Jun
10

Driveway Paving Options

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When it comes to paving your driveway, you have a number of options to choose from.  Some driveway paving materials are more expensive than others and each has a completely different finished look, so choosing one driveway paving option over another is about more than simply cost.   If you are considering paving a driveway yourself, you should also take into consideration that the process of paving driveways can be vastly different depending on what material you opt for.  For example, asphalt driveway paving will be a lot different of a project to tackle compared to a driveway constructed of block pavers.

So, if you are planning on tackling a DIY driveway project, be sure you are prepared for the task, depending on what type of material you are using.  To start with, no matter what material you choose, paving a driveway is not a simple task, although if you already have an existing driveway surface in place and are just looking to repave the driveway, it is a much more doable task.

If you are still looking to cut down on driveway paving costs by doing the job yourself and are ready for some heavy labor, here are a few points to help you choose which driveway paving option is right for you.  We’ll discuss two of the most popular choices – block paving and asphalt paving – in this article.  Some other paving options for driveways include poured concrete driveways, stamped concrete driveways, rock driveways, concrete driveways, and gravel driveways, among others.

Block Paving

When it comes to block paving driveways, you have a selection of material, shape and color choices.  Block pavers can be made from brick, concrete, cement or stone.  They can be gray, red, gold, brown, or black, or other colors as well.  And although most people think of block pavers as being rectangular, they can also be round, octagonal, square or other geometric shapes.  A block paving driveway is beautiful to look at, but that beauty comes at a rather steep price.  Driveway paving stones or blocks can be rather expensive and since the driveway is typically a large area, prices can skyrocket quickly.  If budget is a big issue, consider saving the paving stones for a walkway and opting for a different driveway paving material.

To install a block paving driveway, you need to first excavate the area, properly level it, install adequate drainage, and then fill the area with a sub-base material that is compacted, leveled and graded properly.  Once this is done, the paving blocks can then be laid out according to a pre-arranged pattern, taking care to continually ensure that the surface is level.  This should begin with laying whole block pavers and should finish off with cut pavers that complete the driveway design.  Then the driveway pavers must be compacted and the joints filled with sand and compacted again.  This is just a general guideline for how to install driveway block paving, and if you plan on doing the job yourself, you should get more detailed how-to instructions.

As mentioned, this is by no means an easy DIY project, and extreme care must be taken to prepare the sub-base properly or the finished paved driveway will eventually start to settle and crack.  If you’re unsure of your ability to handle a project of this magnitude, it is best to call a few driveway paving contractors and get some estimates to see if you can afford to have someone complete the project for you.  You don’t want to spend all that money on the driveway paving blocks only to mess up the installation of the product.

Asphalt Paving

Another driveway option to consider is asphalt driveway paving.  This looks similar to concrete driveway paving, but asphalt is a different material than concrete and is more flexible and stronger.  Asphalt is comprised of sand, tiny rocks and asphalt cement that holds it all together.  It turns into a very thick, gooey liquid or tar-like substance that is poured over the base of the driveway and is then leveled and sealed.  Just like block paving, the most important and difficult part of installing an asphalt paved driveway is preparing the sub-surface below.  This requires lots of labor and heavy equipment to make sure it is well excavated, compacted, leveled, and properly graded.

Once the sub-surface is ready, a thick level of gravel is laid and leveled to serve as the base of the driveway.  Then the asphalt driveway paving mixture is poured and spread to cover the gravel surface of the driveway area.  This hot, tar-like mixture is best poured by professionals (its not something you can really just mix up yourself and pour).  Once the surface is leveled off, the asphalt needs to sit for a few days to set before being used and then needs to cure for a short time before sealing it.

You will need to routinely reseal an asphalt driveway and may need to fill in cracks or low spots as well every few years.  Other than that, there is not a whole lot of maintenance involved, other than cleaning it off occasionally.  Asphalt paved driveways are black and smooth and the material is the same as that used on many roads, with the same finished look.

Tackling a do-it-yourself driveway paving project is not for the faint of heart, since it is a very involved process involving lots of heavy lifting, heavy equipment, and labor.  And if not done correctly, you can run into costly problems down the road with drainage, settling, and cracking, so it is important to make sure the job is completed right from the beginning.  The truth is that this is probably a home improvement project best left to the professionals.

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