In this article, we are going to answer all the key questions pertaining to your choice of driveway. This will guide you in making a perfect decision after having considered many factors addressed by these questions.
A driveway is simply a road leading from a public road into your house or other buildings.
Words like pathway, entrance, gateway, route and many others can be used as meaning the same with driveway.
There are different types of driveway that exist today, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For some driveways, you can fix it yourself while you will require a help or contractors for others. When choosing an installer, it is much advisable to select professionals.
Studies and experiences have shown that Concrete driveways tends to last longer than other types of driveways and if properly installed, maintenance is almost free. In many cases, concrete driveway can last from 30 years to more than 50 years. It is the choice of many because of its durability with little maintenance. In the first 7 days of a newly constructed/installed concrete driveway, it should not be used. The reason is to allow the surface materials to harden properly and set well in order to avoid damaging the structural integrity of it.
Though the initial Installation of a concrete driveway can be very expensive, but after that, it is assumed that you have done it all. The fruit of that first Installation will continue to be produced for a very long number of years before you can consider a repair or a replacement.
Typically, the plain appearance of concrete driveway can make it look dull, but it can be coloured, customised or stamped to make it look very attractive and more expensive.
Concrete driveways usually crack in cold weather, but it can be fixed or repaired with little or no expenses if the remaining parts of the driveway are still in good and standard condition.
The lifespan of any driveway is dependent on many factors. Ideally, the usage, how well it was installed, the weather condition of the surroundings, the temperature, the quality of the surfaces materials and mostly on the type of maintenance adopted will make your driveway to last longer or shorter.
Driveways made of asphalt usually last for 15 to 25 years in consideration of the factors mentioned above.
Unlike concrete or asphalt driveways, a gravel driveway will not crack or sink. For this reason, a gravel driveway has the capacity to last for decades if properly maintained. Because gravel driveway is made of loose stones, its maintenance lies in filling up any area where the stones have been reduced. Sometimes, the stones can leak into the surroundings area.
Block or bricks paving driveways are made of fired clay which does not give in to weathering over time. If your area has a moderate climate conditions, your block paving driveway may last for 25 years or more.
With the exception of gravel driveway which tends to flow towards the bottom of your driveway when the land is sloppy and hence requires steady topping up of the stones, other types of driveways can be used for many years before maintenance is carried out on them.
In summary and with the given examples above, a driveway lifespan can be increased with proper and routine maintenance, as well as using the best Installation method.
A driveway needs not to be replaced often, but when damaged a replacement has to be made.
Damages to driveways can be caused as a result of many factors. These may range from motor oil and gas spillage, de-icing materials, weight of the vehicles applying on them, temperature, bad climatic conditions and environmental or natural hazards.
However, when your driveway has stayed up to 15 to 25 years and exhibits features like heavy cracking, numerous potholes, sinking, leaking, damages due to natural disasters and many other signs, then it can be a sign for a replacement.
Considering the number of years your driveway has stayed, there are also a lot of signs which you will see and will understand that your driveway is calling for a replacement. Some of the signs may include
- Numerous potholes; If the potholes are many and very deep to the extent of affecting the foundation of the driveway. At that point, if you do not replace it, it will gather water and cause more damage which might increase the cost of replacing it.
- Multiple crack and pits; If there are too many cracks and pits here and there on the surface of your driveway inter-connecting to others, then you need to replace it.
- High drainage problem; If water is flowing from your driveway to the foundation of your house and there is no good drainage, then you need to replace it.
- Age; Any driveway that is up to 15 or 20 years of age and it is showing a sign of great wear and tear, it needs to be replaced.
- Natural hazards; When some natural disasters happens to damage your driveway, a replacement ought be sorted out for.
The purpose of paving your driveway is to prolong the life span of the driveway.
Normally, every 2 to 3 years your driveway should be paved or sealed and the year may differ depending on the type of driveway you installed. For a concrete driveway, the year of paving or resealing is longer and can be for every 3 to 5 years as well as for asphalt driveways. If there is a substantial damage to the driveway it can make it to be paved earlier.
Concrete driveways usually last for a long period of time if properly installed. Over the years, what normally affect the durability and the longevity of a concrete driveway is cold weather. If the damages due to cold weather is extensive, then the Concrete driveways has to be replaced. In the absence of cold weather, It is not a good idea to renovate or repair a concrete driveway nearing 25 to 30 years unless a small area of it was only affected. But with numerous potholes, crack and pits on the surface leading to drainage issues and many years of usage, the concrete driveway has to be re-placed completely.
Asphalt is versatile in its usage and it is made from a mixture of bitumen and stone. Because of its composition, it is minimally affected by weather conditions thereby reducing the rate of cracks on them. It is laid hot and spread to fill all gaps thereby making it suitable for any shape, bends or curves when constructing driveways.
In addition to asphalt driveways having no gaps on the surface, it makes it more difficult for roots, weeds or insects to penetrate them.
Asphalt driveways usually last for 15 to 25 years if properly installed and maintained.
Resin bound driveway are made when resin is mixed with stones and smoothened to produce a smooth surface. The application method of a resin bound driveway makes them water permeable thereby complying them to the standard urban drainage system.
Many companies or contractors installing resin bound driveways usually give a guarantee of 10 to 21 years of lasting. In a case where the driveway is properly maintained, it can last for as long as 25 years.
It is worthy of note that there are no standard regulations for the Installation of a resin bound driveway. This tends to produce a lot of fake installers who will do an inferior job which in turn reduces the longevity of the driveway.
Resin bound driveway is not also considered a good option for driveways with heavy inflow and outflow of traffic on them.
However, resin bound driveways accompanied with different designs and colours can give an excellent aesthetic views.
A resin bound driveway is weed resistant if properly and correctly installed.
However, small seeds can fall onto them and start growing thereby making them to have some surface growth of weeds. Some climate and weather conditions can also cause the growth of algae, moss or weeds on the resin bound surface. This can make the surface slippery especially in wet season which poses an unsafe situation upon accessing the driveway.
Due to the nature or the method of Installing a resin bound driveway, they allow water to flow away from the surface. The base is also produced from a depth of 15mm or more to the ground. Since they do not accommodate drainage, it will be very difficult for a resin bound driveway to sink. Hence they are sink free even after many years of usage.
Because resin bound driveway materials can be Ultra Violet (UV) stable or unstable. It is therefore very important to select your colours carefully. If the colours you pick are not well stabilised, then the colours will fade away quickly as a result of direct sunlight.
The colour of the stone or aggregate used for the resin surface will not change, but can also affect the overall look of the driveway when installed.
If your resin bound driveway is not properly installed, there are enough reasons that it will crack on time. Poor Installations allow weeds and moss to sprung up on the surface of the driveway which will lead to cracking and other damages. Another reason for your resin bound driveway to crack is from bad weather conditions like falling of heavy snow during winter or as a result of some natural disasters.
Cracking can be a normal occurrence with different driveway patterns and can easily be brushed off. But looking more closely, you may find many other reasons why your driveway is cracking. Understanding what caused the crack can help you to prevent and maintain such situations in the future. Most of the reasons for a cracked driveway may include
(a). Unprofessional Installers where you did not choose professionals.
(b). Poor driveway foundations where the quality of the materials used at Installation were very poor.
(c). Excessive weight on your driveway where it is carrying more traffic that its capacity.
Sometimes cracking can be hazardous and can adversely affect the look of your property and can also be an indication of a structural problem.
Dirties and water will work there way into a cracked driveway such that when the water freezes and expands, it causes more crack. If cracks are not repaired, they will continue to be spreading, widening, deepening and may result to a bigger problem.
Having answered accurately and properly the key questions from above, it is now a matter of decision for you to chose the type of driveway to install, how it can be maintained, how you can save cost, the type of aesthetic view you want and most importantly who installs the driveway for you.
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