Your driveway puts up with a lot. Not only is it exposed to whatever Mother Nature decides to throw its way, it must also deal with the weight of a car being driven over it multiple times a day. This can add up to a lot of wear, and even extremely durable materials like concrete and asphalt will eventually wear out under these conditions. Whether you are looking to upgrade your existing driveway or this is your very first time dealing with driveway paving, there are several steps your project will involve that must be carried out successfully if your investment is to reach its expected lifespan.
1.Planning the Project
As the Better Business Bureau puts it, "A good driveway is a major construction job that must be carried out according to rigid specifications." While it might seem like a simple matter of throwing down a bit of asphalt or concrete, factors like drainage, frost heave, and grading will often play a very important role in how long your new investment lasts.
Professional driveway paving takes a number of elements into account before the project begins, and skipping any single detail during the planning stages can result in a driveway that simply can't hold up to its environment. This leads to decreased function, lowered aesthetics, and the high cost of premature replacement.
2.Preparing the Surface
If there is already an older driveway in place, it may be possible to pave above it. In some cases, however, it is most effective to pull up the existing driveway before the new one is put down. Each area of the country has its own specific soils, temperatures, and precipitation levels to take into account, and each of these factors along with the actual location of the driveway will play a role in how the area to be paved must be prepared. In many cases, the surface must first be flattened and then covered with a layer of gravel before any concrete or asphalt can be introduced. In some areas, additional drainage or terracing will need to be put in place before the paving can begin, as well.
3.Choosing Your Paving Material
Concrete and asphalt might be the most popular driveway paving materials, but there are certainly alternatives. Brick pavers are an increasingly popular option because they provide their own drainage and tend to be less affected by temperature changes. Additionally, if damage occurs, homeowners can simply replace individual pavers rather than having to redo the entire driveway. For the eco-minded homeowner, grass paver is a relatively new option that many are just beginning to see the benefits of. Made of real grass supported by recycled plastic cells, grass pavers are not appropriate for every situation; under many different conditions, however, these systems are able to provide an excellent base for parking and normal driveway passes without all the problems associated with parking and driving on regular grass.
4.Caring for a New Driveway
New driveways of just about any material will have a few issues to be aware of, and the contractor who does the work is going to be the best source of information around when it comes to the immediate care of your investment. Since different materials have different maintenance requirements depending on the area they are installed in, the current time of year, and the actual location on your property, your contractor may be the only resource available that can provide maintenance instructions that are entirely accurate.
Of course, the amount of maintenance required after the installation will be minimal if you choose the best type of paving for your specific situation. Make sure to examine all of your options before selecting a paving material, and don't forget to talk to at least 3 different contractors before hiring one to do the work.
...your contractor may be the only resource available that can provide maintenance instructions that are entirely accurate...