Really this is a question of durability. Driveway replacement cycles for all materials have lengthened over the past couple of decades as the quality of materials improve and the standard of building work also improves by introducing new techniques. As you would expect, the durability of each surface is highly dependant on the quality of the material and installation work and if it is maintained regularly. Therefore the figures quoted below should be used as guide rather than as given.
Asphalt driveways are expected to last over 25 year but there are a number of factors that can shorten this lifespan in the UK. The first is water damage, a large amount of water sitting on or around the driveway will slowly erode the tarmac, it is even worse if ice gets into any cracks as it will expand and create larger holes. To extend the life, we recommend applying sealant regularly, which cover over any small holes/cracks during the summer months. Fortunately, replacing tarmac is simple, you can just add a layer on top of the existing tarmac drive, which is relatively inexpensive to do.
If not installed with the right extra, maintaining block paving can be a nightmare. The surface can last up to 20 years in most cases, however this would require regular jet washing, weeding and general upkeep. What is great about block paving is if there is any damage to a block or patch of blocks, you only need to replace that area, therefore it could be possible to extend the life over a 20 years by placing any damage when it occurs - effectively having new sections within old sections.
It is not uncommon to expect gravel driveways to last over 50 years as really it is a collection of crushed stones packed into an area. The most important thing to install with your gravel driveway is a weed protection membrane as that will reduce amount the gravels base gets disturbed by plants growing. Added to this, racking the gravel so it is evenly distributed across your driveway is important to prevent any holes emerging.
Concrete driveways can last around 25 years or over. Similar to tarmac driveways cracks that form in concrete can cause long lasting damager. However, unlike asphalt driveways a crack in concrete is not easy to repair, it most likely will require the whole surface to be replaced if deicer isn't used when required before snowfall.
Resin is expected to last over 25 years and is a highly durable surface. Unlike tarmac and concrete, resin driveways have been designed to withstand both extremely hot conditions, extremely cold ones and extended periods of heavy rainfall as it is permeable. To maintain your resin driveway you will need to ensure the surface is cleaned regularly to prevent the build up of moss - that is pretty much it!
As you can see, all the driveway surfaces are highly durable, however how long they last is really up to how well they are looked after. One thing to also consider is the material guarantee provided by suppliers and your contractor which should indicate their confidence in the quality of the materials and the work they have completed.
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