Updated: Jul 4
When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your driveway?
Even though both you and your guests encounter it every day, your driveway is one of the most overlooked aspects of your home’s curb appeal. Today may be a good day to walk outside and take note of any cracks, holes, weeds, or repairs needed. After all, today’s minor problems could turn into big headaches tomorrow.
Whether you’re opening your home to potential buyers or cleaning up your new house to welcome guests, don’t overlook the first spot they see. We’ve put together five quick tips that make driveway maintenance easy, no matter what kind of driveway you have. But first, let’s take a look at the different kinds of driveway materials.
4 Popular Types of Driveways
Most driveways are constructed of one of four popular materials: gravel, paving stones, asphalt, or concrete.
Gravel driveways are the most economical to install, but they require the most maintenance. There are many options for type, color, and style of gravel to match any home’s style. However, gravel is also likely to shift, pit, and track through the lawn. Proper maintenance of your gravel driveway can keep it in good shape for years.
Paving Stone Driveways
Because of the amount of labor required, paver driveways are the most expensive to install. However, when installing permeable pavers, paved stone driveways offer the best combination of solid surface and water drainage. This makes pavers an attractive addition to green homes, as they mimic the way the natural land absorbs water and reduce the burden of storm drains.
When properly maintained, asphalt is smooth, durable, and an attractive feature for your home. However, it does require regular care to make sure that small cracks don’t lead to big crumbles. Wash the driveway regularly with a hose to check for water buildup and small cracks or tears. Spills, such as motor oil, may not affect the look of the driveway, but they can cause deterioration.
Concrete driveways are also an expensive option, but if you have one already, consider yourself lucky. In addition to being one of the more attractive driveway options, they are also generally the easiest to maintain. However, when any flaws do arise, it’s important to take care of them quickly so that you don’t have to worry about replacement before you’re ready.
5 Quick Tips for Easy Driveway Maintenance
No matter the surface material of your driveway, it’s easy to maintain it by:
Cleaning it properly.
Filling in cracks and holes.
Checking the water flow.
Protecting it at the edges.
And treating it with care.
Keep reading to learn more about how to maintain your driveway for a longer life.
1. Clean It Properly
Over time, driveways show the same seasonal wear and tear as any exterior feature of your home. For solid surface driveways, treat any stains as they occur to ensure that they’re easy to remove. Pull out any encroaching weeds and treat your driveway to prevent future growth. Power wash or wet clean all but gravel driveways. Sweep, rake, or otherwise remove tree debris that could cause stains, accidents, or future weeds.
2. Fill Cracks and Holes
Examine your driveway carefully for cracks or holes, as well as crumbling concrete, asphalt, or paver stones. Caulk and seal any cracks that you find in your solid driveway. Seal any damaged expansion joints while you’re out there. If you can’t lift them, a concrete resurface can help you even out any low spots. For paving stone driveways, replace loose or damaged pavers. For gravel driveways, make sure holes are ruts are filled and the gravel is properly graded and leveled. In addition to making your driveway look nice, this can also help prevent turned ankles, trips, or other injuries.
3. Check the Water Flow
If water puddles in your driveway during the summer, it means that those same puddles will freeze in the winter. Frozen spots in all types of driveways can lead to slips and accidents. In concrete and asphalt driveways, water and ice can also cause damage from cracking. Clear several inches on either side of your driveway to direct water flow. And make sure that the slope of your driveway encourages water to flow in the right direction. Water that flows under your driveway can cause the ground to shift, which can also lead to cracking, pitting, and crumbling.
4. Protect the Edges
Installing edging around your driveway serves several purposes. Brick pavers can help gravel driveways stay in place and prevent gravel from sneaking into your lawn. Rubber gravel or other material with a weed-proof mat underneath helps keep weeds from encroaching on your driveway. This prevents the kind of growth that cracks asphalt or concrete. The additional design element can add to your curb appeal, as well.
5. Treat It with Care
By understanding the maintenance needs of your type of driveway, you can anticipate and prevent need for maintenance in future seasons. For instance, asphalt driveways should be resealed every one to three years, and concrete driveways every three to five years. It’s also important to remember that the salts in de-icers can also cause your concrete to weaken and crack more easily. Instead, use sand for traction through winter weather and plastic snow shovels that will not damage the surface of the driveway.
No matter your surface material, treat it with care over throughout the year to lengthen the life of your driveway.
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about buying a home in NC, our experts at EXP Realty are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a EXP agent about buying homes or land in North Carolina.