What are the Pros and Cons of a Concrete Driveway?

Erin J. Hill

There are several pros and cons of a concrete driveway, although the benefits often outweigh the downsides of this option. Benefits include versatility and strength. Potential problems include the high cost of pouring large driveways, the need for frequent repairs, and the fact that concrete may not coordinate with all décor and landscaping.

Gravel driveways are usually cheaper to install and maintain than concrete or other surfaces.
Gravel driveways are usually cheaper to install and maintain than concrete or other surfaces.

When considering whether or not to install a concrete driveway in lieu of other materials, homeowners should think about the style of their home and the setting. Concrete is among the most durable and long lasting materials when fully hardened and properly installed, but it may not coordinate with rustic themed homes or those located in the country or in other rural areas. In these cases, gravel, dirt, or stone can be used instead.

Concrete is durable, but can flake and break up.
Concrete is durable, but can flake and break up.

Keeping setting in mind, a concrete driveway may be a good option if it is molded into shapes or tiles to better fit with its surroundings. Concrete can be made to look like stones, tiles, or bricks and can be dyed various colors. While this won’t work with every home or landscaping, it may be an option for some who want the durability of concrete without the typical look.

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If pouring a large slab for a driveway, a power trowel may be the best option to finish it.
If pouring a large slab for a driveway, a power trowel may be the best option to finish it.

Pros of having a concrete driveway include its strength and durability as well as its high-end style. Concrete lasts for a long time and cannot be moved or shifted as gravel or sand can be. It does have disadvantages over these items, including the fact that it is far more expensive to lay a concrete driveway than it is using most other materials.

Concrete driveways may be prone to cracks.
Concrete driveways may be prone to cracks.

There is a certain amount of maintenance required when one has a concrete driveway, although this may be comparable to other materials. Sometimes there may be cracks or stains which will require repairs. Occasionally an entire area will need to be replaced or repaired, although this is rare. Concrete repair may also be less expensive than some other materials, but this will depend on the extent of the damage and the materials being used.

The cost of having a concrete driveway put in can be lowered if homeowners do the work themselves, but this can be tricky. Doing a poor job could result in an unattractive driveway at best and pricey repairs at worst. Hiring a professional may be expensive at the outset, but the work will often last longer and with fewer problems. Having a professionally laid concrete drive may also increase the overall value of the home.

Professional installation of a concrete patio can be expensive, while do-it-yourself installation can be both expensive and complicated.
Professional installation of a concrete patio can be expensive, while do-it-yourself installation can be both expensive and complicated.

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