Is there anything – anything at all we can do for this irritating conundrum of the modern driveway? Our very entrance way itself, in most cases, stands there – entirely composed of some monolithic cement or asphalt slab of matter, uni-colored, boring, cracking and getting uglier by the millisecond, exponentially, the more we look at it. We typically work around these monstrosities of glare, doing our best to prettify things by planting abundant color or weird plantings abutting them, simply to dress them up a bit and to somehow make them become something they are decidedly not. No, those concrete driveways are no Prom Dates, for sure. In fact, they are not even suitable for masks or the infamous paper bags.
So what is to be done? Owing to their size alone, driveways are money pits, aren’t they? How on earth can one recoup what they spend on a driveway??? Lord love a duck, but they are huge! What’s the dang deal? How can Steve – or anyone else NOT in the paving field – advocate spending that kind of dough on something so basic and utilitarian as a stupid driveway? And, let me ask this now: “What’s in it for me? Hey, Steve tells great jokes. My hubby even likes him! I like Steve and I like that he buys his meals off my dollar now and then, but isn’t he being just plain selfish asking me to redo that admittedly homely-looking expanse I call a driveway? Is Steve a shifty-eyed bandit in disguise?”
No, dangit, I am not a shifty-eyed bandido, snarfing for your landscaping buck and sentencing you to an eternity of good gardens in the midst of some miserable and penurious existence. I am here to help! Remember me? I’m one of the good guys! And today, I don’t care about your garden at all. I want to sincerely give you the place you have always wanted and I want to make it last a while. You go prune the roses and let me “garden” that Godawful driveway of yours. Dear, you too, Sir – you guys need help. Stand aside and listen up.
Driveways of poured cement and of asphalt have a life expectancy of around 20 years, at best. Depending, of course, on the mix one uses, I hasten to add. But most of us deal with what we have. Typically, the modern cement driveway is poured of standard cement with a PSI rating of around 3500 PSI. The numbers of homeowners who do not trust this rating to yield anything more than some mind-boggling and useless bit of information are the same ones – us! – who simply want the doggone thing poured and to get the installers out of our hair. But this matters. It matters immensely, it turns out.
All cost benefit analyses comparing a poured cement or asphalt slab over time to that of, say, interlocking brick pavers, reveals that a cement driveway will be replaced at least 3 times over a period of 30 years. In that same period, the brick paver driveway will sit there, intact and being itself for that entire period. In truth, in the more challenging weather environments, that ratio worsens. The smallest margins of error in terms of drainage or compaction degrees under the surface of a monolithic slab can render a cement driveway useless and broken remarkably faster. This is a truly dispassionate look at a practicality, by the way. It leads to the question regarding a budget seen more over the long term, as opposed to relief of the current driveway-less situation. Or even that facing a homeowner who finds himself replacing his existing cracked and broken monolith once again, hoping against hope this will never recur without really ever knowing why it occurred in the first place.
So why are brick pavers a solution? And, yes, that is where I am going with this. I confess to a bias on the issue, but I think I might just prove the superiority of brick pavers as not only an aesthetic effect, but in also that most important issue of budget. Tune in for more details on this blocky subject. In Part 2, I describe brick pavers in much more detail and I compare them to the other solutions offered in the driveway marketplace. Bring your thinking cap and your eyeballs. Being a bit shy in those area myself, I need the help! I promise this though: I won’t rip you off. This is legit.