Whether you’re adding a patio, resurfacing a driveway or starting from scratch on a brand new property, the options available today for asphalt paving are amazing. From trendy colors to stamped designs to traditional poured slabs, if you can imagine it, you can create it! In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common traditional asphalt and paving designs, as well as trendy newcomers. We’ll also give you some easy tips for finding the best contractor.
Traditional or Trendy?
When it comes to choosing between a traditional asphalt application and a trendier, unique approach, your own taste should be your guide. Consider the appearance of your home…a more traditional home will, obviously, be more in harmony with a traditional poured asphalt driveway or path. Homes that have more of a modern twist can be enhanced by the creative use of colored or stamped asphalt.
However, you don’t always have to follow the rules. It’s your home, after all, and it should reflect your unique taste. If you think that your traditional home would look good with a uniquely designed front walk, go for it!
Perhaps the most common and most traditional asphalt application is a poured driveway. This not only looks good with nearly any home, but if offers many practical benefits as well. Asphalt is much easier to maintain than a gravel driveway, and you’ll never have to worry about driving into a mudslide after heavy rains. When properly poured, sealed and maintained, anÂ asphalt drive can last for many years.
Patios are another traditional application, and you can create a surprisingly unique and personalized patio on top of a simple slab of poured asphalt! For many people this is the least expensive alternative, and luckily it’s one that can be dressed up or down to suit your taste.
As with many things, old is becoming new again. This is especially true in the world of asphalt and paving. A great example of this is the dramatic increase in geometric patterns being created for patios, front walks and garden paths. Creating these additions is extremely simple. Most only consist of asphalt slabs of different sizes, usually rectangles. When positioned, they are reminiscent of the 1960’s and bring a fun and funky vibe to your backyard.
There are two popular options for spacing these slabs. Many homeowners choose to create a patio or walkway by placing slabs in a pattern then filling the spaces between them with gravel. The gravel can be in a color which complements and brings out the color of the concrete, or the gravel itself can be the colored focus. Either way, this form of patio or walkway is a unique way to express yourself and brings a great deal of beauty and value to your backyard.
For a less expensive and more natural looking patio or walk, you may choose to leave the spaces between the slabs filled only with grass. This allows you to achieve the same look with less money, and the rich green of grass complements a wide range of asphalt colors. If you choose this option, remember that the grass between the slabs will be unreachable with traditional lawnmowers. This is a small but important detail that many homeowners forget when installing such a patio. Thankfully, all it takes to resolve the issue is a good trimmer or a pair of sturdy grass shears.
Stamping is yet another innovation which has increased in popularity in recent years. This application can be used in large areas, such as a driveway, or smaller ones like patios or walkways.
Stamped asphalt creates a truly unique look. To achieve this look, paving material is simply allowed to dry partially, then stamped with a large die or press. Asphalt can be stamped many different patterns.
With the use of stamping, relatively inexpensive asphalt can be made to look like pricey stone. Many homeowners enhance this look even more by using stains and sealants to color the asphalt, ending up with a realistic stone driveway or patio that is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing!
Stamping can also be used to create amazingly realistic brick or even wood patterns. This option is wonderful for those who crave a luxurious appearance but are limited by a budget. With the money you save by choosing stamped concrete over expensive stone, you can easily add more luxury to your driveway or patio in other ways such as landscaping.
Finding the Right Contractor
In all but the very smallest jobs, a contractor is usually necessary for asphalt and paving work. In fact, the some of the equipment necessary can’t legally be operated by a person without the proper licenses, and it’s certainly not practical to apply and test for that license simply to do one project!Â Play it smart and let the professionals do what they do best.
Hiring a professional can seem intimidating. If you live in a larger area, you have a great deal to choose from, and it can be hard to differentiate the good from the not-so-good. Websites which allow consumers to post reviews have sprung up in recent years, and they address this problem wonderfully.
You should always seek out a contractor with the proper licenses and insurance. Once those elements are established, start reading reviews and ask about prior experience. Does the contractor have any nearby jobs which you could go look at? How many projects similar to yours has this contractor worked on? How long has this particular crew been working together? Is this contractor familiar with local weather and climate (these things can affect outdoor additions such as asphalt)?
These are all excellent questions to ask in your search for the ideal contractor. Once you have it narrowed down to a few choices, ask their references if they would hire the contractor again. This is usually a big clue as to how satisfied they really were with the work performed.
Once you have a contractor you feel comfortable with, talk through the job. Your contractor is likely to have extremely valuable ideas, based on prior experience, which can help you make smart decisions about materials. Always ask for an estimate, but be aware that many factors can affect the time it takes to complete a job, and the contractor can’t control these any more than you can. A 3-day storm is a big setback for an outdoor project, but it certainly can’t be stopped!