Concrete and Block Paving

Nothing is as frustrating as driving home to a beautifully maintained yard and pulling into a cracked and weathered driveway.  Completing the driveway project is relatively simple and gives your home an immediate facelift, increasing its aesthetic and investment value.  Once you have decided to make your driveway look as good as your lawn, you have to decide whether block paving or concrete is going to be the best long-term solution.

Block paving is a method of placing individual bricks over a graded bed of sand or dirt, called a sub-base.  Block paving bricks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors which allows for some creativity.  These blocks also come in two basic types, concrete blocks and clay blocks, although some companies offer additional additives like glass and stone.

There are some benefits to block paving.  Since each brick is laid by hand, it is very easy to remove individual blocks in order to do maintenance on the area underneath.  As long as a very durable sealant, weed-proofing mesh layer, and sub-base compactor are used in the initial construction, it can be a very cost effective solution to the problem of upgrading a driveway.

Unfortunately, the problems with this method outweigh the benefits.  Many contractors and homeowners do not take the time to correctly compact their underlying sand layer, which leads to shifting over time.  Additionally, the stability of the paved surface is wholly dependent upon the compacted sand between individual bricks.  In areas where the driveway will be exposed to running water, it often doesn’t take long for this joining sediment to be damaged or removed completely.  Weeds tend to grow easily, as well.  At the same time, even though it might cost a little less in up-front costs, repairing subduction from compaction problems, purchasing professional top sealers, and constantly maintaining vegetation growing up through the cracks can turn it into a very expensive long-term problem.

Patterned concrete, on the other hand, is a very valuable solution to many of the problems of block paving.  This method offers unlimited creativity, as color and pattern can be added in any number of combinations.  Patterned concrete is often poured in one large section, and is usually used to cover large areas.  As it is poured in one large section, water exposure is never going to damage to overall appearance and functionality.  At the same time, it avoids the problem of unwanted growth in cracks, as the “cracks” in patterned concrete are simply printed indentations.

Another great benefit to patterned concrete is its creative element.  Patterns for concrete can be purchased through your concrete contractor, or you can even use your own designs.  Since pigment is added in by hand, you can turn your boring driveway into an attractive piece of art. It is an easy way to bring color to a boring landscape and can provide a stunning visual element to your curb appeal. Furthermore, a patterned concrete driveway poured and stamped by a professional contractor will have a long and attractive life-span.

Overall, when deciding what kind of driveway you need to create the perfect look for your home, you must decide what is the best long-term choice.  Although block paving can be a low up-front investment, patterned concrete may be a more attractive and valuable investment in the long-run.  Either way you choose, replacing your driveway will immediately bring up the visual and financial impact of your property, and make coming home a pleasant experience.

 

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