A new driveway to finish a new home build or a new driveway to replace a deteriorated one, either way a homeowner has lots of options to consider! This article seeks to compare some popular driveway material options as well as pricing.
There are several important factors when pricing out a new driveway construction project. Concrete installation and construction costs can vary greatly from one project to the next so it’s important to understand what may be factored into a contractor’s quote.
Factors to consider include:
Concrete Offers Bang For Buck
Homeowners have a variety of different options to choose from when it comes to driveway installation. While each building material has pros and cons, concrete consistently offers the best return on investment. Traditional concrete driveways typically cost on average between $3.50 - $11.00 per square foot and offer durability and low-maintenance for many years.
Concrete surfaces are the obvious choice for strong support for vehicles of all weights and sizes. Concrete is a time-tested material that offers durability to withstand heavy use and harsh weather. Many professional concrete contractors also offer custom, decorative concrete designs that perfectly mimic more expensive materials such as flagstone or bricks. With proper care and maintenance and occasional repairs, a properly installed concrete surface should last up to 3 decades – talk about an excellent return on investment!
It’s always good to compare your alternatives and choose the option that best fits your needs. The same is true when planning out a driveway project. When comparing similarly priced alternative driveway or walkway building materials we need to take a look at gravel and asphalt. Gravel and asphalt driveways typically cost a bit less to install than concrete, however that cost savings is quickly lost or reduced as they simply can’t match concrete’s durability and low maintenance qualities. Gravel driveways and asphalt driveways must be replaced and repaired way more often than concrete driveways.
Gravel Versus Concrete
Gravel driveways often cause maintenance and repair headaches for homeowners because puddles and ruts form easily during wet and rainy seasons. Rain and snow can also cause the gravel to wear away from the intended area which requires frequent gravel replacement. Between the frequent gravel replacement and the time it takes for ongoing upkeep, gravel driveway expenses can quickly add up to more than a concrete driveway costs initially.
Asphalt Versus Concrete
Similar to concrete, using asphalt as a driveway construction material is a low-cost option for many homeowners. Asphalt costs on average between $2 to $5 per square foot for installation and it also is able to sustain heavy usage. The downfall of asphalt though is that it requires frequent maintenance to avoid rapid deterioration. While concrete driveways may cost slightly more initially to install, they require less maintenance over time and therefore prove to be a better investment overall.
When you think of a concrete driveway, a plain old boring grey material may come to mind. However, in reality, concrete contractors can actually create a wide variety of unique driveway looks using cement stains and colors along with concrete stamps. Skilled concrete installers will be able to create driveways and walkways that mimic the look of higher priced materials like slate, flagstone and brick. Custom borders and surface textures can also be added to further enhance a unique look.
Need More Information?
If you would like more information, including a price quote, about a custom concrete driveway installation give our team of expert concrete contractors a call today. Our team is available to offer custom design services and get you an accurate price quote that will fit your budget. Let’s get started today!
A decorative stamped concrete patio is becoming a more popular patio option than a regular concrete patio when contractors like the Fort Smith Concrete Contractor do installations. This type of concrete patio has become a popular choice because stamped concrete provides homeowners with a textured concrete finish that adds an element of beauty to the exterior of your home which immediately adds value to your home.
Having a decorative stamped concrete patio can also add a calming ambiance to your outdoor area which means that the textured concrete itself could actually help you have a more relaxing experience every time you step outside. In order to get the desired look that you are going for, you will have to put in a lot of thought and convey exactly what you want to an experienced contractor like a Fort Smith Concrete Contractor who can help walk you through the entire process. If you are considering having a stamped concrete patio installed into your yard, but are unsure whether or not it is the right thing for your home, below are some benefits of getting one that may show you why it is worth the money to invest in one.
1.) Stamped patios can save you money
Traditional pavers are expensive to buy and you have to pay for them to get installed on top of that as well. It is much cheaper instead to simply pay for concrete and have it poured. Once poured it can then be stamped to resemble other materials or any design that you want. If you want a patio that looks like natural stone, or a seamless slate, then you can have that effect by pouring concrete and simply having it stamped in that way saving you money in the end.
2.) Stamped patios can add to your home's value
Getting a patio poured and stamped like this can actually help the value of your home go up. It makes the outside of your home more aesthetically pleasing and puts a touch of elegance to your home that you don't get with traditional pavers. Stamped patios are seamless and smooth meaning you can easily entertain out there or just go on your new patio to relax. It gives your outdoor space a much better ambiance which means that if you were ever to decide that you wanted to sell your home, it would be valued more just for the aesthetically pleasing, calming ambiance of the stamped patio.
3.) No weeds to pull
A stamped patio means that you will no longer have to mess with weeds! If you have traditional pavers or stone blocks laid out as a patio, weeds can easily get in and take root and grow between them making it look less than appealing and causing you to spend a lot of time fighting against the weeds. A stamped patio will give you a single finished slab of concrete that will not allow anything to grow on it, meaning it will always look great and be incredibly low maintenance.
A stamped patio can save you money in the long run and is incredibly low maintenance. It stays looking fantastic and gives your yard a unique look to it that no one else has! Make your outdoor space your own and invest in a stamped patio.
Before you start pinning your favorite stamped concrete patio designs allow me to describe the installation process so that you will be fully informed and prepared to move forward with your exciting new patio project! This article will provide a brief process overview as well as information about pattern designs, base colors, release colors, stamping, washing, cutting, sealing and finally maintenance of your beautiful new patio.
Stamped Concrete Patterns
There is no shortage of stamped concrete patterns for homeowners to choose from with the ability to combine colors and designs for a truly unique and customized patio. Stamped concrete patterns can be divided into five basic patters: brick, stone, slate, wood and textured. Narrowing down your preferences to one or two of these five basic design patterns helps in the overall design process. Another consideration for the homeowner when narrowing down patterns is to consider existing hardscape and exterior designs and try to compliment those elements rather than trying to ‘match’ the existing surfaces.
Base Color for Stamped Concrete
Once you’ve selected a design pattern for your new patio it’s time to move on to base color selection. In most cases, stamped concrete has two colors – a base color and an accent color. There are two methods of creating the base color for new concrete; 1. Integral color or 2. Color hardener. Either method will emphasize the base color in the finished stamped concrete patio. The integral color method means that the color is mixed into the concrete in the truck just prior to pouring. This method represents the most common way that concrete contractors add color to concrete.
The second method for adding base color to concrete is the shake-on color hardener method. The color is spread onto the concrete during the initial finishing stages and then worked into the surface to create the base color. While both methods are effective in adding base color to the concrete, color hardener allows for more variations in color and will create a harder and denser surface.
It is important to ask your concrete contractor which method will be used for your project.
Release Color for Stamped Concrete
After the base color is added to the concrete a release agent is used to keep the stamp from sticking during the stamping process, thus the term ‘release color’. The release agent will add an accent color to the concrete once it is washed and sealed during the final phases of the installation process. When picking out a release color, it is important to select a color that accents your base color. In most projects, a darker release agent over a lighter base color provides the best results.
Right after the application of the release agent it is time begin the actual stamping process. The concrete contractor will use a process called ‘tamping’ the stamping tools into the concrete surface. The pattern and texture is created as the tool is pressed into the newly poured concrete. As the stamping tool is pressed into the concrete, a small bit of the colored release agent is embedded into the textured surface of the concrete.
Washing and Cutting Stamped Concrete
After the stamping process is completed it’s time to sit back and relax and wait for about 12-24 hours. Once the concrete surface is ready your concrete contractor will then wash and cut the slabs. Although many find the look of saw cuts unappealing they are definitely necessary part of the installation process. Be sure to discuss saw cut placements for your patio prior to installation so that you are happy with the final results. After the slabs are cut the next step is to thoroughly wash the concrete patio. Once washed you will notice the accents that the release agent adds to the base color, however final colors will not show up until the concrete is sealed and fully cured.
Sealing Stamped Concrete
The final and most important part of the stamped concrete installation process is the sealing step. It is important to choose high-end sealing products to protect your patio for years of low-maintenance upkeep. Newly sealed concrete surfaces many be slippery during application and prior to drying, especially if wet with other liquids or rain. It is recommended that your contractor add a non-slip additive to the sealer to prevent slips and falls.