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Driveway Resurface Or Replace: Which Is Best?

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When deciding to have a new driveway, you will think about how it will look, where it will go, how big it will be, what the surface will be and perhaps most importantly, how much will it cost.

The decision to resurface your current driveway or to dig it up and replace it completely will be based around your answers to most of the above questions. But which should you choose, and is it better to resurface or to replace-and will it really be cheaper to do one over the other?

It is now common knowledge that outdoor space is as important for new home buyers as the indoor space. This includes having a beautiful entrance to your home with a driveway that is attractive and durable.

The value of your home could even improve by as much as 20% by having an outdoor space that is both usable and beautiful.

The way your home looks is also important when it comes to kerb appeal and first impressions. If you wish to set your home apart from the rest, a new driveway can make all the difference.

There are two main options when it comes to your new driveway: resurfacing or replacement. But which to choose? Below are some of the positives and negatives of each option to help you clarify your choices, and ultimately make your decision…

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If your driveway surface appears wavy or buckling, bad foundations will be to blame. In these instances, you'll need to enlist an expert.

Resurfacing Vs Replacement: An Overview

If you currently have concrete in place, or are making do with aged asphalt, cracks are almost inevitable. General wear and tear on your surfacing, combined with the onslaught of the elements means that even the hardiest of surface types can start to crack under pressure.

In most cases, such cracks can be easily repaired, without requiring assistance from an expert. However, if the cracks are widespread, and stretch across the breadth of the surface, a paving professional will be your best port of call.

On the face of it, resurfacing seems like the best solution. In the majority of cases, it can address widespread damage, without requiring digging up the foundations to do so. Needless to say, this provides a far less time-consuming proposition, and consequently, costs a lot less than an entire replacement.

However, if your driveway is more than 20-30 years old, replacement's a better bet.

For driveways with poor foundations, replacement's also a good idea. Although you can patch up cracks, if there are problems with the base beneath then this is merely a temporary fix; give it a year or two and the same struggles will start to resurface once again.

Contrary to popular belief, even newer driveways can suffer from failing foundations; weather certainly plays its part in this process, as does frequent footfall and heavy vehicle use.

So how do you discern whether your driveway is shockingly shaky foundations?

One key sign to spot is whether the surface is wavy or buckling. Signs such as this on the surface are a clear giveaway that all is not as it should be beneath, and that the foundations require improvement. In these instances, you'll need to enlist an expert.

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Although cheaper than an entire replacement, resurfacing your driveway requires a sturdy base-with the soil type also playing its part in the overall success of the project

Resurfacing Your Driveway: Pros And Cons

To resurface your driveway is to take your current driveway and to place another surface over the top to improve the way it looks and functions. It is possible to resurface concrete and asphalt with surfaces such as brick pavers, new concrete, new asphalt and even gravel.

It is possible to lay a new layer of concrete over your existing driveway or to add a layer of sand and embed brick pavers. You can also add a layer of asphalt.

● Resurfacing will almost always be cheaper than replacing your driveway this is because it is quicker and easier for your contractor to complete.
● Resurfacing requires an excellent base. This means that the asphalt or concrete base must be free of cracks and crumbling areas. If the base has cracks these will soon expand due to the freeze and thaw cycle; this will inevitably result in cracks in the upper surface.
● Resurfacing requires a good earth base beneath the sub-base. The surrounding soil needs to be free draining to prevent any movement. Movement of any kind will cause cracks in the upper surface – ruining the looks and reducing the life of your new driveway.
● Resurfacing can give your driveway a fast makeover and will improve the way that your driveway looks.
● The height of your driveway will be affected by the addition of a new layer of material. This can mean that there might be a significant step onto your driveway from the road, or the steps into your home may have a reduced incline.

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Replacement driveways offer you a chance to change how your driveway looks, enabling you to experiment with different designs

Replacing Your Driveways: Pros And Cons

When having your driveway replaced, you can improve the look of your home and establish a driveway that can even improve the value. The process involves removing the current driveway and digging down to the required depth.

The ground is usually graded and prepared with gravel for drainage and then a layer of asphalt or sand is used depending on the type of upper surface that is used.

The surfaces you can choose for your brand new driveway include gravel, resin bound, asphalt, concrete and paving stones. All require the ground beneath them to be prepared with gravel to encourage drainage.

● A replacement driveway will take longer to complete, and will cost more than the resurfaced equivalent.
● Your replacement driveway will almost always last longer than a resurfaced one. This is due to the preparation of the base, and the ground beneath. A good base is the reason for the longevity of the upper material, as it will not be worn or cracked in any way.
● Replacement driveways offer you the chance to change the way that your driveway looks. You can reposition it and develop more of a landscaped look.
● You can regrade your replacement driveway to ensure that water run-off doesn’t head towards your home. You can also prevent puddles and standing water by reducing the undulations in the surface.
● Your replacement driveway will always look more professional that a resurfaced one. This is because there are no obvious signs of the lower layer in terms of the height of the driveway once complete. The edging will also be integrated into the design.

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In terms of longevity, resin bound surfacing takes some beating-lasting as long as 30 years of more if installed by a professional contractor!

The Best Replacement Driveways: What Are My Options?

As you can tell from the above, replacing your driveway is probably the better option, as long as you can afford to do so. The next question is which driveway surface to choose. You have many options, including the following:

Option No.1: Gravel:

This surface is the easiest for a DIYer to achieve, and is the cheapest option too. Gravel will provide an instant makeover, but the gravel will need to be topped up regularly; maintenance includes clearing weeds, and raking it.

Option No.2: Paving Stones:

Paving stones can include concrete stones, paving stones and bricks. Generally these are laid on a bed of sand and can provide a beautiful look to your driveway. There can be problems with drainage from paving stones as they are not naturally porous.

Option No.3: Asphalt Or Concrete:

These surfaces are easy to lay and usually fairly quick. Both are prone to cracking and crumbling – mostly related to the base. They can last up to 15 years, but the result is not very attractive, as you are limited to the natural colours of the products.

Option No.4: Resin Bound Surfacing:

Resin bound surfacing is a great choice for your new replacement driveway. It is a mixture of resin and aggregate stone in the colour of your choice. You have many options of stone to choose from and you can mix and match them in any way you wish.

The look of a resin bound driveway is one that is smooth and continuous as it is laid in one go with no joins. Your resin bound driveway can be used within one day of being laid and is incredibly strong and durable. In fact, your resin bound driveway will last as long as 30 years or even more.

So the conclusion is the replacing your driveway is almost always the better choice, unless you can can absolutely sure that your current driveway is in great shape.

The ironic thing of course is that the reason you want a new driveway is likely to be due to it no longer being in good shape, and looking like it needs replacing.

Take the first step to upgrading your existing driveway today, by simply clicking the button below!