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There are two main options when upgrading your driveway: replacing or resurfacing your existing one. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the two options and how to decide if you should replace or resurface your driveway.
Overview of Replacement vs Resurfacing
If you already have concrete in place or are dealing with aged asphalt, you’ll eventually run into cracks. General wear and tear, when combined with damage from the elements, means even the toughest of surfaces crack under the pressure. These cracks can typically be repaired without professional help. However, if the cracks spread too far or too deep, it’s time to talk to the paving professionals.
Resurfacing often seems like the best choice. Resurfacing addresses major damage without the need to dig into the foundation. It takes less time and money than replacement. However, replacement is a better option if your driveway is getting on in years, especially if it’s over 20 years old.
Replacement is also a good option for driveways with poor foundations. You can patch the cracks up easy enough, but sometimes it’s better to fix the root cause.
Should You Resurface Your Driveway?
Whether you should resurface your driveway depends on a variety of things. Resurfacing a driveway places another surface over your existing driveway to improve how it looks and works. Different materials can be used for resurfacing asphalt and concrete driveways, including new asphalt, new concrete, gravel, or brick pavers.
- Resurfacing a driveway is almost always cheaper than replacing one as it is quicker and easier to do.
- Resurfacing requires an excellent base to work from. The original driveway must be free from crumbling areas and cracks for effective resurfacing. Cracks expand because of the freeze and thaw cycle, causing cracks to appear in the new surface.
- Resurfacing also requires a solid earth base under the sub-base. The soil under and around the driveway should be free draining to prevent soil movement. Any movement causes cracks in the upper surface, ruining the look of your driveway and affecting its lifespan.
- Resurfacing a driveway is a quick makeover option that vastly improves how the driveway looks.
- The extra surface affects the height of the driveway. This could cause a major step between the driveway and road.
Should You Replace Your Driveway?
When replacing your driveway, you can take the chance to improve the overall look of your home and install a driveway that increases the value of the home. Replacing a driveway involves removing the current one and digging down to the required depth for the new one.
Contractors typically grade the ground and prepare it with gravel for drainage before adding a layer of asphalt or sand depending on what the driveway is made from. You can choose from a range of surfaces for the new driveway, including asphalt, gravel, concrete, resin bound, and paving stones. Each option requires the ground underneath be prepared with gravel to improve soil drainage.
- Replacing a driveway takes longer and is more expensive than resurfacing one
- The replacement driveway will inevitably last longer than a resurfaced driveway. This is thanks to the extra preparation that goes into the base and ground. The better the base, the longer the upper material lasts because the base prevents it being cracked or worn away.
- Replacing the driveway gives you a chance to change how it looks. You can reposition it or give it more of a landscaped look.
- You’ll have the option to regrade the driveway to ensure water run-off doesn’t flow towards your home.
- A replacement driveway always looks better than a resurfaced one.
Material Options for Your Driveway
Gravel is the easiest surface to install — not to mention the cheapest overall option. Gravel gives you an instant makeover, but it requires much more maintenance. You’ll need to rake it, clear weeds, and top up the gravel levels.
Resin Bound Sealing
Resin bound surfacing, or sealing, is another option for a replacement driveway. This option combines resin and aggregate stone in the color you want. There are plenty of stones to choose from and you can mix them however you want to get your ideal look. You can also add this on top of an existing paver or concrete driveway for longterm protection.
A resin bound driveway has a smooth look. The resin is put down in one go without any joints that might mess with the appearance. You can start using your resin driveway within just a day of the project finishing and you’ll find these driveways are incredibly durable. Resin bound driveways can last for up to 30 years or longer.
Stone Paver Driveways
Paving stones are available as brick pavers, concrete pavers, and natural stone pavers. Travertine, marble, and limestone natural stone pavers are excellent building materials because they are durable and organic-looking, meaning that they’ll retain their natural appearance for decades. Paving stones are laid on a sturdy bed of sand and look gorgeous. When problems arise on brick paver driveways—or other pavers—it’s easier to address the problem because each block is laid individually. However, they can potentially have problems with drainage if they aren’t installed correctly.
Asphalt or Concrete Driveways
Asphalt and concrete are quick and easy to lay. Both are known to be sturdy, durable, and long lasting. However, they are also known to crack from time to time. With a proper base of gravel, asphalt can last for over a decade, while concrete can last even longer. These options can also carry a lot of weight and are good considerations if you own large vehicles, boats, or RVs. Though you are more limited in color, you can create patterns with stamped concrete to add an extra flair.
Whether you should replace or resurface your driveway depends on your needs. If you have surface damage and need a less expensive, quicker option, then resurfacing is the way to go. If you are looking into a solution that fixes foundational damage and has numerous design options—though more expensive— a replacement driveway may be the way to go. You can always consult the experts at U.S. Brick and Block. We are happy to provide a FREE project estimate.