Most Common Types of Driveway Surfaces [With Pros & Cons]

Blog, Construction

A driveway can transform the look of your property significantly while also adding value to the property. However, choosing the best out of the various driveway types is a difficult task. You can’t just choose one because you think it is pretty. That’d be a very wrong decision as there are many factors you must consider too. You must consider your budget, the climate condition of your area, and how it complements the type of driveway surface you want to install.

Thankfully you’ve caught this article just in time. This article will discuss the different options available to you when it comes to driveway surfaces. I will also list some pros and cons for each so you will be able to make a well-informed decision.

Types of driveway surfaces

1. Asphalt or Tarmac

Asphalt or tarmac

Asphalt or tarmac is probably the cheapest and easiest to install driveway surface. It consists of a mixture of sand, aggregate, and a tar-like liquid (often termed bitumen). The lifespan of asphalt or tarmac driveway is between 15 – 20 years, although regular sealing and patching can extend the lifespan.


  • Very affordable
  • Performs well in cold climates, and removing snow from this surface is easy
  • Fairly durable


  • High maintenance requirement
  • During hot weather conditions, the drive becomes hot, making it soft and sticky
  • No color option

2. Concrete driveways

concrete driveway

Concrete has been a popular driveway surface for a long time now because of its strength and durability. It is made by blending water, powdered Portland cement, sand, and gravel aggregate. Afterward, it is poured between forms when wet and allowed to dry or harden.


  • Very long lifespan
  • Can be colored to improve its appearance
  • Works well even under hot climates
  • Complement different styles of homes


  • Can stain easily
  • Unless it is sealed regularly, it is subject to crack and water damage
  • Not always the most attractive driveway surface

3. Gravel

gravel driveway

Gravel or loose gravel is another common driveway material, it is used mainly because it is relatively inexpensive. It consists of crushed rocks that are spread out over a prepared and flattened surface. Afterward, they are raked until the surface is smooth or even.


  • Very Affordable
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Water permeable
  • Repair and maintenance are relatively easy
  • A variety of colors available


  • Makes cars rusty
  • Regular maintenance requirement
  • Snow removal is more difficult
  • Weed can grow in the gravel

4. Brick or block paver

Brick or block paver

The term “paver” refers to a variety of natural stones and manmade clay brick or concrete blocks. They can be used for sidewalks, patio surfaces, and driveways. The main reason they are becoming all the more popular is because they are aesthetically appealing.


  • Extremely stylish
  • Available in different geometrical sizes and shapes
  • Extremely durable regardless of the weather condition


  • High cost
  • Weeds can come through the crack
  • May loosen and shift over time
  • Hard to shovel snow

5. Green lawn or reinforced grace paving

Green lawn or reinforced grass paving

Green lawn or reinforced grass paving is best for homeowners who like a natural look to their driveway. It consists of layers of gravel and sand (making it stable enough for cars to drive across easily). With topsoil and grass seed planted on the surface (in order for the grass to grow on top).


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Green and natural look
  • Very durable
  • Aesthetically appealing


  • Treating and maintenance tend to be difficult
  • Some areas may end up looking more flattened than others


What type of driveway is the cheapest?

Gravel is one of the cheapest driveway surface types.

What is the most expensive type of driveway surface?

Brick or block paver is the most expensive type of driveway surface, and the stylish aesthetic it offers makes it totally worth it.

Which driveway surface lasts longer?

In terms of durability, concrete driveways are ideal as they have one of the longest lifespans.

Which driveway surface is easiest to maintain?

Gravel has very few repair and maintenance requirements.

Wrapping up

Determining the best driveway surface for your property has to be looked at by various prospects. If you want an environmentally friendly material, you will find Green lawn or reinforced grace paving to be the best. And if you want a durable material then a concrete driveway will be best, although the aesthetics may suffer.

In terms of aesthetics, brick or block paver offers the most aesthetic appeal for many homeowners. Lastly, in terms of budget, concrete, and gravel are the most budget–friendly options available. That said, it is also important to consider the climate condition of your region before deciding, as some types of driveway surfaces are not favorable to certain climates.

After deciding on the type of driveway surface you want, you should also see the article on types of garages.

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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