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The Pros and Cons of Concrete Driveways

Aug 13

When it comes to your driveway, you have options. Concrete is one of the most common choices for homeowners.

But is it the best choice for your property? Would you be better off with asphalt, gravel, or some other material?

We take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of concrete as a driveway surface to help you make the best decision for your style, needs and budget.

Concrete driveway advantages

What's so great about concrete as a driving surface? Let's take a deeper look:

Affordable

If you're considering adding a new driveway to your home, you're probably wondering about how affordable concrete driveways are. In reality, you can get a concrete driveway for less than pavers - both in labor and materials. Depending on the size of the project, gradient, and excavation, concrete can run anywhere from $6 to $12 per square foot. On the other hand, pavers typically cost between eight and twenty-five dollars per square foot. The cost of pavers can easily reach $50 per square foot if you choose the high-end varieties.

The cost of a concrete driveway depends on a number of factors, including the size of the area. Most homeowners pay $4 to $7 per square foot for a driveway, while more elaborate installations can run up to $15 per square foot. Therefore, a single-car driveway weighing less than ten square feet can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,600. Likewise, massive driveways can run anywhere from $2,300 to $4,600. Of course, the price of a concrete driveway will also depend on the thickness of the concrete.

Though you may pay more about up front, you will win that money back with concrete's decades-long lifespan.

Long Lasting

Concrete driveways are extremely durable and can withstand heavy vehicle weight, adding value to your property. Compared to other types of driveways, concrete requires little maintenance, and can last for 30 years or more with proper care. 

In a suitable climate, concrete can last longer, depending on the quality of the installation. A professional paving company will ensure that the driveway is installed properly so it can withstand heavy traffic. It will also ensure that the ground underneath is stable and is able to drain water. The quality of the concrete work depends on the paving contractor's expertise and the type of cement used in the project. Make sure to choose a contractor who has years of experience and a proven track record.

When laying a new driveway, many homeowners opt for concrete because of its durability and low maintenance requirements. Because of its strength and durability, concrete is a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties. Concrete driveways are also incredibly versatile, offering many design options. Adding a bit of color to your concrete driveway can enhance the exterior appearance of your home. Whether you want to add character or simply update your driveway, a professional driveay contractor will be able to help you make the right choice.

Strong

For a strong and durable driveway, the ideal mixture of cement and aggregate stone is in the range of three thousand to four thousand pounds per square inch (psi). Although this range may vary from region to region, it is usually adequate for a driveway. The strength of concrete varies greatly based on the climatic conditions. Colder climates require stronger concrete than temperate areas. Typically, the aggregate stone size should be 0.75 to one inch.

The mix used for a concrete driveway should be between 0.75 and 1 inch thick. It should also have a slump rating of at least four to five inches, which feels like thick oatmeal. Reinforcement, if necessary, should be added to make the driveway strong. If it's necessary, you can use a thicker concrete mix. Choosing a thicker driveway mix will ensure its durability and last longer. But, you should take note that this type of mix can be more expensive than a standard concrete mix.

Downsides of concrete driveways

Now that we've detailed the concrete driveway benefits, let's examine some of the cons:

Required maintenance

Although most concrete driveways are low maintenance, regular cleaning and sealing is a necessity for their beauty and longevity. Regular cleaning and maintenance will minimize the effects of common driveway problems.

A sealant is a key component of concrete driveway maintenance. The surface of your concrete driveway should be sealed every three to five years for maximum durability. Sealing is especially important in areas prone to snow and ice. Salt/sand mixtures and magnesium chloride can erode the concrete's surface. This may lead to spalling and deterioration.

Not attractive looking

A plain concrete driveway can look drab. When it comes to not-so-attractive looking concrete driveways, you can find several attractive alternatives. However, they often come at a cost and with more maintenance needed.

If you're not impressed by the look of ordinary concrete, consider the upscale alternatives available. You can get fancy add-ons, such as brushing and color from concrete companies. These options can boost the curb appeal of your home, while still keeping its durability. 

Professional installation needed

Installing a concrete driveway is not a simple DIY project for next weekend.

Whether you're planning a brand-new concrete driveway, modifying your existing one, or looking for an easy fix, a professional installation is highly recommended. Concrete driveways are complex projects, and hiring a professional is a natural choice. To get a good estimate, contact several concrete driveway contractors and compare prices.

The strength of your concrete will determine how long it will last and whether it will crack or deteriorate. Cheap concrete is prone to cracking and will not hold its shape as long as high-grade concrete. Since your concrete driveway is a one-time investment, you should use the best concrete available. Otherwise, you'll likely find yourself paying for repairs sooner rather than later. As a result, hiring a professional is recommended to ensure the quality of your concrete.

In closing

Concrete driveways are durable, long lasting, and require little maintenance, yet, regular cleaning and selaing is required to prevent damage to the surface. Unlike asphalt, concrete can last for decades, depending on the conditions.

Now that you have more information you can pick a driveway surface for your home with more confidence.