A great way to rid yourself of that unsightly concrete driveway is to install driveway pavers. These pavers cover up all of the messy cracks and discoloration which is so prevalent on bare concrete driveways. Many kinds of driveway paving bricks are made from natural materials like stone, which can last a lifetime or more. In addition to bricks, there are many other ways to pave a driveway, including colored asphalt and pervious concrete. The most expensive methods involve the application of cobblestone bricks of different colors, aligned in such a way to create extensive patterns and designs which add a high degree of elegance to any driveway. Before you go seeking out a contractor, take a look at the paving options available to you:
Driveway Brick Pavers:
The most elaborate and decorative driveway paving method involves the setting of bricks onto the ground. While quite expensive, the final look is truly beautiful, expressing a colorful design which you select beforehand. Each and every paver must be set by hand, making the installation process expensive and time consuming. In addition, the bricks are priced individually, and can cost a couple dollars each. Creating a beautiful design or pattern involves working with your selected contractor. Once the design and colors have been chosen, the contractor will begin purchasing the proper bricks. Each brick must be cut to shape and set into place just right. This complex process can be back breaking work, as each brick weighs several pounds. While they last a lifetime, some maintenance is required. Be sure to use weed killer to prevent lodged seeds from sprouting in between the brick pavers and causing cracks. Sealing and washing should be twice a year.
To Mortar or Not Mortar:
Mortar is a material similar to concrete which is placed in between each brick. The mortar helps the driveway pavers to hold their pattern and creates a chiseled look. Conventional mortar sets rock-hard, creating a non-flexible driveway. Mortared driveways tend to crack and are difficult to repair. Pulling out a broken brick requires chiseling out the old mortar around it and sealing the new one back in using fresh mortar. Mortar-less driveway uses a compound of special sand which does not harden completely. This results in a flexible driveway in which a brick replacement can be done with ease.
Colorized and Stamped Concrete Pavers:
Colored and textured concrete pavers have the strength of concrete without the bland look. Many colors and designs are available to suit your intended design scheme. These “pavers” are actually large segments of concrete with expansion joints to prevent cracking. The final product looks a lot like the concrete driveway you already have, but with texture and color. With a decades-long life, you really get a good deal with an installation like this. Concrete paver installation takes less time than brick, and generally costs less. Pick a high end installer to ensure that no cracks arise during the first couple years. Wash and seal the driveway twice a year for best look and longevity.
Pervious Concrete Paving:
A special combination of cement, water and gravel, pervious concrete is porous when set. This allows water to flow through the driveway and into the soil, preventing excess water runoff. When water can bleed into the ground, your nearby plants will get more water. However, one must clean it regularly to prevent dirt buildup within the pores. Owners of pervious concrete driveway paving sometimes complain of difficulty getting out stains.
Asphalt is the material you drive on every day. Whether you are driving through the neighborhood or on the highway, asphalt is the material of choice for America’s streets. If you can cope with the standard black color of asphalt, it may be the best choice for your front driveway. Asphalt paving contains oil and comes in a black color. It soaks up quite a bit of heat from the sun and can burn your feet if walked on during a summer day. Asphalt can be applied without tearing up your existing driveway. In fact, it can be laid over concrete or old asphalt at any time. However, cracks should be repaired on the old surface, or else you risk the cracks appearing again in a few months or years. A special sealer can be applied to keep the material from cracking or becoming brittle, as is what happens with asphalt paving over the years.
Stone Driveway Pavers:
Bits of stone and gravel make for a good driveway if you can handle the constant maintenance. Stone driveways are often contained with borders to keep the material from flowing out over time. Driving or walking over the driveway can cause it to shift around. Re-planing the driveway with a wide rake is needed frequently. Many colors of stone are available, ranging from white to tan to multi-colored.