Tips and Tricks For Affordable Driveway Replacement
If you have a separate residential house, then you know how it complements the whole homestead. It is the first impression visitors get of your home before they get to the house. A well-maintained and cleaned pavement indicates a responsible owner.
Driveways need constant repair and maintenance to keep them in shape. Some driveways get damaged for all sorts of reasons. Some of them include the growth of weed, freeze-thaw circles, de-icing salts, oil stains leading to discoloration, and heavy traffic.
While it is easy and cheaper to patch up the holes and fix the cracks, it may lead to color inconsistencies in concrete. Pavers cannot be redressed, and some driveways are just too old and need a replacement.
Here are a few tips and tricks for an affordable driveway replacement.
Concrete Driveway Repair
The driveway is right after the gate and makes or breaks the first visitor impression. You might have been toying with a whole replacement idea but left it at that due to budgeting constraints. Be it an expanse of potholes or puddles, you can patch it using soil prep, asphalt, and gravel for a third of the cost of total replacement if you DIY.
If your driveway is badly subsided and heaving, your best bet is to replace it. This phenomenon is usually caused by water filtering through the driveway cracks into the subsoil, washing away the driveway base. Seasonal freeze-thaw circles further exacerbate the damage.
Depending on your driveway’s original material, you can fix those cracks using asphalt cold patch concrete and other special materials if the damage hasn’t reached devastating magnitudes.
Asphalt is much easier to repair compared to concrete. Your contractor can apply a base coat and top with a finish coat. One thing you should remember is consistency. The asphalt surface layer should maintain 1-1.5inch consistency, which means your contractor will have to do some digging around the garage threshold and any other door openings bordering asphalt paving.
All cracks should be sprayed with a weed killer, filled, and adequately graded for efficient drainage, which increases longevity.
Tips and Tracks to Choose a Professional Driveway Contractor
You have to work with the best the industry has to offer to guarantee a successful driveway replacement. Professional contractors always leave a positive footprint. Consult with your neighbors who had their driveways recently done for a positive referral. Another trick is going through yellow pages under Paving Contractors or consulting local masonry supply houses.
The hallmark of a professional residential contractor is long-lasting driveways. Select several contractors, then ask to look at driveway replacements they did at least five years ago to see their current condition.
Run if you see red flags. Heaving and cracking point out to poor drainage or poor soil preparation during installation.
Settle on one contractor whose work is impressive overall and offers local concrete crack repair services. However, they have to guarantee a few things.:
- Work for not less than two years.
- The payment schedule offered should not demand more than a third of the total upfront costs.
- The damaged lawn will be tended to and cared for until it resembles its preconstruction glory.
- If you are replacing the driveway with new material, for example, concrete and gravel that didn’t previously, the contractor has to install and compact a 10 inch thick 3/4inches gravel layer.
- Install a net-like strong permeable fabric for earthwork under the gravel if the soil is unstable.
- Install a 4 inches thick punctured pipe all around the driveway to drain run-off water.
Concrete driveways should be replaced with air-conditioned concrete slabs reinforced with rebar or mesh to stand up to 4000 psi pressure. This is especially important if you have heavy vehicles, which means the slab should be thicker than usual.
Some contractors skip the steel reinforcement in cold climates since extensive use of de-icing salts may corrode it over time.
New and existing layers of asphalt require two base layers of stone. The first layer should be at least 6.35cms thick with 1.27cm to 1.9cm of stone. The dimensions for layer two should be 2.54cm to 3.81cm containing 0.9cm stone. Ensure that the total depth stands at 8.89cm if you own heavy vehicles.
Affordable Driveway Driveway Replacement Options
There is a wide choice of concrete surfaces, especially for aesthetic purposes. You have plain concrete, stamped concrete that imitates stone, acid, or pigmented stained concrete, and exposed concrete. The top layer made of textured gravel shows through the top for textured concrete. Acid staining and pigmentation allow you to apply your favorite color to please your eyes or complement the entire household design.
Concrete resurfacing has a few benefits. A concrete coating can last for anywhere between 15 years to more than half-century with adequate drainage and biannual sealing with proper subsoil preparation and reduced exposure to road salt. Concrete features a smooth surface for efficient drainage, easy snow removal, and other household uses such as basketball courts.
However, concrete has a few downsides ;
- It has to cure for a week which is inconveniencing since you have to leave your car outside your home or garage.
- Concrete must crack for areas experiencing the freeze-thaw circles
- Concrete has to be sealed every two years and cannot be relayered like asphalt. Repairs stick out like a sore thumb.
- Concrete stains easily, color fades with time, and removing oil stains is next to impossible.
- Unsupported concrete easily cracks, and poor soil stability and drainage can destroy the concrete within five to eight years.
Let’s now get down to the math.
Plain concrete goes for three to four dollars, while pigmented concrete goes for seven dollars. An acid etch look or exposed aggregate will set you back between $7-$8 per square foot. And the cost still goes up if you are replacing another resurfacing material with concrete since you will have to factor an additional one or two dollars for every square foot 10inches gravel layer under the concrete. The cost is, however, much affordable and justifiable considering the concrete durability and lifespan.
Ensure that the ground is properly drained and any bedding compacted before laying the new slab. The new concrete slab should be kept moist using a sprinkler during the curing period to prevent cracking.
Asphalt paving service is much cheaper compared with concrete. This is because you can patch and repair asphalt driveway as opposed to concrete driveways.
Asphalt surfaces include acrylic polymer colors, plain flame-colored concrete, and chip seal containing pressed gravel for texture.
Asphalt feature several advantages. Asphalt is flexible since it flexes with changes or ground movement to ensure that it doesn’t crack. Properly maintained asphalt can last for one and a half to two decades. Maintenance is easy since a topcoat can be applied over existing layers.
The disadvantages of asphalt include;
- It needs fresh resealing every two years.
- Achieving clean straight edges is an uphill task.
- Asphalt will disintegrate in as little as five years due to poor drainage.
- Burdock and other weeds can grow under asphalt, finally breaking it up.
Follow the following maintenance tips to counter these disadvantages and increase longevity. Apply a latex-based sealing agent every two years to improve the appearance and waterproof the asphalt coat. Proper drainage is key to longevity when it comes to asphalt. Get a soil sterilizer to lie beneath the new gravel layer to counter the destructive growth of weeds.
Ensure that the work area is properly sprayed with weed killers before asphalt replacement.
Let’s look at the figures.
Asphalt replacement is generally affordable though costs vary widely within regions. You will have to part with a dollar to two dollars per base coat square foot. Add an extra one to two dollars per square foot for the plain coat and three and a half dollars for the cheap seal. If you are in love with colored and stamped topcoats, expect to pay three to five dollars. Every square foot of 10-inch gravel to lay beneath a new asphalt coat will cost an extra one to two bucks per square foot.
Stone and Gravel
Clients are spoiled for choice with concrete, limestone, granite, and crushed shale and gravel to choose from. All these choices also come in a myriad of colors and sizes.
This is one of the most cost-effective driveway replacement materials around. Unlike concrete and asphalt materials, you don’t need any base. The truck will unload the gravel, and the workers spread using shovels. Stone and gravel are not affected by freeze-thaw circles since they are already loose and won’t break with the expansion and contractions. Both stone and gravel are economical and are easily redressed using a pea gravel coat when they scatter or compact.
Every good thing always has a bad side, and gravel is no exception. These smaller gravel pebbles tend to dig deep into the soil every five years, leaving large stones on top. These can act as trip hazards and disturbances when driving. Therefore, expect to carry out periodic redressing. Here is the bad news if you live in cold climates prone to heavy snowing. Shoveling or plowing stone and gravel is almost impossible. You will have to conduct spring raking for areas bordering the gravel. Stone and gravel develop ruts and scatter quickly, and you know how the sound of crunching tires in gravel is irritating.
The cost of stone cum gravel driveway replacement is mighty impressive. You will only have to part with a mere dollar per every square foot of two-inch layer!
When the driveway develops furrows, groves, or trucks, ask the contractor to dress the whole driveway. Repairs can cause inconsistencies since the colors and sizes of the stones can vary widely, spending on where the contractor sources them.
Using 3/4-minus minus rocks for stability ensures stability in new driveways. Unstable soil will require 8 inches of gravel, while stable would require 6inches.
Pavers and Cobblestone
Commercial paving contractors offer clients multiple options to choose from, such as anvil and trefoil. Designs like a hexagon, bow tie, and keyhole are more common compared to the former if you love traditional pavers for Belgian block or Cobblestone through the Belgian block comes in rectangular shapes only.
Benefits of pavers include the wide variety of pavers and longevity, with cobblestones cloaking a whopping century! Soil drainage and preparation determine how long they last. You cannot easily replace broken and stained pavers compared to individual cobblestones. Don’t worry if you leave in snowy regions since you can easily remove trapped snow if the pavers and cobblestones were properly installed.
We put this last because pavers are mildly expensive compared to other driveway replacement materials and cobblestones are the most expensive on this list. You should, however, consider it luxurious instead of disadvantageous. Commercial builders put extra effort during installation to excavate and prepare surfaces. One of the common issues with pavers and cobblestones is uneven settling due to compacting the gravel base. You will have to constantly deal with weeds since the wide distance between Cobblestones encourages grasses and weeds.
Paving services are priced at one to 1.5 cents per paver which adds up to 6 to 10 bucks per square foot installation. The best part is that the cost features the intricacy of the design and bed preparation. According to commercial paving contractors, Cobblestones top the cost spectrum at thirteen bucks per square foot.
Driveway repair is much cheaper than total replacement in some cases. While it is possible for some materials like asphalt, damaged pavers will just have to be replaced. Customers can choose between different materials such as concrete, asphalt, pavers, sand, and cobblestones, spending on their budget.
You have to ensure that your repairs are done by a qualified professional to avoid the risks that come with a lack of soil stability, poor compaction, and thin layers of driveway materials.