two most common material used in driveway paving are asphalt and concrete. However, paving stones are increasing in popularity, and are the preferred choice of many. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these differences will help you decide which materials are the best for you.
Asphalt is the definite preferences for areas that experience extreme differences in temperature. In some places, winters are very cold and summers are very hot. These dramatic changes in temperature can fracture many driveway materials including concrete. Asphalt allows driveways to flex and breathe, preventing breakage. Asphalt is also relatively inexpensive. Learning how to asphalt a driveway not hard, but doing the work is very labor intensive. Hiring a contractor that already knows how to asphalt a driveway is your best choice.
Asphalt sometimes can be hard to get, so some people turn instead to concrete. Paving a driveway with concrete can be done overnight in most instances. A unique feature of concrete is that it can be imprinted with patterns that allow it to mimic other more expensive materials like brick or stone. Concrete has some disadvantages, one of which is its tendency to crack in extreme temperatures. Concrete can also get expensive depending on its availability. Concrete driveways should be a minimum of 6 inches in depth, with some contractors preferring 8 inches depending on the condition of the soil. The deeper the driveway, the more concrete has to be used and, therefore, the higher the price.
Paving stones are popular for their striking appearance, but are the most expensive option because they are so labor intensive. The paving stones that are the best in extreme climates are stones that interlock. An interlocking design allows the paving stones to be more flexible, adjusting better to the elements and resisting breakage. Contractors who know how to pave driveways using paving stones will always recommended interlocking designs.
The Cost Of Paving A Driveway
Considering what is the best material for your driveway, asphalt, concrete, or paving stones, cost is an important factor. The cost of paving a driveway will vary regionally due to differences in labor costs and the availability of materials. Depending on the cost of the concrete, pouring a concrete driveway costs from $5 to $10 per square foot. Elaborate designs embedded in the concrete can raise the cost to $15 per square foot. Asphalt driveways are less expensive, running from $2 to $6 a square foot. Both concrete and asphalt driveways need to be sealed regularly. In areas with extreme climates, resealing every year is recommended. In more moderate climates, resealing can be done every three to five years. Tar and chip driveways, also known as Macadam driveways, cost $2 to $5 a square foot. This paving method uses gravel or crushed stone that is sprayed with liquid asphalt and sealed. Cobblestone driveways are very attractive, but are very pricey as well. AT $5 a piece, you will need thousands of them for the average drive way. An additional cost is the removal of the existing driveway. This costs $50 to $60 per man hour.
Knowing what is the best material for your driveway, asphalt, concrete, or paving stones is one thing. Having the materials to complete the job is another. While you can certainly rent the equipment, it is better to let an experienced contractor handle the work for you. Because of their experience, they will be able to get the job done faster and often at less cost than if you try to do the job yourself.