As you read about improving the curb appeal of a home with a driveway, you’ll learn:
- Curb appeal adds five to 11% to a house’s resale value
- Asphalt driveways are better for Cincinnati weather
- Several factors, like size, shape, and location of driveways contribute to overall costs
What is the current state of your driveway? When you look out your front room window, do you see minor imperfections or cracks? While every driveway has an estimated lifespan, typically 20 years depending on the material, all are susceptible to disrepair. UV rays, moisture, temperature fluctuations, loads, and everything in between can all take a toll on your driveway. Ignoring wear and tear can lead to more significant expenses and even devaluation of your property. While it might be surprising to some, your home curb appeal says a lot about your house’s care and value. By taking the time to research and investigate driveway materials and foundational needs, you can significantly improve the curb appeal of your Cincinnati, Ohio, home.
When people think about the appeal of their home, they typically think about the home interior. However, first impressions usually start on the street. According to a study by Michigan State University, the exterior of your home can contribute to five to 11% of the home’s resale value. The exterior includes landscaping, like shrubs, trees, lawn care, but while these are significant components, it is the residential driveway and walkways that create an inviting atmosphere to your home. Many people refrain from redoing their driveway because of cost. While concrete is the traditional choice and does have a reputation for being durable, choosing asphalt might be a superior and more cost-effective solution.
Asphalt as a Superior Driveway Material
There is no denying that concrete is durable and, in specific locations, more suitable for residential installations. However, those situations typically include warmer climates or areas that experience minor temperature fluctuations throughout the year, which Cincinnati, Ohio, is not one. While it is true that concrete also offers various finishes, it is also worth noting that it stains easily. Asphalt may not be as versatile in design finishes, but it is still sleek-looking, offering a finished and attractive appearance to a home. Beyond appearance, there are at least four reasons asphalt can be considered a superior material to concrete for driveway installations.
Asphalt only costs about $2.25 to $3.50 per square foot instead of concrete, which costs on average $4.85 to $7.25 per square foot. Concrete also costs double to reseal, which needs to occur every 3 to 5 years. Asphalt is not only easier to repair than concrete; repairs also cost less.
Asphalt can last on average 25 to 30 years, depending on traffic, maintenance, and climate. Beyond typical upkeep, the foundation and installation play a vital role in the life expectancy of asphalt. If a professional and licensed service does not perform the install, there is no telling how long the material will last. It is also important to consider drainage and your driveway location because it contributes to the material’s longevity and durability. As with a concrete driveway, asphalt will also require resealing every three years, prolonging its lifespan.
3. Quick Installation
While the installation timeline seems similar between asphalt and concrete, two to three days, the curing time is drastically different. Concrete takes up four weeks before it is fully cured and can be used as a driveway, meaning you can park cars on it. While asphalt is technically not cured fully for six to twelve months, a homeowner can use it after only three days, depending on the temperature. If the driveway is installed during a heatwave, the homeowner may have to wait a little longer, but the installers will inform them how long they will have to wait.
4. Cold-Weather Tolerant
When looking for driveway material for the fluctuating temperatures of Cincinnati, Ohio, it is crucial to find a substance that is cold-stable. Asphalt is that material. Ice is easier to remove from asphalt, and the cold weather restricts the movement of the material, meaning it is less susceptible to variance or damage. Asphalt is perfect for cold weather and fluctuating climates, like those found in Cincinnati. Concrete is the better choice when you are in a location that experiences intense or persistent throughout the year.
Considerations Before a Residential Driveway Installation
While the signs for a driveway repair or replacement might be obvious, it is vital to take your time to consider all factors before selecting a service for installation. Laying a driveway is not as simple as it might sound; many things contribute to material selection and timeline. Therefore, before you decide on a material and service, be sure to consider the following six concepts.
When selecting a material for your new driveway, the primary consideration is the weather or general climate of the location. Cincinnati, Ohio, has a moderate climate with colder winters and cooler summers. Throughout the year, the temperature can fluctuate between 24 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the fluctuating weather and cold winters, a homeowner is often better served with an asphalt driveway.
Drainage is pivotal to the longevity of your driveway installation. If water is allowed to collect or pool on the surface or near it, it can lead to excessive wear and tear. Water can also increase the rate of erosion under the slab, leading to surface failure. Ideally, a drive maintains an adequate slope to allow drainage and permit ease of access.
All driveways require a similar foundation, but it is worth going over for new installs, so homeowners understand costs. The site must be cleared of turf and topsoil to an eight to 12-inch depth. Aside from evening out any low areas, an installer will add six to eight inches of compacted stone, sand, or gravel for a stable base layer.
Many cities have size maximums for driveways. Before requesting any professional assessment, you should contact the local building and code enforcement office to determine your driveway installation restrictions and rules. While many homeowners find it frustrating they cannot do whatever they’d like on their property, you do not want to face fines or worse by neglecting or ignoring code enforcement.
The most cost-effective shape for a driveway is straight, going from the street to the front of the garage. While it is the most affordable option, it might not be the most appealing choice. Choosing a curved or semi-circular driveway creates visual interest. By opting for a more expressive and valuable shape, you can quickly increase perceived home value.
Finally, it is crucial to consider your overall budget. The average cost of an asphalt driveway installation is just north of $4,700. However, the size, shape, location, and several other factors will contribute to the specific price. Therefore, it is wise to have a budget between $5,000 and $10,000 to ensure you can afford a new driveway. A professional installer will work within your budget to provide the best options.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Sam Ives