Give Yourself a Beautiful Driveway With Stamped Concrete

3 Alternatives To A Concrete Driveway -- And The Problems They Might Cause

by Milton Myers

When planning a driveway remodel, the first decision centers on the building material. Concrete is durable and affordable, but even with staining and stamping it might seem like too obvious of a choice. Several popular alternative materials exist, but each has downsides that might make them a worse choice than concrete.

Here are a few concrete alternatives and the downsides to consider.

Travertine

Travertine is a type of limestone and comes in a variety of natural neutral colors. The beautiful stone tiles are porous so rain water won't collect on your driveway. But the tiles are susceptible to surface damage in a similar way as a marble kitchen counter. And if you protect the surface with a sealer, you will also lose some or all of that porousness.

As a rarer stone, travertine is one of the most expensive driveway materials. If your heart is set on travertine but you don't have a high budget, you can always go with a cheaper central material such as concrete and then use travertine as an edging.

Sandstone

Sandstone has the same elegance of travertine with an added level of durability. These driveway tiles will still need to be sealed to protect from stains, but the surface is less vulnerable to wear and tear. The natural colors match well to any home and can add to your curb appeal.

Like travertine, sandstone is quite expensive to use for a full driveway. Sandstone tile placement methods allow grass and weeds to grow up through the cracks. So you will have to do frequent maintenance to keep the driveway looking nice. If you live in an area with hard winters, the freeze-thaw cycle might crack your sandstone over time.

Asphalt

You might consider an asphalt driveway if concrete seems too expensive for your driveway. Asphalt is one of the more durable driveway materials and has some tinting and design options similar to concrete.

But the design options with asphalt are more limited than with concrete. Fewer colors are available and contractors can't perform as finely detailed stamping as is possible with concrete. This is partly because asphalt is less durable than concrete. Asphalt also has a shorter lifespan before replacement. Note that if you live somewhere with hot summers, asphalt can become painful on bare feet.

Ultimately, the choice of driveway material is a highly personal matter dependent on your needs and design tastes. But don't discount concrete without consulting with a contractor (at Larry Jacob Construction or elsewhere) and looking at some design samples. Concrete is more versatile than you might think.

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