What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue May 28, 2019 10:34 am

My driveway is asphalt, cracked and falling apart. What is the best material for a new driveway? I don’t want to do asphalt again. Concrete lasts longer but still cracks. Maybe interlocking stone pavers because they can easily be replaced if cracked? I’m willing to spend more if it looks nice and will last longer.

Thanks in advance!

stan1
Posts: 7103
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by stan1 » Tue May 28, 2019 10:38 am

Concrete pavers are popular in my area. They usually lay the perimeter pavers in a concrete foundation and set the middle pavers in sand. That will vary by region I'm sure. You'll get a very different answer in Florida than you will in Upstate New York. What region do you live in?

User avatar
willthrill81
Posts: 10751
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by willthrill81 » Tue May 28, 2019 10:42 am

The most common reason by far that concrete cracks is that the proper expansion joints are not placed in it (i.e. a hard cut through the concrete such that no span is greater than 10'). That being said, pavers are a pricey but very effective alternative.

What type of climate do you live in?
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue May 28, 2019 10:51 am

stan1 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:38 am
Concrete pavers are popular in my area. They usually lay the perimeter pavers in a concrete foundation and set the middle pavers in sand. That will vary by region I'm sure. You'll get a very different answer in Florida than you will in Upstate New York. What region do you live in?
Live in SoCal, thanks for the reply!

Topic Author
financial.freedom
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 1:18 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by financial.freedom » Tue May 28, 2019 10:52 am

willthrill81 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:42 am
The most common reason by far that concrete cracks is that the proper expansion joints are not placed in it (i.e. a hard cut through the concrete such that no span is greater than 10'). That being said, pavers are a pricey but very effective alternative.

What type of climate do you live in?
We live in SoCal, thanks for the reply!

Teague
Posts: 1491
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by Teague » Tue May 28, 2019 12:17 pm

Depends somewhat on the neighborhood. In many areas here gravel is popular, cheap, functional, and has a nice aesthetic. Add another truckload in a decade or two and you have a new driveway.
Semper Augustus

gtd98765
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:15 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by gtd98765 » Tue May 28, 2019 1:00 pm

We had bids on both pavers and stamped concrete for our driveway. Pavers were twice as much, but that's what we got and six years later they still look great.

stan1
Posts: 7103
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by stan1 » Tue May 28, 2019 1:01 pm

financial.freedom wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:51 am
stan1 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:38 am
Concrete pavers are popular in my area. They usually lay the perimeter pavers in a concrete foundation and set the middle pavers in sand. That will vary by region I'm sure. You'll get a very different answer in Florida than you will in Upstate New York. What region do you live in?
Live in SoCal, thanks for the reply!
Interesting, not too many asphalt driveways left in Southern California. I'd definitely look at concrete pavers or exposed aggregate for a higher end house (over $1M) unless you have a very large area that makes pavers cost prohibitive. If not pavers I'd go with concrete for the longer parts of the driveway or parking areas and the pavers or aggregate close to the street and front of house (for curb appeal). Personally I'm not a fan of stamped concrete (especially if it has a finish on it that requires maintenance).

HomeStretch
Posts: 740
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by HomeStretch » Tue May 28, 2019 1:11 pm

You might check out houses in nearby neighborhoods to:
- get a sense of what is the “norm” for the area
- to see what material type you like best
- ask homeowners with nice-looking driveways how the material has held up, how old driveway is and who did the work

ohai
Posts: 791
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:10 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by ohai » Tue May 28, 2019 1:17 pm

Yes, probably a good idea to see which neighbors have nice driveways and survey the costs. I'm sure contractor quality varies a lot by location.

Anyway, you'd think that there would be some kind of new space age driveway material that is durable, cheap and aesthetically pleasing by now. If not, it seems like you are down to stone, concrete, or asphalt.

shell921
Posts: 271
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:13 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by shell921 » Tue May 28, 2019 2:59 pm

gtd98765 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 1:00 pm
We had bids on both pavers and stamped concrete for our driveway. Pavers were twice as much, but that's what we got and six years later they still look great.
Same here except my pavers still are great after 11 years!

likegarden
Posts: 2852
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by likegarden » Tue May 28, 2019 4:25 pm

Asphalt probably cracks a lot because it was too thin. I am in the Northeast and Asphalt should be 4 inch thick probably.
In my area all houses have asphalt driveways.
Last edited by likegarden on Wed May 29, 2019 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 8835
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue May 28, 2019 5:11 pm

shell921 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:59 pm
gtd98765 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 1:00 pm
We had bids on both pavers and stamped concrete for our driveway. Pavers were twice as much, but that's what we got and six years later they still look great.
Same here except my pavers still are great after 11 years!
It’s not a low cost option, but I loved the look of our cobblestones. They were probably a century old when we installed them, probably be there when the house is dust.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2834
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue May 28, 2019 5:24 pm

> Concrete lasts longer but still cracks.

Nope. If properly done a concrete driveway will last many decades. Maybe a hundred years or so.

(Where I lived in the northeast concrete contractors would often stamp driveways with their name and date of installation).

Good concrete work does not come cheap however.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 7447
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue May 28, 2019 5:33 pm

Asphalt can last a very long time if done correctly. Grade. ABC Spec gravel with lime compacted to near 100%. Then asphalt to 3-4". Concrete curbing to protect edges.
Concrete can last a long time if done correctly over a solid base. If not, it will crack more. If properly reinforced and expansion/control joints at good minimal interval, then it can last nearly forever with residential use.
The above is dependent on soil type, expansive, etc, as well.

Much depends on your aesthetics, what is used in your neighborhood, costs, etc. If done well, either Asphalt, Concrete, or Pavers will work fine. If done poorly, none will.
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

fourwheelcycle
Posts: 656
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Tue May 28, 2019 8:46 pm

If you go with a paving system called drivable grass you could be the first person on your block to have this type of driveway!

It can be accomplished with small pavers laid with narrow strips of grass growing around each paver, or with metal or heavy duty plastic mesh grids imbedded in a substrate that supports grass growing within the spaces in the grid. I've seen it, and driven on it, and it looks like a good solution.

jminv
Posts: 893
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by jminv » Tue May 28, 2019 9:11 pm

could do tar and chip. If it’s done right it can look better than asphalt (I don’t like the dark black of a newly sealed asphalt driveway and I also hate the cracking and resealing), it’s cheap, and doesn’t look bad like straight asphalt does when there’s cracking.

I’ll second driveable grass driveways. They can look nice, make a statement, and stand out. It’s probably what I’d go with if I didn’t want an asphalt option. You’ll have a popular driveway.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 8835
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed May 29, 2019 5:54 am

fourwheelcycle wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:46 pm
If you go with a paving system called drivable grass you could be the first person on your block to have this type of driveway!
It can be accomplished with small pavers laid with narrow strips of grass growing around each paver, or with metal or heavy duty plastic mesh grids imbedded in a substrate that supports grass growing within the spaces in the grid. I've seen it, and driven on it, and it looks like a good solution.
That sounds interesting! I will research it, but I assume that it survives delivery trucks. Does it need irrigation, handle shade, etc. Off to Google :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

fourwheelcycle
Posts: 656
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed May 29, 2019 6:11 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 5:54 am
That sounds interesting!
For a starting point, do a Google images search for drivable turf driveway; then for drivable grass driveway.

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 8835
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed May 29, 2019 6:17 am

fourwheelcycle wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:11 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 5:54 am
That sounds interesting!
For a starting point, do a Google images search for drivable turf driveway; then for drivable grass driveway.
Images look good. Maybe that’s a project for next year. I don’t want to hijack the thread. We have a comically long driveway (1500’ or so), and I’d love to have it permeable.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

Rus In Urbe
Posts: 419
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:12 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Wed May 29, 2019 6:56 am

We just went through replacing a rotten asphalt driveway, so we spent a lot of time thinking about options.

The "drivable grass" option is great because it decreases runoff, and it can look super if designed well, and looks very modern. This is a very popular option in warmer climates where you can fill in the spaces with interesting plants that stay evergreen through the year (we live in a cold climate, so this didn't work for us).

For decreasing runoff, you might look into "Permeable Asphalt"----it's a relatively new product....asphalt that is very strong but mixed with air and poured so that water runs down into it. It is, apparently, far more lasting than the old stuff and has a similar look; because it's relatively new (and now used in highways), you have to find a company that knows how to work with it.

We live in an historic district and had a brick driveway (and wrap-around patio and drainage system) installed year before last by an excellent local company----if you are going with brick or pavers, be aware that installation costs are extremely high. This is because to do it right there is deep excavation required (a couple of feet down), as well as a lot of prep work to lay the pavers/bricks correctly. If done right, it will last as long as the Appian Way (same kind of construction)----if not, the bricks settle and sag. We have a very modest driveway in terms of length and it took 13 tons of gravel to lay the proper bed, and then the gravel has to be tamped down. It took a crew of five guys with heavy equipment working about a month and was the most expensive upgrade we ever did (or ever will do).

Bottom line: We did not think of this as an investment in terms of ever recouping it when we sell, because we plan to age in place and we spend a lot of time outside in our garden----for us, this was fun money. Brick was a great choice for us and we absolutely love it, get great pleasure from it every day and it transformed our house/garden and outdoor living-----but this expensive choice is not for everybody.
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

vested1
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by vested1 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:51 am

shell921 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:59 pm
gtd98765 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 1:00 pm
We had bids on both pavers and stamped concrete for our driveway. Pavers were twice as much, but that's what we got and six years later they still look great.
Same here except my pavers still are great after 11 years!
14 years on our paver driveway, still looks great. We extended the same pavers into the front yard patio, along one side of the house, and a portion of the back yard. 1400 square feet in all, $14,000 to install. Moss has grown between the pavers, which enhances the look. I'd do it all again.
Last edited by vested1 on Wed May 29, 2019 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

vested1
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by vested1 » Wed May 29, 2019 8:54 am

duplicate

dalbright
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:23 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by dalbright » Wed May 29, 2019 9:20 am

In the midwest it would be crazy IMO to have a paver drive. They grow weeds/grass in b/w the joints no matter the base material and prep and are impossible to shovel or plow properly. We cover a large range of climates on this board so I'm sure we all have different experiences as a result!
Last edited by dalbright on Wed May 29, 2019 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

vested1
Posts: 1754
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by vested1 » Wed May 29, 2019 9:26 am

dalbright wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:20 am
In the midwest it would be crazy IMO to due have a paver drive. They grow weeds/grass in b/w the joints no matter the base material and prep and are impossible to shovel or plow properly. We cover a large range of climates on this board so I'm sure we all have different experiences as a result!
Good point. I live where it never snows, but am moving to a 4 season location. Thanks for the heads up.

LiterallyIronic
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed May 29, 2019 9:31 am

Ours is concrete and has cracked like crazy. It's a tripping hazard due to how offset it is. But when we replace it, it's going to be concrete again. Why? Because it's the smoothest surface and therefore the easiest to shovel snow off of.

stan1
Posts: 7103
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by stan1 » Wed May 29, 2019 9:39 am

fourwheelcycle wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:46 pm
If you go with a paving system called drivable grass you could be the first person on your block to have this type of driveway!
Just to note OP has told us they are in Southern California. Most of us are replacing lawns with other options that use less water and are lower maintenance. Granted some very wealthy people do put in products like drivable grass but you gotta be prepared to spend a lot of money if your mission in life is to fight mother nature.

Another option is pervious concrete which works in an arid area that doesn't freeze and has a different look but cost is high and I probably wouldn't consider it unless there were existing runoff issue on the property.

stan1
Posts: 7103
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by stan1 » Wed May 29, 2019 9:40 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:31 am
Ours is concrete and has cracked like crazy. It's a tripping hazard due to how offset it is. But when we replace it, it's going to be concrete again. Why? Because it's the smoothest surface and therefore the easiest to shovel snow off of.
I'd grind the tipping hazards down and live with it for a very long time.

LiterallyIronic
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:36 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed May 29, 2019 9:52 am

stan1 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:40 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:31 am
Ours is concrete and has cracked like crazy. It's a tripping hazard due to how offset it is. But when we replace it, it's going to be concrete again. Why? Because it's the smoothest surface and therefore the easiest to shovel snow off of.
I'd grind the tipping hazards down and live with it for a very long time.
I seriously doubt that would be possible. It's cracked into several sections, with some sections being up to two inches higher than adjacent sections. Even if we could grind it down, I still want to change our driveway's layout so we can park our cars side-by-side rather than front-and-back, so we don't block each other in.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 4091
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 29, 2019 10:30 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:31 am
Ours is concrete and has cracked like crazy. It's a tripping hazard due to how offset it is. But when we replace it, it's going to be concrete again. Why? Because it's the smoothest surface and therefore the easiest to shovel snow off of.
When you redo it, make sure they put plenty of rebar (not chicken or light gauge mesh wire which rusts out quickly) in it to prevent it from shifting in relation to the other pieces. The rebar should be in the bottom third of the slab. Also make sure they cut relief joints so that at most, the sections are no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet. By keeping the rebar in the bottom third, it doesn't get cut when making the relief joints.

stan1
Posts: 7103
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by stan1 » Wed May 29, 2019 10:32 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:52 am
stan1 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:40 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 9:31 am
Ours is concrete and has cracked like crazy. It's a tripping hazard due to how offset it is. But when we replace it, it's going to be concrete again. Why? Because it's the smoothest surface and therefore the easiest to shovel snow off of.
I'd grind the tipping hazards down and live with it for a very long time.
I seriously doubt that would be possible. It's cracked into several sections, with some sections being up to two inches higher than adjacent sections. Even if we could grind it down, I still want to change our driveway's layout so we can park our cars side-by-side rather than front-and-back, so we don't block each other in.
Wanting a different arrangement is something different, but my city grinds down sidewalks with lips greater than 2" that have been uplifted by tree roots in order to avoid liability settlements. Grinding the lip down is a lot cheaper than replacing the concrete and less painful than a visit to the emergency room due to a trip and fall accident.

User avatar
Bogle7
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 9:33 am

Prep and prep again

Post by Bogle7 » Wed May 29, 2019 10:53 am

Rus In Urbe wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:56 am
This is because to do it right there is deep excavation required (a couple of feet down), as well as a lot of prep work
This (2+ feet) is THE secret to success.

surveyor
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:05 am

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by surveyor » Wed May 29, 2019 11:12 am

Be wary of pervious products. They are unlikely to remain pervious long-term unless a vac truck cleans it out periodically.

3feetpete
Posts: 361
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:30 pm

Re: What’s the best material for paving driveway?

Post by 3feetpete » Wed May 29, 2019 11:31 am

If the paving cracked chances are the soil underneath is settling and nothing will look good if that continues. Is the driveway on a fill area? You may have to remove a foot of material and replace with well compacted road base. You might want to have a geotech engineer come out and give you some advice.

Post Reply