Asphalt has its benefits for a driveway material, but it’s not the prettiest. While it’s a good road material, you might want to consider something nicer for your home… not that concrete is the nicest either (which is what we have for our driveway).
Here are 7 excellent alternatives to asphalt for driveway material. Includes photo examples and we list out the pros and cons of each alternative. Take our driveway poll below as well.
Table of Contents
Related: Circular Driveways
1. Stamped Concrete
- This is a great way to enjoy the strength of concrete driveways while still having a decorative driveway.
- The pattern can be anything that the homeowner wants but is generally used to mimic cobblestone or other more expensive materials.
- It’s easy to have color mixed into the concrete to add even more decoration to the driveway.
- The concrete has to be mixed perfectly in order for the stamping to work correctly.
- Because the stamping process is done close to completion of the driveway, it’s important to have an expert do the work so that the driveway does not set before the work is completed.
- Only an expert should attempt adding color to the concrete or it can look streaky, be darker in some areas, or be spotty.
- Concrete driveways are already expensive and adding color or decorative stamping will only increase the final cost.
2. Poured Concrete
- Very reliable and durable, concrete only needs to be washed from time to time to look as fresh as it did with it was poured.
- It’s very easy to clear ice and snow from concrete driveways without worrying about damaging the surface.
- When poured in sections, then there won’t be any worries about movement or buckling, damaging, or cracking the driveway. This is especially helpful on driveways that are bordered by large trees as the roots can cause major problems for homeowners.
- Poured concrete is much more expensive than asphalt driveways.
- It’s easy to accidentally stain these driveways so homeowners have to be careful about leaks from vehicles.
- When deicing the driveway homeowners should only use non-corrosive chemicals or they can easily damage the surface of the concrete.
- Not all homeowners like how dull the finish is on this type of driveway.
3. Interlocking Pavers
- Concrete pavers are very strong and will be able to stand up to heavy cars and trucks without the risk of cracking or chipping.
- Pavers come in all sizes, colors, and types. In addition, an expert can easily lay them in a number of different patterns, ensuring that your driveway is different from all of the other ones in the area and that the pattern is as beautiful as it is unique.
- While they need to be sealed from time to time and settled pavers need to be lifted and refit, there is very little maintenance that will have to be done on this type of driveway.
- Since the pavers interlock and are very flexible yet strong, this kind of driveway will generally last for 30-40 years. This is great for the homeowner looking for a long-term solution.
- All styles of homes look great with paver driveways.
- Some avid DIY homeowners can install their own paver driveways but most people opt for a professional to ensure that there are no problems in the future.
- Because the driveway is laid by hand and the materials used are so strong, it can be very expensive to have a paver driveway installed.
- When not installed correctly, then the interlocking pavers won’t be as strong and homeowners will experience problems with buckling and moving pavers.
- The sand between the pavers may have to be replaced from time to time due to wind and water removing it.
- Weeds can grow between the pavers if they have not been installed correctly.
4. Tar and Chip
- As long as the current driveway is in fairly good condition, this type of driveway can be installed right on top of it.
- Different stones and colors can be used to create a driveway that is unique and that complements the exterior of the home.
- In general, this kind of driveway costs less than other options.
- Because of the rough texture of the surface, it is a great choice for homes that get a lot of snow and ice. The rough surface will offer a little more grip to anyone walking on the driveway and help prevent falls and accidents.
- The surface will only last for about ten years at most before it becomes necessary to add an additional layer of stones and tar.
- It can be very difficult to find an expert who is able to install this kind of driveway. This means that you will have to pay more for the labor than you might for other kinds of driveways.
- Gravel driveways look amazing winding up a long way through the grass to a home set back from the road.
- Since there is no surface to break the way there is with other driveway options, this driveway does not need regular repair, only maintenance.
- There will not be a lot of ice that manages to build up on the driveway in the winter, making it much safer to drive on. This is a great point to consider for homeowners who live in very cold and wet areas that deal with a lot of ice.
- With a barrier along the edges of the driveway, there is less of a chance that the gravel will be pushed out into the yard.
- The gravel will have to be raked frequently to ensure that it is evenly spread out and that there are no low points in the driveway. In addition, it will have to be replaced every couple of years, making it a very expensive driveway to maintain.
- While gravel driveways look amazing at first, they will wear and look dirty and unkempt over time.
- While ice will not build up, it is very difficult to easily remove snow. Unlike other driveways that can quickly be scraped, scraping a gravel driveway will move all of the gravel around and result in more work after the snow melts.
- When installed correctly and then maintained on a regular basis, brick driveways add a lot of personality to a home. They will greatly increase the curb appeal and as well as the asking price when it comes time to sell the home.
- There are a number of different colors and hues of bricks available. This means that homeowners can have a one-of-a-kind driveway that will stand out from the neighbors. It also lets homeowners choose bricks that will match the exterior of the home and the landscaping, creating a very cohesive look.
- When installed correctly, brick driveways can last over two decades.
- This is a very expensive type of driveway to have installed at your home. Not only are the materials more expensive than other options but it will take a longer time for the work to be completed. This means that you will have to pay more for labor, as well.
- Maintenance can be very time-consuming and expensive but in order to keep the brick driveway looking its best, it is necessary. Weeds have to be controlled to ensure a clean driveway and any roots from trees will cause it to buckle. In addition, ground frost can make the driveway heave and buckle as well.
7. Permeable Pavers
- This type of driveway is much less likely to become damaged by extreme weather.
- Keeps water from pooling in low spots on the driveway and ensures that there is not a lot of runoff from the driveway into the road.
- These allow air and water to penetrate the ground underneath, which helps the trees grow as their roots will be healthier.
- It will add a lot of visual interest to the driveway.
- They come in a variety of options that can be selected to match the appearance of the rest of the property. This ensures that the driveway doesn’t look out of place.
- Very sloped land isn’t great for permeable pavers as they will become much less effective when the slope is 20% or more.
- They will cost more to have installed and need to be professionally installed to ensure that they are level.
- Ice on the surface of the pavers may chip off and damage the appearance and the structure of the driveway.
- They will need to be swept off every few months to ensure that there is a clean surface for cars to drive on and people to walk on.
- Made of granite, this is the longest-lasting driveway that homeowners can have installed at their properties. It’s not unheard of for them to last a century.
- Because of how durable they are, there is very little maintenance that will need to be done to this driveway to keep it looking its best.
- Cobblestone driveways have an appeal that most homeowners love and will instantly improve the appearance of the property and increase the curb appeal.
- Due to the wide variety of different sized and shaped cobblestone pavers that are available, it’s easy to make a custom driveway with fun patterns.
- They are incredibly expensive, making cobblestone a better choice for shorter driveways to help mitigate the cost.
- It’s a very labor-intensive job to install a cobblestone driveway and for that reason, most homeowners opt for a professional. In addition, shoddy installation will result in a driveway that won’t last as long or look as neat.
POLL: What’s your favorite driveway material?
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