How To Choose The Right Paving Material For Your Driveway

Jason Hunt

Driveway paving is one of the biggest projects a homeowner can take on. A driveway is one of the first things a visitor or passer-by will notice, and a driveway that is properly paved not only adds value to the house, but is also something that must be maintained over the years. Before making a final decision about which material to use when paving your driveway, check out the different materials below to see which one is the best fit for you.

The first thing to consider is if you want your driveway to be paved with solid-surface or aggregate-surface material. In the former camp are smooth, even materials such as concrete and asphalt. In the latter are materials such as gravel or finely crushed stone.

Concrete

Concrete is probably the most popular option available to consumers. It's durable, looks good and provides a solid, even surface on which to park. That said, installation costs are sometimes prohibitive, so be sure to talk to several contractors to get the best price and quality. 

Asphalt

The alternative option for those who want a solid-surface driveway, asphalt is cheaper than concrete and easier to maintain without professional equipment. Some even prefer the look of asphalt to concrete. However, if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate, make sure that contractor installs asphalt that can hold up to the most extreme types of weather.

Gravel

While solid-surface pavement is the most popular option for most homeowners, those who want something cheaper (or just different) may find that aggregate surfaces are a better choice. Gravel can add a particularly sophisticated look to longer driveways, especially open ones. That said, torrential rain can easily wash much of it away, and it can also get stuck in tires or in other parts of the front yard.

Tar and Chip

Tar and chip pavement is another example of aggregate-surface material that is becoming more popular with homeowners who want an option less expensive than asphalt. Small stones are embedded in a layer of tar to create the signature tar and chip look, and while it may not be as even as some would like, it still presents a generally smooth surface on which to drive. Those with small children may want to opt for a smoother surface, as the stones can cause minor injuries, but tar and chip driveways are perfect for those who just want pavement on which to park a car or two.


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