Asphalt vs. Gravel
Driveways are oftentimes one of the most overlooked areas of home construction and maintenance, although one of the first aesthetic components of your home that visitors notice. The material used for your driveway can have a significant impact on not only the way it looks, but it also affects its durability and function. There are many factors to consider when choosing which type of material to use when laying a residential driveway. Some factors that will help you make the appropriate decision include: · cost · soil type · climate · appearance · usage Gravel Driveways Gravel is a common surface material for driveways all over the US. The crushed stone used in many applications can be easy to maintain and available in many different colors, sizes and types. Although it is relatively easy it does have its pros and cons. Pros: · Easy on your budget o Gravel is one of the most affordable surface material options available - especially for homes with long driveways. This type of driveway must be refreshed every few years. · Easy to maintain o If gravel begins to sink or thin out, it is easy to order in large quantities and spread. · Quick installation o As one of the easiest driveway materials in terms of installation, laying a gravel driveway and allowing it to settle will take less than a week. Once installed, it can be used immediately. Cons: · Climate and snow removal disturbs rocks. When snow blowing or plowing, gravel is likely to be misplaced and disturbed. When it is very rainy the gravel is also more likely to move. · Ruts and sinkholes may form. Gravel driveways that have a high level of usage may be prone to developing ruts. · Driving down a gravel driveway can cause dust, debris and dirt to fly – especially in the dry summer months. Due to the dirt, your siding and home can become dirty and need an extra cleaning. Asphalt Driveways A properly installed asphalt driveway will act similar to a concrete surface but at a lower cost. Pros: · Economical option. o Homeowners appreciate the sleek appearance of an asphalt-paved driveway at a lower cost than concrete or paver surfaces. · Flexible in extreme climate conditions. o Asphalt typically holds up well in hot and cold climates alike. · Long lifespan. o With proper maintenance, an asphalt driveway will last anywhere from 12 – 35 years depending on installation, climate, usage and other factors. Cons: · Style limitations. o Black is the only option available for asphalt applications. · Required maintenance. o It is recommended that a homeowner clean their driveway with a broom at least two times a year to remove dirt and debris. Seal coating of the pavement is required every two to five years and cracks and holes should be repaired as soon as possible. · Can be damaged during extreme heat. o When asphalt heats, it can become pliable and soft which causes indentations and marks. This is not good news for homeowners with asphalt driveways in areas that experience extreme heat. Gravel and asphalt driveways both have their own pros and cons. It is important to weigh them both when considering what driveway option to choose. Although the condition of a driveway is not always a deal break during a real estate transaction, it will be inspected during a Massachusetts Home Inspection. If you do not want to be surprised when putting your home up for sale, consider hiring your own home inspector ahead of time so that you can have a proper list of prepares well in advance of the sale of your home. Don’t know of a home inspector? Call McDonald Home Inspections of Massachusetts.