Search This Blog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Driveway Design

The Driveway is the area that leads from the Entrance Gate of your residence to your doorsteps. It will be used for driving the vehicle up to the Car Porch or for walking towards the house.
Being an integral part of your frontyard design, the layout and material selection for driveways demand considerable attantion. Driveway paving materials fall into two main categories: solid-surface (i.e., smooth, seamless, even surfaces) and aggregate-surface. The most popular options lie in the first category, led by asphalt and concrete. Aggregate-surface driveway paving materials include gravel and crushed stone.
Driveway pavers lie somewhere in between these two main categories. Although they are individual components pieced together to form a whole, some types of driveway pavers can, if laid properly, form an almost seamless even surface.
The Pros and Cons of the following Driveway materials are discussed below-
Cobblestone Pavers
Asphalt Paving
Concrete Driveways
Tar and Chip Driveways
Crushed Gravel Driveways
Pros of Cobblestones and Other Driveway Pavers:
Variety in size and design.
A look that says, "Quality!" Durability.
Ease of repair.
Cons of Cobblestones and Other Driveway Pavers:

Driveway pavers are varied in size and design, ranging from large hexagonal driveway pavers to small rectangular brick driveway pavers and cobblestones. While concrete and asphalt surfaces can be made to mimic the look of driveway pavers, you know it's not the real thing. Authenticity is important to some people. For instance, if creating an "Old World" feel is one of your landscaping goals, there may be no substitute for cobblestone. If you own a brick house, brick driveway pavers will tie the landscape in nicely with your house.
Driveway pavers are also durable. Cobblestones in particular are practically synonymous with longevity. Even when they do break or become dislodged, repair is simple enough, since driveway pavers are individual units (unlike concrete or asphalt surfaces). They can be replaced individually, so that you're not faced with the prospect of repairing a whole driveway.
But one drawback cobblestones have is that it's difficult to remove dirt from them, since, unlike other driveway pavers, they form an uneven surface (indeed, the uneven surface is part of their Old World charm). They also come at a rather steep price: driveway pavers, especially cobblestone, are more expensive than the other materials considered here.
Pros of Asphalt Paving:
Less prone to frost heaves than concrete.
Ease of dirt removal.
Decorative options.
Unlike concrete, can be relayered.
Cheaper than concrete.
Cons of Asphalt Paving:
It is fairly common knowledge that concrete driveways can be stamped and colored to enhance their appearance, but some may be surprised to learn that pattern-stamping and coloring are also options for asphalt paving.
Where winters are severe, two issues come to mind for driveways: ease of dirt removal and susceptibility to cracking from frost heaves. Both concrete and asphalt paving rate well on the former, while the relative flexibility of asphalt paving allows it to outperform concrete on the latter. It is also significant that, should such damage occur, asphalt paving can be relayered (reducing repair expenses), while concrete cannot.
Like concrete, asphalt paving needs to be resealed frequently if it is to last long, so maintenance is a consideration.
Pros of Concrete Driveways:
Decorative options.
Ease of dirt removal.
Where winters are not severe, outlasts asphalt paving.
Cons of Concrete Driveways:
More expensive than asphalt paving.
Unlike asphalt paving, can't be relayered.
Concrete driveways stain easily, and the stains are tough to remove.
The look of concrete driveways can be enhanced through pattern-stamping and coloring. Unfortunately, their appearance is easily marred by stains -- which are almost inevitable on a surface used by automobiles. Oil stains, which also plague asphalt paving, are difficult to remove. But concrete driveways are often lighter in color than their asphalt counterparts, making the stains more noticeable.
If winter is on your mind, asphalt surfaces perform better in areas with severe winters than concrete driveways. For while dirt removal is easy on both surfaces, concrete driveways are more likely to crack due to the freezing/thawing cycle. In addition, the This Old House Web site notes that unlike asphalt paving, concrete driveways cannot simply be relayered once damaged. Both concrete driveways and asphalt paving need to be sealed frequently, so maintenance is a consideration.
Where winters are not severe, concrete driveways last longer than asphalt paving. But you'll pay for it, as concrete driveways are the more expensive of the two.
Pros of Tar and Chip Driveways:
Cheaper than asphalt.
Low-maintenance (occasionally replace displaced stones).
The rough surface potentially affords good traction.
Cons of Tar and Chip Driveways:
Difficult to find contractors for installation.
Snow removal is more problematic than for concrete or asphalt.
Here's how tar and chip driveways (or "Macadam") are constructed:
Hot tar is applied to a gravel base. So much for the "tar" part. What about the "chip" part? Well, while the tar is still piping hot, stone chips are thrown on top, so that they can adhere to the tar. Since a major selling point of tar and chip driveways is their looks, people usually make sure the stone chips are pretty, not just any old stone chips. For instance, you might want stones that are a particular color. After the stone chips are laid on top of the tar, a steamroller presses them in firmly.
Besides their splendid appearance, tar and chip driveways are less expensive than asphalt, nor do they have to be sealed, thus cutting down on your yard maintenance.
Tar and chip driveways afford good traction, since the surface layer is composed of individual stones. So rather than having a smooth and potentially slick surface like asphalt, the surface of tar and chip driveways is rough. But the same characteristic that gives these surfaces traction also makes them more difficult to plow and shovel: namely, all those individual little stones sticking up.
Pros of Crushed Gravel Driveways:
Cost (all else being the same).
Reduction in frost heaves in cold climates.
Less repair, since there's no "paved" surface to break.
For the same reason, less maintenance.
Cons of Crushed Gravel Driveways:
Dirt-removal is a bit more difficult.
Ruts can form relatively quickly, marring the appearance.
Relatively dirty.
Some (but by no means all!) of the pros and cons discussed on this page also apply to other driveways similar to crushed gravel driveways; for instance, driveways composed of small stones, crushed seashells or cinder (although none of these are as dirty as crushed gravel driveways, and all are more attractive). Note also that not all crushed gravel driveways will perform the same way, due to the fact that their compositions will vary (how the material is screened, etc.).
Because crushed gravel driveways are inexpensive, they are often the driveway of choice in rural areas. Homeowners often have more crushed gravel added periodically as ruts form and crushed gravel is lost, but that's easy enough: you just have another load of crushed gravel dumped and spread (although it's just a temporary fix).
With crushed gravel driveways, a base with good drainage is important, so make sure the individual installing your crushed gravel driveway pays attention to it, or you could be in for problems. Nonetheless, crushed gravel driveways do generally require less repair or maintenance jobs for you. There will be no sealing, no patching, no cleaning, because there isn't any hard surface that can be damaged or stained.
As mentioned above, crushed gravel driveways are designed to shed water.
More links on Driveway Design-