Choosing the right driveway

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Choosing the right driveway

One of the most prominent features of a home exterior is the driveway—it can either act as a chameleon, blending in with the rest of the exterior, or a highlight, standing out as a focal point. With this range of possibilities, homeowners have several options from which to choose. “When deciding the right driveway material for you,” says Al Garrett, director of training for House Doctors Professional Handyman Services, “you will need to consider the cost, the climate where you live and the finished look you want for your property.”

 

Asphalt

The most popular of all driveway materials, asphalt endures all weather conditions. “Asphalt performs well in hot or cold climates, and even provides a good surface for snow removal,” Garrett says, adding that, depending on the care you give it, the driveway will generally give you good service for 12-30 years.

Cost: Approximately $4-$6 per square foot

Maintenance: Needs to be sealed every 3-5 years

 

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Concrete

In milder weather conditions, concrete driveways can outlast asphalt. “With proper maintenance, concrete driveways will usually provide good service for 20-50 years—but don’t expect to get 50 years of service if you live in a climate that has harsh winters,” Garrett says.

Cost: Approximately $6-$10 per square foot

Maintenance: Seal the concrete every fall, avoid salting the driveway in the winter and repair cracks as they occur

 

 

 

 

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Pavers

If you want your driveway to stand out as a focal point of your home’s exterior, pavers are a great—albeit more expensive—option. According to Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert, concrete or clay pavers add value to the home and are offered in more design characteristics, colors and patterns than other driveway options.

Cost: Approximately $12-$18 per square foot

Maintenance: Seal every 1-2 years; repair if an area sinks

 

 

 

 

 


Expert tip

Every driveway material is only as good as the base that is below the top surface. It’s important to have a base of compacted gravel at least 6 inches deep.
—Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert, www.acehardware.com


Choosing cobblestone

If cost is no object, Al Garrett, director of training for House Doctors Professional Handyman Services, recommends installing a cobblestone driveway. “In my opinion, cobblestone are the most attractive of all paving materials, and the most durable,” he says, adding that cobblestones can be layered in many different patterns. While the material is very costly (Garrett estimates that an average cobblestone driveway can cost up to $30,000 or more), the driveway can provide service for up to 100 years.


 

Tips for hiring a pro

➤    Look for as many third-party endorsements as possible.
➤    Find out if the pro is a member of any professional organizations, such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
➤    Get references—specifically about driveways the pro has installed in the past 5 years, and ask those clients how happy they are.
—Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert, www.acehardware.com


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