The Benefits of a Concrete Driveway
Types of Driveways
There are a variety of options for driveway, but ready mix concrete is the most common choices for a reason.
Concrete drives are more durable than choices like dirt and gravel, which frequently form potholes and require constant maintenance, and are better suited to the Texas heat than asphalt, which can get up to 125 degrees on a sunny 77 degree day.
Paving stones are an attractive option, but are considerably more expensive than concrete drives, and don’t last as long as a properly cared for concrete drive.
Before we talk about concrete drives in detail, lets take a closer look at the alternatives.
Gravel driveways are a collection of packed gravel over dirt
They are cheap, and excellent at letting rainwater through, but unless there are some specific issues with the drainage near your house, or your have an exceptionally large drive, this should not matter. Moreover, they have some annoying downsides.
They require frequent, though mostly painless, maintenance, like weeding the entire surface, and moving any displaced gravel back onto the drive.
A gravel drive that is poorly packed or sees heavy wear may also form potholes that require refilling.
If you are parking daily in a gravel driveway, it will almost certainly dirty your car, and there is the potential that spare bits of gravel kicked up may even cause cosmetic damage to a parked car!
Gravel does not have the curb appeal of a paved driveway, so what you save in installation cost might even break even on your property value, maintenance time, and constant car wash.
Asphalt is a tar-like cement, and while it’s cheaper than ready mix concrete, it doesn’t last as long, and is ill suited for Texas weather.
Asphalt is flexible and does not crack when the ground shifts, but requires maintenance every few years getting resurfaces.
The price tag may seem tempting at first, but in an area like Waxahachie, black asphalt can get hot enough to fry an egg, even on a mild day.
If you’re looking for a durable driveway built to last, professionally installed ready mix concrete is a great choice.
Concrete is incredibly durable, looks nice, does relatively well in the heat and cold.
With proper maintenance you can expect a concrete drive to last as long as 50 years!
A concrete drive is significantly more attractive to prospective buyers than a dirt or gravel drive, and will often improve property value of a house more than it’s installation cost.
Concrete requires little maintenance, and is easy to clean yourself with a powerwasher.
There are a few things to consider when maximizing the lifespan of your concrete drive. Some of these are the responsibility of a the installer of the driveway, like making sure the surface is properly prepared and shifting soil isn’t going to crack the surface of the concrete.
But there’s much you can do as a homeowner. Sealing your concrete drive, unlike the installation of a concrete drive, is a fairly DIY friendly process.
While sealing your driveway is not strictly necessary, it will help protect the concrete against mostly cosmetic damage like oil stains, as well as structural damage from freeze-thaw cycles (and yes, freeze-thaw cycles are a concern in Texas).
Drainage is another factor to consider. Make sure the area around the drive has room to drain and your downspouts don’t land directly on the concrete.
If you do see cracks in the drive they should be filled as soon as possible to prevent the spread of damage. Small cracks can deteriorate quickly if left in disrepair during a freeze.
Cleaning a Driveway
Keeping your drive clean is an essential part of regular maintenance, and should be done about twice a year. There are a few equally effective cleaning methods, although some might require less elbow grease than others.
A power-washer is probably the easiest method, if you can borrow or rent one, and it should take out any noticeable stains with some additional degreaser, and easily take out and discoloration from pollen or dirt.
A scrub brush, some water and detergent should do just as well for restoring the color to your driveway, but may not be able to deal with more serious stains. If you don’t have a power washer, consider using an enzymatic cleaner or dishwasher detergent to spot clean more serious stains.
How do I get a Concrete Driveway?
You really need a professional to install a concrete drive. The process takes considerable time and heavy machinery as well as consideration of temperature and weather conditions to properly cure the concrete.
There are several ways to cure concrete, from covering it to spraying it with a special compound, but unfortunately concrete has to cure, for at least a few days before it can be used.
This curing period is crucial to the integrity of the concrete, so there is no way around it.