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Home Matters

Driveways

Listen: Rob and Pete on driveways

Driveways can be an important aspect to your home, particularly if you're trying to sell. They can add curb appeal, but can often be neglected. Pete and Rob offer some advice for replacing or putting in a new driveway, and good driveway maintenance.

Rob adds that the prices they use are for a one-car driveway. For each additional stall, multiply the price by two.

If you're trying to put in a new driveway, you should first consider what kind of driveway you want.

Grass. "Let's just start out at the beginning with the plain old grass driveway," says Rob. This kind of driveway often ruts or has potholes, if they're prepared incorrectly. Rob recommends, in the Seattle area, having a perfectly level area of land with sand and a drainage system underneath. You also have to consider the type of grass: it must be hardy enough to withstand your vehicle driving over it.

Aggregate. This type of driveway, "covers the gambit," Rob says. It includes gravel and other materials, but the best he recommends is reclaimed concrete. Also good for the environment, it packs down and locks in to make a stable parking surface.

Asphalt. Asphalt is the leftovers from the petroleum process, and is 100% recyclable. Rob says this kind of driveway is the most cost-effective, and generally has lower maintenance than most other driveways. "But if you don't take care of it, it can get looking pretty ratty pretty quick," he says. Keep in mind that if your vehicle has an oil leak, the grease will begin to pull the asphalt apart. Make sure you keep an eye on the paving surface, and clean any residual grease or oil. Asphalt driveways usually run between $1,500 and $4,000, depending on the thickness, of which the minimum is three inches.

Concrete. "Concrete is much more stable, and will take higher point loads," Rob says. It is also not as susceptible to grease and oil; rather than breaking apart, like asphalt, it merely stains. While materials are more expensive, Rob says the installation, is easier -- although driveways, he says, should always be done by a professional. The cost of a concrete can vary drastically, depending on amenities, running anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. The life expectancy, however, "can outlive your grandchildren," Rob says. Maintaining your concrete driveway usually involves a pressure-washer -- but be careful, because pressure-washers can be strong enough to etch your driveway. Follow up the wash with a concrete sealer, which will make it look brand new.

Pavers. Pavers can provide a "great old-world look," Rob says. "It can approach art." Paved driveways can easily match the architecture of your home and help create a unique look. Materials are not just limited to brick, and can include different features. The price, "for a bottom-of-the-barrel, red brick, just enough room to get the tires off the terra firma driveway," Rob says, can be between $5,000 to $8,000 and escalate to $20,000 depending on the features. "This is the top end," he says. This kind of driveway, Rob adds, is the easiest to maintain. It can grow weeds between the pavers, so Rob suggests mowing as you would your lawn.

Listen to the whole show.

Home Matters can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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