Asphalt, Concrete or Paver Driveways – Which is the best?!?
Asphalt, concrete, or brick stone paver patio, which surface is right for your property? We’re going to go over the pros and cons of each, what kind of maintenance you can expect out of each material and what the initial investment is in relation to the other materials when you’re thinking about first doing an install.
Let’s start with asphalt. Asphalt, the average price is going to vary by your geographical location but will be between four to eight dollars per square foot. Asphalt typically has the least initial investment into it but be warned, asphalt also has the highest level of maintenance of the three surfaces that we’ve covered. After your initial installation happens, about every three years you should expect to do a resurfacing. Asphalt is going to develop cracks and you have to apply a rubberized compound which stops the cracks from spreading and spidering throughout the driveway.
Concrete comes in about dead middle for initial expense, averaging anywhere from eight to twelve dollars per square foot but it also has the lowest level of maintenance of the three hard surfaces. But be warned, salt can severely degrade concrete very quickly in as little as one or two seasons. Whether that’s salt is applied on sidewalks or other flat surfaces, or if you’re building a retaining wall made out of concrete masonry units, or retaining wall blocks that are exposed to salt, those, that salt can degrade the face of the blocks and lead to the ultimate total collapse of the retaining wall. A great alternative if you need to build a retaining wall in an area that could be exposed to salt, is to use boulders, they don’t seem to suffer any damage from salt applications.
Here’s another fun fact about concrete, some of the old-timers in the industry actually call it “crack-crete”, because during the curing process the water that was used for the initial pour evaporates or wicks out, and that concrete is forced to shrink. That shrinking is what causes all concrete to crack. To stop this from happening throughout the entire surface, contractors saw joint lines into the concrete and those are nothing more than crack stops. That’s why when you look at a concrete surface you see all these lines cut through the surface, that’s to keep the cracks from spreading. Make sure you stay tuned to the end of the video to find some neat tricks on ways to extend the life of your concrete or asphalt and to minimize the cracking
Next up is pavers. They come in at the top of the list for initial price. Averaging anywhere from $12 to $24 per square foot and they do have a medium level of maintenance. Pavers can develop weeds. Seeds can get in the joint spacing, so you may have to spot spray your driveway, sidewalk or patio to keep the weeds under control. Pavers can also have individual settlement. That is also the beauty of the system, because they will settle but not crack and break.
That settlement is so easy to fix, you can literally pick the pavers out of the ground, re-base them and put them straight back in place. Making pavers the only system between the three that is a lifetime product with a medium level of maintenance. Here’s a neat pro-tip for you, if you happen to get oil stain or something on your paver driveway and you can’t scrub it out, simply pop the avers out of place, flip them upside down and put them right back in place, the bottom side of that paver will look like brand new and in your driveway, you’ll never know you had a stain there.
Stamped and Colored Concrete
Last but not least is stamped and colored concrete. Be careful of stamped and colored concrete for a number of reasons. There are two ways of installing stamped colored concrete, and we’re going to focus on the coloring process right now. Sometimes companies will just surface spray the top of the concrete. Then what happens is when that concrete cracks, which it inevitably will as you know, it will ruin the illusion that you sought by going with stamped colored concrete in the first place. So if you’re going to go that route, ask to get the entire concrete colored. That way when the crack does form, it will not pop out at you so much. Here’s a pro-tip to dramatically extend the life of any hard surface you choose to use around your home.
Every driveway is going to have a base material underneath it. On average it’s four inches, but you should deepen that to six inches. Your base material is basically the cushion from the subgrade down here and your hard surface up here. Oftentimes a subgrade will be flexing and moving. When that subgrade flexes and moves, it transmits that movement through the base material and destroys your hard surface. Especially if it’s asphalt or concrete. When you deepen that base material, you’re adding an extra layer of protection. Ss this base is moving, it’s not able to transmit that movement to your hard surface. The life of your hard surface will dramatically improve.
How Deep Should You Pour Concrete?
Another tip: if you’re going to be pouring concrete, instead of going with a typical four inch pour for your concrete, deepen that to six inches. When the city re-did these streets, they had to re-pour my apron the same as I had initially built it. This pour right here, was six inches thick and I have eight inches of base material. It was put in at the exact same time as my neighbors down the road. I’m going to show you theirs.
This kind of concrete driveway is a four-inch pour done at the exact same time with your typical four inches of base material. You can see all the cracks that developed. A little bit of extra pour and base would have been a huge benefit. This is an asphalt driveway done at the exact same time.
Well, I hope these videos help you out in some way. Let me know in the comments down below. What’re your experiences with the asphalt, concrete or brick stone driveways?