Options are limitless when installing a new driveway or repairing an existing one. They’re an excellent way to frame the look of the property, and a great way to shape buyer expectations as they stroll up to see what’s inside your home. By choosing the finish and type that works best, you’ll make the home feel more polished. The following are a few different options to consider.
Crushed gravel driveways normally consist of small stones intermixed with coarse sand and other aggregates. Because there is no actual hard surface, they are generally easy to maintain, and with little cracking or shifting, require little to no repair. If your property is in a rural area, gravel driveways are an excellent finish for your warm country cabin. For snowier climates, consider that snow removal may be challenging and the winter months particularly dirty, as the surface will likely stay wet for longer periods. One consideration to improve the appearance of an existing crushed gravel driveway is to have your local landscaper refresh with enough stone to replace the top three inches before you list your home. This may require several yards of material but will be very appealing to the eye of a potential homebuyer. After the stone has been evenly distributed over your driveway – park on the street to avoid stirring it up.
Concrete—while difficult to do yourself—is a versatile, polished and highly desirable surface. Different colors can give the surface almost any appearance to match your home’s exterior (it can even be mixed with different stones to give it the look of an aggregate). It can be stamped and sealed in different ways to give it the look of brick or even cobblestone. Concrete is likely the longest lasting driveway type for almost any climate. If touching up, consider a concrete stain that will help hide some of the blemishes accumulated over the years.
Brick is an excellent non-slip surface for both cars and kids. If you’re home is older, it’s an excellent choice to give the property additional character by recreating a more traditional driveway setting that will be attractive to interested buyers. One of its main advantages is that brick is easily replaceable; because the foundation is normally stone, sand, then brick, cracked sections can easily be interchanged. Additionally, you may choose interlocking brick with holes for more eco-friendly water drainage directly to your property versus the run-off to the street and subsequent sewer system.
If you have a good size budget, also consider cobblestones. Because they will shift and be uneven, it adds even more old worldliness to the front of your home.
The most common type of driveway is asphalt. It is the most economical (per square foot) and convenient in terms of installation time. When selling your home, make sure you either re-seal your asphalt driveway (for less than $150 you can buy a 5 gallon drum, roller and broom stick and be finished in 2 hours) or completely re-install to give a nice fresh appearance. If in doubt consult a professional.
Stone, pavers, a mixed driveway (using multiple materials) and compressed earth are all other driveway types to consider. Whatever you choose, it’s important to consider the property type and the desired aesthetic. If the two work well together, you’ll have made a significant investment in the value of your home.