The material you choose for the basis of your new driveways is very important. There is no right or wrong answer as everyone’s preference is different and some surface may suit certain styles of properties better than others. Below we aim to give a brief overview of what each surface is, its main advantages over the other surfaces and considerations that may mean it is not the right surface for you.
Probably one of the most durable driveway surface in existence, tarmac driveways are considered the dependable solution to construct a driveway. Installing the material is quite simple as it can be laid on top of most materials - this means less time is spent clearing the front of your home, which saves on cost and time. Today, tarmac can come in two colours, red and black - although is considered a boring material i.e. there isn't really any customisation you can do to it to improve the design. As a result, it is not uncommon to see people add block paving patterns or walls around their tarmac driveway to help improve the aesthetics of the forecourt.
Probably the most popular driveway material used today, block paving has really come to its own in the last decade due to vast improvements in technology that has mean the once high maintenance surface is now considered low maintenance, due to the advent of permeable weed membrane. The main reason for block pavings popularity is the vast amount of customisation that is available, from the colour of the blocks to the design on the ground. Due to the complexity of installing the blocks on the ground, you should expect a block paving driveway to be relatively expensive.
Gravel is a relatively cheap material that comes in a variety of colours to suit the front of most homes. As with block paving driveways, laying a weed membrane is paramount to ensure maintenance is kept as low as possible. From our experience, gravel is generally installed on very large driveway spaces due to the cost advantage and the natural look it affords any home - compared to tarmac and concrete, which provide more of an industrial look in large doses. One of the main disadvantage is the surface is fluid, which means holes and ruts can form which collects water and can be a pain to walk on!
Concrete driveways, like tarmac, is a very durable surface that is expect to last a number of decades. However, unlike tarmac, it is quite expensive as you initially have to lay a gravel base before laying the concrete on top - virtually paying for two driveways. As with block paving, concrete has had a mini revolution - now available in number of patterns and designs. Decorative concrete definitely has its style merits but don't expect this to be cheap.
Resin bound driveways are a mixture of stones and resin to create a permeable paving surface that has the gravel look but smooth finish. The material can be laid on top of most surfaces - which will save on costs. As it is a very complex surface, getting the right contractor is extremely important. As with block paving, the surface can be customised with a number if different colours, however the lighter the colour, expect it to fade if you don't pay extra for the UV protection. Generally maintenance is easy, it will just need regular washing - if you don't do this, expect to see moss growing on your driveway!
As you can see, there a number of considerations you need to be mindful of when choosing the driveway surface for the front of your property.
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