When to Replace Your Driveway

workers installing an asphalt driveway

Having a Quality Driveway

In most cases, when you move into or build your home, a driveway installation is included. The driveway is taken for granted as it will always be there and be useable. That is, until the driveway is cracking, has potholes forming, and is looking bad. This leads to a big question. Do you wait until the driveway isn’t useable anymore or until it is impacting the curb appeal of your home to have it repaired or replaced?

How do you know when to install a driveway?  

Typically, a new asphalt driveway installation is recommended about every 20 years. For a concrete driveway installation, the recommendation is every 25 years. Repairing a driveway after about five years past these times is not recommended. If the driveway looks like it is sinking, has an excessive amount of wear and tear, or if other issues have left a driveway in bad condition, it is best to go forward with a new driveway installation instead. 

Is driveway sealing worth it?

You know that nothing will last forever, right?  That includes an asphalt driveway installation. Asphalt is made of rock or stone that is held together with a binder, aka asphalt cement. Through the refining process of crude oil, an adhesive is formed.

There are factors that age and damage an asphalt driveway installation like chemicals, rain, and UV rays. The asphalt binder gets brittle and begins to degrade, and before long, your asphalt driveway installation job is looking bad, which is degrading your home’s curb appeal. 

Maintenance and upkeep are important in keeping a driveway looking good and giving it a long lifespan, and that is where seal coating comes into the picture. But there are several other benefits to seal coating a driveway installation: 

  • Minimizes Repairs
  • Weatherizes
  • Limits Oxidation
  • Increases and Preserves the Beauty
  • Resists Destruction 

What driveway surface is best?

There are different opinions on which is better, a concrete driveway versus asphalt driveway installation, or you may even be interested in other materials like gravel or stone. As the homeowner, you have your own set of concerns for this investment so your opinion is likely to be different from that of your neighbor. Things to take into account include: 

  • Aesthetics
  • Durability
  • Longevity
  • Initial Cost
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Safety

Here we have composed a list of the four most common choices, listing some of their pros and cons: 

Asphalt Driveway Installation

This is the best option for property investment as it will provide aesthetics, a long life, and safety. An asphalt driveway installation will need to be done by a professional, and there is some maintenance required such as seal coating every two to three years. However, it is an affordable, solid, and stable option. 

In areas where the winters see ice and snow, an asphalt driveway offers traction and is easy to plow. If your driveway is curved or has a sloped design, it will require professional draining installation to re-direct storm water safely away from your home or other property structures. 

Concrete Driveway Installation

For a more durable option, this is the better choice. This option provides a surface that is hard and stable, but it must be installed by a professional, creating a high upfront expense. Maintenance and upkeep are required based on the weather conditions. For example, during winter weather, the freeze-thaw cycles can lead to cracking and potholes. The cracking and potholes will minimize the curb appeal and create an unsafe driveway. For this driveway installation to result in a durable and stable investment, be careful in selecting a professional contractor able to offer quality work. A poor installation will result in quick failure of the driveway. 

Gravel Driveway Installation

This is the cheapest driveway installation, making it ideal when your budget is a major determining factor. This is a durable driveway surface that won’t need resurfacing or sealing and it is still a safe surface. This is great for a DIY project once the material is delivered. It’s also highly weather-resistant, making it a good choice for areas where the weather can be harsh with heavy rains, ice, or snow, as the drainage is important to sustain the driveway’s integrity. 

Paver Driveway Installation

Paver stones make for a durable driveway installation option but can be expensive upfront. Meanwhile, maintaining the aesthetics and durability of this option can also be costly over time. Professional installation is needed, and it is not the best driveway surface where snow plowing is routine in the winter. 

A slippery surface when wet, this choice will need to be waterproofed and resealed with professional drainage installed. The aesthetic appeal is great as it is certainly an eye-catching choice, but for a large or long driveway, it is recommended to use other driveway materials for the purposes of budget. 

What is the cheapest driveway to install?

The cheapest driveway installation material is gravel made from a loose rock or stone material. A gravel material is larger than sand granules but smaller than cobblestones. A gravel driveway installation is a mixture of clay, rocks, and sand, providing a compacted surface. A driveway installation with coarse gravel will allow the water to flow freely whereas other types of gravel will shed water. Other options for a gravel driveway include: 

  • Crushed shells
  • Crusher run
  • Crushed concrete
  • Recycled asphalt
  • Slate chips

How do you install a driveway?

The first step will require tearing out and removing the old driveway. Your contractor will examine the base under that and either remove some of the material or add more depending on what they find. 

An eight-inch layer of base is recommended over clay soil or four inches over well-drained sandy soil. Then, using a heavy roller, the contractor will compact the base and a subbase before installing the asphalt.

The asphalt will be applied in two-to-three-inch thicknesses depending on the base and subbase, then rolled over with heavy compacting equipment as needed. The edges are raked to form a 45-degree angle and then packed down with a hand tamper.

close-up of a driveway being installed

In Closing – Keep Your Investment Looking Good! 

Now that you have invested in your new drive, you’re probably asking, “How can I make my driveway look nice?” The key is maintenance. If you go with a concrete driveway installation, have it power washed every two to three years to keep it looking good. Other things you can do that will make for an attractive driveway are: 

  • Keeping repairs done including replacing broken bricks, pavers, and filling in any cracks
  • Adding a border, whether it is bricks, rock, or landscaping
  • Choosing a stain for a concrete driveway installation
  • If your driveway is long enough, adding a gate
  • If your mailbox is at the curb, installation of a designer mailbox
  • Adding lighting along the edges of the driveway

As you can see, there are many ways to make your driveway look great. And if you are ever in need of help building a durable, attractive driveway, simply reach out to our team.