When installing a driveway in your home, you may be surprised to learn just how many options there are. From shell and asphalt to gravel and brick, there are many different materials you can use to get the look you want. While durability and aesthetics are all important considerations, many homeowners let their budget serve as their primary guide. Here is a look at some of the best driveway materials available by cost.
Shell ($0.50 to $4 per square foot)
Shell is not only one of the cheapest materials for driveways, but it’s also very environmentally friendly and gives your home a rustic appearance. For as little as $0.50 per square foot to install, this sustainable and renewable material will provide your vehicle with good traction in all weather as the shells break down to form a stable surface.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the shells can disperse off the driveway over time, and the volume of the driveway can decrease, so it may need to be topped up from time to time. Another drawback of a shell driveway is that it can be sharp to walk on without shoes.
Tar and Chip ($1-$5 per square foot)
A tar and chip driveway can cost in the range of $1 to $5 per square foot. This type of driveway provides excellent traction in all types of weather conditions and is easy to maintain. Moreover, it does not need to be sealed.
The tradeoff for this affordability is the fact that this kind of driveway has a limited lifespan. Moreover, those living in snowy areas need to keep in mind that it can be difficult to clean snow off of the driveway and the material is easily damaged by plows.
Gravel ($1.25-$2 per square foot)
Gravel is one of the most affordable driveway materials, and it has the benefit of coming in a wide variety of colors to suit any style of home. It typically costs around $1.25 to $2 per square foot, and choosing locally sourced gravel is the most affordable option. One of the best things about a gravel driveway is that it is suitable for wintry conditions and provides great traction when it is icy or wet.
However, it is not a good choice for sloping driveways, and it does require some simple maintenance given its propensity to drift to the sides and onto the lawn as cars travel across it. In addition, it will need to be topped up with fresh gravel from time to time as stones can be lost or removed by vehicles.
Concrete ($4 to $15 per square foot)
Concrete is one of the most popular driveway options today thanks to its durability and strength, not to mention the many options available when it comes to finishing the driveway, allowing each homeowner to get the exact look they seek. Suitable for both hot and temperate climates, this budget-friendly material costs $4 to $15 per square foot to install.
It can be stamped or colored to increase its aesthetics and is capable of standing strong for decades with minimal maintenance. Moreover, it’s an environmentally friendly choice because it is made of natural materials and can even be recycled.
One drawback of this material is the fact that it is not suited to sloping driveways. Unsealed concrete driveways can be damaged by freeze and thaw cycles, so it is important that those who live in areas with harsh winters have their driveway sealed.
Asphalt ($7-$13 per square foot)
Another popular driveway material is asphalt, which can cost between $7 and $13 per square foot to be installed, including labor and materials. It is considered a superior choice for cold climates because it can tolerate the expansion and reduction of water in freeze-and-thaw cycles extremely well. It can be installed on inclines, and it can be colored or stamped to suit the homeowner’s desired aesthetic.
One drawback of an asphalt driveway is the fact that it can be too hot to walk on barefoot in the summer months. Moreover, because it is petroleum-based, it is not a very environmentally friendly material. Without an adequate foundation, asphalt driveways can crack and distort, and they do require regular maintenance to stay in optimum condition.
Brick ($10 to $30 per square foot)
A brick driveway may be costlier than some of the more common options, but it can last for a long time if it is laid correctly and requires minimal maintenance. Brick driveways add value to any property, and there are many choices when it comes to colors and placement patterns to give your home the look you desire.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that brick driveways require regular cleaning and need to be resealed two times a year. Moreover, if their subsurface is not adequate, these types of driveways are prone to shifting.
Stone Pavers ($15 to $60 per square foot)
Stone pavers are one of the more expensive options when it comes to driveway materials, but many people believe that their beauty, color choices and pattern options make them worth the additional expense. With a broad range of pricing, homeowners on a tighter budget may be able to get the look of stone pavers without spending too much money by choosing one of the options on the lower end of the price range. Stone pavers are a natural and recyclable material that is easy to maintain and provides good traction in all types of weather.
It is important to keep in mind that stone pavers are made from a variety of materials, and some perform better than others. For example, sandstone can be easily stained by motor oil and other substances, while bluestone is not as durable as a brick driveway. Bigger slabs can be more expensive to install, and some types of stone pavers will need to be sealed regularly to protect them against stains and weather-related damage.
Get in Touch With the Driveway Experts At Dirt Connections
At Dirt Connections, we can install a broad range of driveways that are suitable for Northern Virginia’s weather. From asphalt paving to pouring decorative concrete, we possess the tools and expertise needed to install high-quality driveways to suit all budgets.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!