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Various materials can be used to pave a driveway

When renovating a home, many homeowners look to increase the home's curb appeal. "Curb appeal" is a term used to describe how the home's exterior appears to buyers the moment they pull up to the curb. A home that impresses prospective buyers before they even go inside is said to have a strong curb appeal, and that curb appeal can add significant value to a home. Homeowners looking to improve the curb appeal of their home can do so in a variety of ways. One often overlooked yet effective way to make a home's exterior more appealing is to revamp the driveway. Driveways may not be high on a homeowner's renovation totem pole, but a cracked or unsightly driveway can give prospective buyers the impression that a home has not been properly taken care of. When addressing a driveway, homeowners have a host of paving materials at their disposal.

Asphalt Asphalt is an affordable paving material, which likely plays a role in its popularity among homeowners. Asphalt is also easy to install and requires little maintenance, two additional benefits to homeowners who don't have much time to install or look after their driveway. Asphalt is made from a combination of concrete, gravel and tar, and though it's easy and affordable to install, asphalt, as any kid can tell you, can get awfully hot under the summer sun. Asphalt can also crack rather easily, so homeowners must weigh its immediate affordability against the likelihood that perhaps it will need to be replaced sooner than other materials.

Brick Brick is among the more expensive paving materials, as brick is a labor-intensive material to install. But brick allows homeowners to create distinctive patterns that can add quite a bit to a home's curb appeal. Once installed, brick driveways don't require much maintenance, though cracked bricks will need to be replaced.

Cobblestone Cobblestone can be very pleasing to the eye, but that aesthetic appeal won't come cheap. Among the more expensive paving materials, cobblestone can also be a handful to maintain, as weeds can penetrate the cobblestones rather easily. Loose or missing stones can be unsightly and will need to be replaced. Many homeowners who love the look of cobblestone choose to use it along walkways or on their patios, as these areas won't require as much materials, saving both money and the time it takes to maintain the cobblestones.

Concrete Concrete is perhaps the ideal paving material for the homeowner who wants to express his or her individuality. That's because concrete driveways can be laid in a variety of colors and designs, adding a touch of personality in a place many homeowners likely thought such expression was impossible. Though affordable, concrete can fall victim to the elements, as extremely cold temperatures can cause the concrete to shift and ultimately crack. Concrete pavers can remedy this problem, though that will add to the overall cost of the project.

Gravel A gravel driveway can give a home a historical look that few of today's homes can boast. Gravel is an affordable material that requires little maintenance, though weeds can grow through gravel and must be removed to maintain the driveway's appeal. Washout is a concern for some who want a gravel driveway, but edging the driveway with a material like timber or bluestone can prevent the gravel from washing away should heavy rains fall.

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