All homeowners can attest to the fact that nothing lasts forever. That is true of everything from kitchen appliances to the driveway. Some of those items are easy to swap out. Redoing your driveway is a bit more involved. There are many elements to consider before undertaking a driveway renovation. The most important consideration is the look you want to achieve. Here are some questions to ask yourself before redoing your driveway.

Season

When it comes to redoing your driveway, timing is crucial. You will first have to coordinate the removal and cleanup of the old driveway. Once that space is clear, then you can prep the area and pour or install the new surface. If you are working with concrete, then it has to cure, and that means the weather will be a factor.

Be careful to schedule this project when there isn’t any rain in the forecast. You should also try to avoid extreme temperatures. Concrete can be poured in the summer and winter, but it shouldn’t go down in either extreme heat or cold.

In the cold, contractors might cover the driveway with insulated blankets to ensure it will cure properly. At the other extreme, hot temperatures can evaporate moisture rapidly and cause the concrete to cure in uneven patches. When that happens, misting the area is often recommended.

Materials

Driveways can be constructed from a variety of materials. Each has its own advantages in practical terms and aesthetics. Ready-mixed concrete is an extremely popular option for driveways because it’s consistently high quality. It can also be poured in an array of patterns. Concrete is considered low maintenance and durable because it can last for decades without breaking down.

Stamped concrete driveways use the same concrete mixture as other types. However, instead of a smooth surface, the concrete is stamped when it is wet to create various patterns and textures. The result can be a faux brick or stone look.

Asphalt driveways are also a popular and durable choice. They require repeated resealing every couple of years. As for the look, asphalt can be limiting.

Interlocking pavers or bricks can also be used for driveway construction. This type of project is a bit more expensive because it is labor intensive. Most often, mortar isn’t used because of the interlock design. That could present troubles down the road if the stones become loose.

Budget

When you’re considering redoing your driveway, you should put all the options on the table. You’ll find that each one comes with a different set of budgeting parameters. It helps to get a few estimates from different contractors.

You might also find that a DIY demolition of your driveway could save you money. Just make sure you have the ability to haul away any trash from the project. Once you settle on a contractor and cost, you want to lock down your budget. It will help to factor in a contingency in case there are overruns due to weather delays.

Layout

The layout of your driveway will go a long way toward informing the type of driveway that you are going to construct. As mentioned, just because you’re redoing a driveway doesn’t mean you have to replace it with the same type of driveway. The straight path from the street to the garage door is the most common layout for a driveway. You could also consider a horseshoe design. Those layouts work great for a home that is on a busy street because it provides easy in-and-out access.

Maintenance

The type of material and the design of your driveway will also dictate your future maintenance plans. The goal is to create a driveway that will last, but even the most durable of materials will require maintenance. Concrete driveways can develop cracks, especially if a tree root makes its way underneath. Asphalt driveways need to be resealed. If you are going with a paved or brick option, then it is a good idea to hold onto several of those stones in case you have to replace some later on. The same can be said for a gravel driveway. Those look great, but it doesn’t take a lot of driving to create bald patches where new gravel stones have to be added.

Function

The driveway is going to provide a place to park your cars, but what other uses could it serve? Do you foresee a future when you might bring a boat on a trailer or an RV onto the driveway? In that case, you might want to design a wider area than what was originally there. If kids are part of the equation, then you might want to factor in the potential for a basketball hoop or other kinds of play area. It is much easier to play basketball on asphalt or concrete then it is on pavers.

Access

Just because you park your car in the garage and enter your home from there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a walkway from your driveway to your front door. After all, not every visitor to your home will be coming in through the garage. Think of your walkways as an extension of your driveway. Ideally, both of those areas should be made of the same material so that they have a cohesive look. For homes located in snow-prone areas, you also need to consider where all that shoveled snow will go. Make sure you’ll be able to create a safe path when you clear the driveway of snow.

If you hire an experienced driveway contractor, then they should be aware of constructing the space with proper drainage. You don’t want puddles forming on your driveway after a rainstorm.

When the project is complete, your new driveway is sure to improve the curb appeal of your home. It will also add value. That is why you should consider a new appraisal when the project is complete. That way, you’ll know that your investment was worth the time and effort.

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