The first and foremost aspect noticed by any visitor to your house is the driveway that leads to your house. Driveways can be made impressive by planting shrubbery, fixing a fence, building brick driveways, installing lights, adding gravel, building rock gardens and reshaping the entire driveway. A driveway is meant for private use and has restricted access. At times a single driveway is divided into two to connect two different garages used by different owners.
Driveways are designed and built to suit the style and layout of the building that they are connecting to. Driveways are usually better maintained and more beautiful when compared to public roads as they are built and maintained by individuals for personal use. Driveways are built using cobblestone, concrete, decorative bricks, decomposed granite, asphalt and other materials. Check out the relative features of concrete driveways and driveway pavers and gravel driveways.
Driveway gates provide security, privacy and render a stylish look for the driveway and the enclosed structure. Driveway gates serve as perfect security solution for your home. They act as a barrier against unwanted salesmen, prevent children from running to the main road and also check easy access to your homes thus dissuading burglars.
There are a variety of driveways gates. Simple wooden gates fixed to stone pillars are used in the countryside; they are hand-operated and suit country homes very well. In urban and semi-urban areas more sophisticated types of driveway gates are used. Driveway gates are used to prevent access for outside cars or are used along the security/privacy fence.
Driveway gates can be hand operated like in case of rustic gates or can be operated with a remote or touch pad. Intercom systems are installed at the gate and visitor can contact you through them. Few intercom systems have video relay facilities thereby providing the inmates of the house a view of who their visitor is. Motion sensors fitted to the gate send signals to alert inmates of the house.
Driveway gates are available in a variety of styles. Materials used for making a fence are used to make gates too, the most regularly used materials being iron, steel or wood. Varieties include rustic or luxurious, painted or gold-plated. Immaterial of whether the driveway gate is simple or grand, it does add to the grandeur of your home. Choose driveway gates that suit the style of your property.
Driveway and sidewalk
Sidewalks are generally attached to the driveways of the property and have to be as safe as the driveway is. Sidewalks and driveways are very functional add-ons to any property and have to be maintained well. To maintain overall upkeep of the property, sidewalks and driveways must be kept in excellent condition. They have to be safe and secure for use at any time. The driveways and sidewalks have to be well maintained and any repairs must be attended to immediately.
Driveways must be free from holes and cracks. Washing it regularly will keep stains at bay; other solid dusts can be removed with the help of a water hose. Using a sealer every year will help maintain the driveway in a good condition. Sidewalks must be kept clean from rubble, trash etc. Uneven surfaces have to be attended to without delay so as to ensure the safety of the users.
Concrete is the most preferred material to build driveways because it is long-lasting and requires hardly any maintenance. Concrete driveways look very attractive and have the advantage of being shaped into any size and look. Concrete driveway is cheaper when compared with cobblestone driveways, brick driveways etc but is more expensive than asphalt driveways.
Concrete driveways lend themselves easily to versatile plans. Concrete is available in an extensive range of texture, color and patterns. Concrete driveways offer a traditional look yet have a decorative appearance and can be made to resemble the colors of brick, tile, slate and stone. Concrete driveways can last for many years and can be formed into any shape, texture, pattern or color. Concrete driveways do not cave in like driveways made from other materials. As these driveways have no joints, grass or weeds cannot grow from the joints as they do in other stone driveways.
Concrete driveways are made by stamping them; they are stamped to look like brick, wood, flagstone, slate etc. Stamped concrete is widely used in building driveways because of the variety of patterns and colors available. Few other types of concrete used for building driveways are colored concrete and exposed aggregate. Concrete driveways can bear any weather conditions. The texture is permanent in concrete driveways and once fixed it is retained for years on end.
Gravel driveways are extensively used in the countryside. People in the city who want to give their homes a rustic look also build gravel driveways. Gravel toppings are generally laid over a concrete or asphalt base to make a gravel driveway. Gravel driveways save the cost of bricks and tiles and yet give an effectively smooth entry to the house. If you experience heavy snow, make use of snowmelt systems with your concrete driveway. With heated water moving through tubing under the driveway, you can melt away the snow and channel the water away from your driveway.
Round river rocks measuring around one and a half inch in diameter are usually used to construct these driveways. Colors vary from white to brown. Avoid dark colors as heat settles in and makes it difficult to walk during the day. To avoid sinking of the gravel into the ground, a solid base made of concrete or asphalt should be used while laying this driveway. Concrete is a better choice as it lasts longer and does not develop cracks in the long run.
When concrete is used as the base, four inches of concrete is poured and is finished rough. This rough finish holds the gravel and prevents the gravel from sinking when there is heavy vehicular movement. To provide a better hold for the gravel the concrete is coated with a 'tack coat' of asphalt emulsion, this helps the lower layer of the gravel to stick on to the concrete.
If gravel is laid on an asphalt bottom, then after rolling the base a thin layer of 'tack' has to be sprayed on the asphalt base. After this the gravel is laid evenly. For either concrete or asphalt base, the gravel has to be distributed evenly for about one or two inches. The gravel sets in perfectly after a couple of rains.
Driveway pavers add on to the existing beauty of your driveways. Driveway pavers have to be installed properly so that can bear the summer expansion and winter contraction. Driveway pavers are available in various materials. Different paver types of materials used to make driveway pavers are concrete pavers cut from cement, cobblestone pavers, stencil concrete pavers, brick/clay pavers, rubber pavers, and natural stone pavers.
Driveway pavers are mainly of two types - mortared and mortar-less. Mortared pavers have mortar in between the pavers and therefore create a tough rigid surface. They are subject to regular cracking; replacing the cracked part alone becomes difficult. Mortar-less pavers use a special mixture of sand instead or mortar to hold the pavers. The driveway surface in this case is solid and yet flexible when compared to the mortared pavers. Replacing a paver or a section becomes easier.
Asphalt driveways can also lend themselves to a variety of styles and you can get an eye-catching driveway that is weather resistant and requiring minimal maintenance. Shiny asphalt driveways can be custom configured in a range of patterns and colors. Asphalt driveways do not present raised joints or broken pieces. Reheating and stamping will get a damaged asphalt driveway back to good condition.