When it comes to preserving the curb appeal and property value of one’s home or business, one of the most important decisions is how to solve our paving problems like deteriorating asphalt or crumbling concrete—whether the project be paving a driveway, pouring a garage floor, molding a staircase, or setting a footing.
In the past, many contractors followed outdated code and used inferior products, which can lead to the natural worsening of the condition of one’s concrete or asphalt. And, in most areas of the country, during the winter months, the freeze/thaw cycle causes harm to our paving. When snow and ice melt into water and settle into cracks, once the temperature falls under 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice forms a natural wedge in the asphalt or concrete surface, leading to erosion.
It’s 2017, and asphalt and concrete have made some changes compared to older product—while many of the features of these popular paving options has remained the same. Regardless of which option a property owner chooses, it’s vital to keep one’s driveway or other features maintained and free from the damage which lower the visual impact of the property and are detrimental to its value during an estimation process.
The Staying Power of Concrete
One of the most durable materials used in construction from massive wire-and-steel football stadiums to delicate stone bird baths, concrete is a paving option that is both flexible and durable. With the ability to change its appearance and morph to fit needs of space and shape, modern concrete can be formulated to meet specific needs of climate and project. Concrete can be reinforced with wire and steel, and can be poured to in a mold to fit any shape.
Concrete can be tinted, painted, or stained. From being polished to a mirror shine or sanded down with a ground smooth finish, concrete can be stamped or textured. With a variety of aggregate material and pigments, concrete can mimic the look of brick, paving stones, gravel paving, and more. For that custom look, concrete can be set with tile, stones, or other materials to create an inlaid pattern to fit in with any décor options.
While concrete itself is a cheap material, the cost of concrete pouring changes depending on custom options and building forms. Consider the expenses of labor and installation, from cement mixer to pattern stamper. Before deciding on a concrete solution, make sure the owner is happy with the color and aggregate material—both in wet and dry samples. Making sure the owner is happy before the pour can solve many difficult and costly problems down the road.
Durable Asphalt Solutions
Asphalt can be a cost-effective option for a property owner when it comes to paving a driveway or walkway. Asphalt can be made out of new or recycled materials, and is a weather-durable option that holds up well to drastic changes in temperature, beating that freeze-thaw cycle. Asphalt requires a well-drained base, which protects the material from erosion. Asphalt also needs moderate to light upkeep. Resealing every four or so years protects the asphalt from discoloration and surfacing issues. However, if repairs are needed, asphalt is incredibly cost-effective and easy to recap by adding a fresh layer of material over its original foundation.
Gravel is Cheap
Gravel—small, pulverized rock—is inexpensive and quick to install. Made of pure granite, gravel can last as long as the homeowner. However, what gravel makes up for in lack of expense and longevity is mess and maintenance. Gravel creates dust, which can coat one’s shoes and be tracked into the property along with loose pebbles or rocks. Weeds can grow through the gravel material if its placed directly on the ground. A new top layer of gravel should be considered every few years. Gravel is also an uneven surface, which can cause problems for those with mobility issues or those who live in icy or snowy winter areas. However, gravel provides a great base for other material like asphalt, because it can provide an area to drain excess water, and can be used as aggregate in concrete or as a base for paving stones.
The Elegant Look of Paving Stones
A more luxury option of paving is the use of individually-set stones which can be made from a variety of natural or man-made materials in a wide variety of shapes and colors. While individual pavers may seem more costly than a solid surface, the spectrum of materials is available in multiple price ranges. Pavers are easily removed and replaced on an individual basis, which can be a cost saver in the long run. However, each individual paving material has pros and cons. Some provide great drainage and others may deteriorate under very wet or icy conditions. Make sure that one picks pavers to fit their needs. Remember to purchase a few extra boxes for repairs down the road, in case the particular style of paver gets discontinued and becomes difficult to find and replace.