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Concrete Driveway VS Gravel Driveway: Which is Right For You?

concrete vs gravel drivewayIf you stop and think about it, your driveway is really a big deal. Not only is it a place where you can park your car or play games, but it is also the first thing that people notice as they approach your home. In addition, your driveway speaks volumes about the type of person you are; it tells others that you take pride in how your property looks and functions. If you are in the market for a new driveway and just aren’t sure what material to utilize, your concrete contractor in Northern Colorado can help. If you are trying to decide between a concrete driveway or a gravel driveway, you need to know the pros and cons of both materials. Just know upfront that there is no right or wrong choice between the two; it’s more of a matter to discover which material is suitable for you and your needs.

You Have Come a Long Way

Concrete and gravel have long been driveway options, and they are easily spotted in front of houses all over the country. There was a time when concrete driveways all looked the same, they were flat, gray, and rather boring looking, but that was the standard at the time. However, thanks to improvements in technology and creativity, modern driveways can look amazing thanks to such implementations as stamped and stained concrete.

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The same holds true for gravel driveways. Thanks to advancements and new options, gravel driveways look much better than they did years ago, and they hold in place much better. So it is best if you stop thinking about the gravel driveways you encountered as a kid, a strip of loose gravel that looked cheap, and scattered rocks all over the lawn and sidewalk. Times have changed, and gravel driveways are much sought after.

The Pros of a Gravel Driveway

The standout benefit of a gravel driveway is cost; it is one of the least expensive options when deciding to replace your existing driveway. In an era in which the upkeep of your property is so expensive, an inexpensive option is always welcome and seriously considered. It is also a viable option should you happen to have a long driveway that would be very expensive to install concrete and maintain over the years.

A gravel driveway is also relatively easy to maintain; there isn’t a whole lot you need to worry about after it is installed. There is no need to seal it, patch it, or even sweep it to keep it clean. So if you needed an excuse to buy a power washer, having a gravel driveway is not a reason. In addition, any repairs are just as inexpensive and quite easy to do. For example, you can fix a hole in your gravel driveway by simply filling it with more gravel.

Gravel driveways also drain very well, so you don’t have to worry about standing water. However, if you stop to think about it, water that falls when it rains has to go somewhere. If you have a concrete driveway, that water could be draining from the driveway and forming puddles near the foundation of your home, which can lead to future problems and expenses.

The Cons of a Gravel Driveway

new driveway

One of the biggest problems with a gravel driveway is that it can wash away in severe weather conditions. For example, a very heavy rain can cause the gravel to wash away, leaving you with a big mess to deal with. Gravel driveways are also prone to developing holes, which can do damage to your car if you are not careful.

When the snow flies in the winter months, you will quickly discover that it is difficult to plow the snow from your driveway; you basically just have to deal with it. In the summer months, you will spend time pulling or otherwise killing the weeds that will inevitably grow on your gravel driveway.

Lastly, gravel is not a premium material, and there is a stigma attached to having a gravel driveway. While there is nothing wrong with having a gravel driveway, it will not look as good as a driveway made with a different material like concrete or pavers.

The Pros of a Concrete Driveway

Concrete is one of the most popular choices for driveways, and for some very good reasons. It is a very durable material, and a concrete driveway will last a very long time. Concrete is also less expensive than other driveway materials, so it is very cost-effective. It is also a strong material, and it will easily handle the heaviest vehicles.

A driveway is a critical part of your home’s overall curb appeal. Your concrete driveway is attractive, and it is one of the first things people see when they approach your home. If you are concerned about curb appeal, then a concrete driveway would be a wise choice. And while materials like pavers might look better as a driveway material, they take away from the rest of your landscape design.beautiful concrete driveway

Speaking of design, you have options when having a concrete driveway installed. You can choose a typical and traditional concrete driveway, or you have the option of utilizing stamped or colored concrete. While stamped and colored concrete is more expensive than simple concrete slabs, you will appreciate how well your driveway pops and stands out from the other driveways in the neighborhood.

The Cons of a Concrete Driveway

Concrete takes a big hit because no matter how well you maintain it, cracks will eventually form. And it’s not like a broken paver that can be easily replaced. Once your concrete driveway starts to suffer cracks, they need to either be repaired, or you will have to replace entire slabs, which costs money, and a new slab will never match up with the rest of the driveway.

No matter how careful you are, you will get dirt and stains on your concrete driveway. And due to the light color of a concrete driveway, an oil stain stands out like a sore thumb. So if you are leaning towards having a concrete driveway installed, you might also want to consider investing in a power washer.

In addition to having to clean your driveway when it gets dirty, you also have to keep up with the maintenance of your driveway. So, in order to ensure your concrete driveway will give you years of service, it needs to be sealed on a regular basis. It might not be terribly expensive, and it’s something you can do yourself, but it will take some time and is labor-intensive.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Both gravel and concrete driveways come with pros and cons. One best thing to do is to sit down and think about what is important to you as far as the type of material to choose for your driveway. In the end, the only thing that matters is what you find acceptable as driveway material.

NEXT: How to Winterize Your Concrete Patio

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