Choosing the right driveway surface for your home will have a dramatic aesthetic impact for your home's curb appeal. Considering the low upfront cost of blacktop, the ease of installation and the clean look, it is a popular choice among Long Island homeowners. Let's look at some other considerations:
Maintaining blacktop must be factored in to the long term performance and cost. Blacktop is a pliable material that will form cracks as it ages. Blacktop driveways are installed in one monolithic pour and will eventually give to the ground movement. It can last anywhere from 7 years to 20 years depending on maintenance, the sub base, quality of installation and drainage.
Sealcoating, sealing cracks and dealing with oil stains are just a few things to consider. Cracks should be sealed as soon as they develop to prevent further damage and weed growth. Your blacktop contractor will use a rubber and tar mix that must poured while hot. It is a good idea to sealcoat the entire driveway every three years to hide any repairs and imperfections while prolonging the aesthetic value. Performing these basic maintenance tasks will extend the life and performance. Keep in mind new blacktop driveways should not be sealed for a least one year.
A blacktop driveway is a durable option and depends mostly on the type of use it is going to get and maintenance. If you plan on parking your heavy camper or boat on your driveway, you should consider a heavier aggregate mix. If you want that silky smooth look, you will have to sacrifice some durability. The finer the aggregate mix, the more pliable the surface becomes. This is a good choice for smaller residential driveways less than 1000 sq' ft'. If your driveway is long and winding, more durability will be necessary with a heavier stone mix. As the oils start to diminish on the surface, the aggregate begins to reveal itself. Compared to concrete, brick or paving stones, it's the least durable especially without the proper maintenance.
A new blacktop driveway is an excellent choice for a low cost solution and will certainly upgrade the curb appeal of your home, however many dislike the look and maintenance as mentioned above. It is only black and there are no custom options to add. Some will opt for a Belgium block or paving stone curbing to enhance the borders. Compared to gravel, it's about the same cost but compared to concrete it is less expensive. A paving stone driveway that is properly installed will only be needed to be installed once but have an upfront cost 3 times more than blacktop. Keep in mind you will need redo the blacktop 1-2 more times if it's not maintained. Custom enhancements like adding a cobble apron or a paving stone borders are welcoming choices, but also add to the cost.