Why You Might Consider Natural Stone
If your asphalt driveway needs replacing it’s worth considering the alternatives before resurfacing with asphalt. Along with alternatives such as gravel and concrete, block paving and natural stone is becoming a more popular choice due to looks, durability and longer term cost effectiveness.
Limitations Of Asphalt
Asphalt has always been a popular surface for driveways; the main attraction is often cost as an asphalt drive offers a lower initial cost than certain other types. Resurfacing an asphalt drive with the same again can be a fairly quick job (assuming the base doesn’t require redoing or starting from scratch), and it can be ready to use almost straight away.
Asphalt does have limitations; it will likely need replacing sooner than surfaces such as concrete and especially natural stone. It’s potentially ‘messier’ than other surfaces as sticky matter can be brought indoors if the asphalt warms up in hotter weather, softens, and causes particles to stick to footwear.
Once laid, asphalt usually requires sealing soon after and probably again at regular intervals to continue performing at its best.
Asphalt naturally flexes which can be a help in certain circumstances but a drawback when heavier vehicles such as a large motorhome or caravan are stood on it for protracted periods.
The Block Paving Option
Block paving has developed from the basic clay and concrete bricks or ‘blocks’ laid in symmetrical patterns to natural stone options. Different patterns of laying and colours can be specified, and for patios, garden paths and driveways block paving does provide some variety compared to asphalt.
The Natural Stone Option
For a surface that can be personalised to suit the overall look of the exterior of your property, last many years with little maintenance, and prove very cost effective in the long-term, natural stone such as granite or limestone is well worth considering.
There are many advantages to natural stone:
A natural look – each piece of stone has its own blend of colours and textures, so you’re getting a true ‘bespoke’ driveway look.
Choice – not only is there a choice of stone type, but the basic colour and texture can be chosen to further personalise the look of the driveway.
Maintain appearance – natural stone if anything improves with age whereas surfaces like asphalt and concrete can deteriorate in appearance over time.
Low maintenance – natural stone is very easy to clean, and spillages can usually be cleared up effectively.
‘Kerb appeal’ – natural stone improves the exterior look of your property; a granite setts are a worthwhile investment if and when you decide to sell.
Sustainable – there are vast resources of stone and it’s literally a ‘natural’ substance as opposed to concrete or asphalt which relies heavily on fossil fuels for its manufacture.
Recyclable – while your natural stone driveway would last years, if you decided to remove it the stones are easily re-used. For example, they could be used in reclaimed paving or crushed and used as aggregates.
Practical – the stones are naturally non-slip and grippy, and if an area does suffer damage one or two stones can be replaced rather than having to resurface or undertake unattractive ‘patching up’ as with asphalt.
Durable – unlike concrete and asphalt, small cracks and crevices don’t occur in natural stone so there’s no water ingress that can cause cracking after repeated freezing and re-freezing of water.
Installation Is The Only Real Cost
When considering costs, it’s important to take into account the overall expense projected over several years rather than just the difference between laying asphalt or natural stone.
Once your natural stone driveway is completed, that’s basically the end of the expense. Asphalt, by contrast, will likely require replacement many years before natural stone, and likely some maintenance in the interim. For example, sealing and re-sealing and maybe the occasional repair if a section becomes ridged or rutted.
If investigating natural stone options, make sure you seek out an expert who can show you the range of what’s possible. They’ll advise you based on your driveway requirements and the look you’re after and – crucially – lay the stones for your new driveway professionally so it will last over many years.