While often being overlooked, a driveway can really bring a house up or take it down a few notches. After all, it is one of the first things visible when entering someone's home. Two popular options for driveway construction are gravel and pavement. Both options are reasonably priced, but they each have their pros and cons regarding function, and exploring a few things about the house will reveal which choice would be considered the best for a driveway.
Climate - Both gravel and pavement have climate restrictions, but for different reasons. Gravel is ideal for areas with warmer climates that receive very little snowfall over the winter months. Shoveling snow with a gravel driveway is a lesson in futility. Gravel driveways are also susceptible to flooding due to rain. There is less of a runoff and any pothole or indent will collect rainwater and produce mud. On the other hand, a paved driveway makes for easy clean up when it rains and snows, but will not last through a hot summer. Extreme heat can cause the asphalt to become malleable, causing dents and unsightly marks. Areas like the northeast and midwest would do well with paved driveways, while areas like Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada would do best with gravel.
Aesthetics - For many people, aesthetics is a very important factor when choosing anything for their home. Especially for something on the exterior of the house, which is sure to be seen by far more people than the inside. Each option has its own aesthetics, with gravel being an easily customizable option. With the numerous styles of gravel available, it's fairly easy to find a style of gravel to accent a myriad of home styles, from rustic to modern. It's also perfect for anyone who likes to really have control over their home, spreading the gravel does not require any special equipment or knowledge. Spread it how you want it, for free. Asphalt, on the other hand, is a very solid, clean, neat feeling. While there is only one color to choose from, it is the one color that matches everything. They are also extremely easy to keep clean, unlike a gravel driveway, as they can be simply hosed off or swept. The asphalt will also always remain flat (unless in extreme heat), while gravel is prone to ruts that need refilling.
Cost - While the upfront costs of both asphalt and gravel are minimal, the lifespan and maintenance required play a factor. As stated above, gravel is the cheapest option, especially in a relatively small area that can be spread by the homeowner. This means the only thing purchased is the rock. Asphalt, however, is a petroleum-based product, which means the upfront cost will rise and fall according to the world oil markets. Aside from that, it's also impossible for a homeowner to spread the asphalt, so professionals are required, which adds to the cost of asphalt. However, asphalt has a longer lifespan. When purchasing a gravel driveway, it is a given that more gravel will eventually be needed. However, asphalt will take years to show any wear significant enough to require repaving. While hairline cracks will develop, they will mostly not need any sort of maintenance.
Both gravel and asphalt make sturdy, affordable options for driveway paving. However, knowing which pros and cons will have the most impact will assist in the decision. Perhaps climate is a factor that cannot be ignored or maybe the aesthetics are worth the cost. Weigh the options based on the home and it won't hurt to consult a professional on which choice is the most logical.
To learn more, contact a company like Pavingstone Pathways by St Boniface Landscaping & Pavingstone.
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