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Options abound when laying a new driveway

A driveway is more than just a place to park your car. The right driveway material can add considerable curb appeal to your home, increasing its resale value along the way.

Homeowners have many options at their disposal when choosing a driveway material, and the right material for one home may not be the best fit for another. The following is a rundown of popular driveway surfaces and what homeowners can expect of each of them.

Brick

Many homeowners believe brick driveways provide the most aesthetic appeal, and it's hard to argue with the beauty of brick driveways and walkways. Brick driveways come in various colors and hues, and many homeowners opt to have the color of their brick driveways match their landscaping, which further adds to curb appeal. But that curb appeal is only appealing if the driveway is designed and installed correctly, and homeowners can expect to pay a premium for that, as brick driveway installation is very labor intensive.

Gravel

Gravel driveways may not be as commonplace as they once were, but this cost effective driveway material is still an option. Homeowners who live in regions with mild winters without snow might benefit most from gravel driveways, which can be difficult to negotiate when shoveling snow. Gravel tends to be the least expensive driveway material to install, but professionals may recommend that a new top layer of gravel be laid once or twice a year to replace material lost to wind and everyday usage.

Asphalt

Asphalt remains a popular driveway material, thanks in large part to its practicality and ease of installation. Unlike other driveway surface materials, asphalt is available in just one color, black, and that lack of versatility has led many homeowners to consider other options. But asphalt remains an affordable driveway surface material that's relatively easy to repair. Cracks and holes in asphalt are somewhat common, but resealing such blemishes once every three to five years is typically enough to maintain the appearance of an asphalt driveway.

Concrete

Concrete driveways are popular thanks in large part to their affordability and aesthetic appeal. Concrete can be susceptible to extremely cold weather, but many homeowners prefer concrete because of its versatility. Concrete can be stamped or dyed to provide a unique look, which can increase curb appeal. Concrete can be expensive to maintain, particularly when the material cracks. In addition, gas and oil spills are more noticeable on a concrete surface than other driveway surface materials.

When replacing an existing driveway, homeowners have an array of new surface materials to choose from, and each material has its pros and cons.