All homes have a paving material somewhere on the property. Paving materials are used for patios, driveways, walkways, garden paths and as decks around pools. Today we have a number of choices in paving materials, choosing what is best for your situation is generally based on appearance and budget.
Figure 1 - Rubber pavers
In researching this article we were quick to note that whichever contractor or supplier you speak to they can easily find the advantages of their material and the disadvantages of the competitive materials. We do not sell or install any products and in this article will try to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the most common paving materials without any prejudices.
We will also indicate if it is a material that a competent DIY home handyman can install or if professional installation is required. We have not included pricing information because there were wide variations in basic material and labor costs.
Note: We have included the durability of the paving material as a potential factor. It should be noted that much of the durability of the finished project is subject to the correct installation of the material and the ground preparation before the material is actually installed.
Appearance: Black, does little to create a warm feeling as one arrives at your property. It is the most popular driveway paving material. In many areas when one says they are having their driveway paved, it is taken for granted that the material is asphalt.
Durability: Asphalt needs to be installed properly to have any durability at all. In geographic areas where freezing occurs asphalt will crack and heave. In hot climates it is not unusual to see sunken areas in the surface when vehicles are left standing.
Maintenance: Oil and grease stains are difficult to remove from asphalt. Coatings are available that can be used to bring back a new look to the asphalt, but they do not hide cracks or surface damage.
Repair: Cracks can be repaired but they are visible. Surface damage cannot be easily repaired if it can be repaired at all.
DIY or Pro: Asphalt must be installed professionally.
Additional information on installing asphalt driveways.
Appearance: Brick was once a very popular paving material. Bricks will give your property a rustic appearance. Bricks come in a variety of colors. For all intent purposes standard brick has been replaced by paving bricks for paving applications.
Durability: The bricks themselves are quite durable although in climates were freezing occurs the bricks can crack. The mortar used between the bricks will crack due to weight and freezing.
Maintenance: Oil and grease stains are very difficult to remove. The bricks can be washed to remove dirt and grime.
Repair: Individual bricks are relatively easy to replace, however they may stand-out as the current bricks will be weathered. As well, matching specific colors can be difficult with older bricks.
DIY or Pro: Bricks can be installed by the home handyman.
Appearance: Basic concrete is grey, however technology has now made it possible to apply colors directly into the concrete before it cures. Concrete can also be painted, stained and stamped to enhance its appearance.
Durability: Concrete does not last for ever. If concrete is installed properly with a proper base it can last for 25 to 30 years. Concrete will last longer in climates where freezing does not occur.
Maintenance: Most stains, if acted upon quickly can be removed with concrete stain removers, especially if the concrete has had a sealer applied to it. Concrete can be washed and fresh paint can be applied.
Repair: Cracks may form in the concrete, especially if the base was not properly prepared. Concrete cracks can be repaired but the repair is usually noticeable. Concrete can also be resurfaced.
DIY or Pro: The installation of concrete can be a home handyman project. It helps if the home handyman has a lot of strong friends!