Driveway Paving

Deciding on the right driveway for your commercial or residential project can seem like an arduous process. But having a driveway installed needn’t be a headache with the right paving contractor on your team! Airtight Construction has decades of experience with projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here’s some tips from our pros to help you.

Things to Consider in Driveway Installation

Before we look at driveway types, let’s look at factors you should consider to get a beautiful driveway.

Types of Driveways

We look at the different types in more detail below. It’s important to pick one that matches your budget and needs. Each type has a standard cost, and its pros and cons. Consider the following:

  • Your goals for the driveway
  • Desired appearance
  • What soil type and drainage is available on the property
  • What’s the best balance of cost and maintenance commitment
  • Does the driveway type meet metrics that matter to you, like greenness, tax incentives, or eco-friendly construction?
  • Cost-effectiveness and budget must always be considered
  • How long do you have for the installation to take place?

Draining a Driveway

Drainage is important for any driveway. It’s also a primary cause of cracks and breaks, even more so than heavy vehicle traffic. So always consider drainage when choosing a driveway type.

Permeable driveways can help bypass erosion, pooling, and flooding issues, but come with their own sets of issues. Bear in mind that sealcoating and maintenance will help with this, too.

Be aware that, while a properly sloped and leveled driveway shouldn’t become an issue, weather, trees, and earth movement can affect it over time. If you begin to spot pooling water on an existing project, get in contact with a reliable contractor immediately.

Driveway paving

Age of your Driveway

Are you hoping to rehabilitate an old driveway? Often something can be done to make a driveway look better. However, do be aware that every type of driveway does have a lifespan, and will eventually reach the end of the road. You might need to consider a new installation instead, but a pro will help advise you.

What Factors Affect Cost?

We have included some cost estimates for each driveway type below. However, it’s worth remembering that these are only starting estimates, and will be influenced by the square feet involved in the installation, too.

Driveway use will also influence the cost, as high-traffic areas may need extra site preparation while installing, or need more expensive materials and more maintenance over time.

Several other factors can affect the cost of your driveway installation, and this can be a labor-intensive project, depending on site conditions.

We all like to save money, so don’t be afraid to discuss the breakdown of the total price for the project with your driveway paving contractor.

Labor and Site Design Needed

Some sites may need very little preparation, while others may need a lot of work. This could include ripping out the old driveway, grading a slope, making sure it will drain water properly, stabilizing soil, and other preparatory factors. Labor can fast overtake materials as a key part of the project quote.

There can also be added costs if it is difficult for laborers or machinery to enter the site. Additional drainage and grading can also play a part in costs.

However, doing a good job of installation the first time will also prevent endless hassles down the line, so it’s worth paying for a quality installation you can be proud of, with all the right foundations and stabilization to maximize longevity.

Re-doing a Driveway

Re-working an existing driveway can mean anything from resurfacing or widening/extending it to completely removing and replacing it. Obviously, the latter will be the most expensive option, but sometimes it will also be the only one.

Repairs Have Their Limits

Repairs can only go so far, and sometimes installing a new driveway will be the most cost-effective option. Aesthetics and practicality must both be considered when deciding on the best way forward for an existing driveway.

Driveway paving

Enhancing Your Space

It’s easy to dismiss driveways, especially in corporate areas, as more about function than form. However, maintaining smart, good-looking premises greatly influence how people look at your home or business.

It’s possible to find the right blend of function and practicality with aesthetics, and it starts by picking the right new driveway type and materials for your project. There’s plenty of driveway installations to choose from. Let’s take a closer look.

Asphalt Driveways

When we think of commercial driveway paving, most of us think of asphalt or “blacktop”. The two have become synonymous because asphalt is quick to install, requires far less design process, and the material is relatively cheap and abundant. Asphalt mixtures rich in liquid asphalt, rock, and sand are ideal for the San Francisco Bay Area climate.

Maintaining Asphalt Driveways

Whether residential or commercial, curb appeal is often a key factor in driveway installations. Asphalt is sometimes thought of as ‘ugly’ next to alternative driveway options. However, if it is properly installed, fine cracks can be handled before they become obvious, and if you regularly sealcoat the surface and keep up any painted features, it’s very possible to maintain a driveway you can be proud of.

Pros of Asphalt Driveways

Asphalt pavement is limited in look and color, but is a very traditional choice for areas with vehicular traffic. This is because you can do anything in your parking lot or driveway that you can see on the road.

Stop notices, yellow and red lines, striping, parking zones, ADA stencils, and special bays can all be easily added to your asphalt driveway in a way that’s completely accessible, even for someone who has never been on the property before.

You can also lay an asphalt driveway fairly quickly. People could be back in the area with vehicles in under a week, although it may take 6-12 months to fully cure. Nevertheless, it’s also surprisingly cheap to install.

Cons of Asphalt Driveways

Blacktop will not, however, last as long as other common commercial driveway types. Even when meticulously maintained and regularly seal-coated, you will likely realize a decade or two of service, rather than a lifespan double that (if well maintained) for a concrete or pavers-laid driveway.

Without meticulous maintenance, you may well also face issues with cracks and potholes. An asphalt driveway can also fade and begin to look tired or dirty more quickly than any other type.

Sealcoating asphalt for best results

Luckily, sealcoating to avoid surface and UV damage, and regular maintenance with fast patching can keep these issues at bay. Once you start noticing ‘block cracks’, or ‘alligator cracks’, however, it’s time for a new asphalt installation.

Estimated Cost of Asphalt

As one of the cheapest types of commercial driveway paving, asphalt works out at roughly $7-$13 per square foot.

A Concrete Driveway

Concrete Driveways offer an impressive balance of longevity, durability, and ease of installation. They have been thought of as industrial and boring to date, but since colored and stamped concrete options became available, they can be designed in a range of aesthetically pleasing designs.

Maintaining Concrete Driveways

As with asphalt, the secret to a smart concrete driveway is keeping it well maintained. While surface cracks can be patched, they won’t look pretty. And once the sublayer starts cracking, your driveway will be more likely to develop major problems.

Fortunately, basic maintenance for concrete driveways is fairly easy. Simply use a gentle detergent and water to keep debris and mud at bay. Every 2-3 years, you should use a sealer to help prevent water and UV damage and keep it looking crisp and clean.

Pros of Concrete Driveways

Concrete driveways have many pros. They are environmentally friendly (unlike asphalt driveways), easy to maintain, have few surface joints to create issues, and are highly customizable. Their durability is a major drawcard.

Cons of Concrete Driveways

Of course, nothing is perfect. While concrete driveways have an immense lifespan, once they begin to seriously crack they need replacing. There’s little you can do to salvage them. It’s also a heavy driveway type that may not be suitable for some soil types. It’s pretty pricey to install, although lack of upkeep costs can offset that.

Cost of Concrete Driveways

Expect to pay up to $20 per square foot for your concrete driveway.

A Paver Driveway

A paver driveway has fantastic curb appeal. While it’s not always the most practical choice for high-traffic commercial areas, it can be a great way to seamlessly blend from pedestrian spaces, and is a great residential choice too.

As with most site improvement projects, you need to consider overall design, laying patterns, space usage, and a lot more.

Paver Styles

With concrete pavers, you need to decide if impervious or permeable pavers are a better choice. Traditional concrete paver driveways are impervious, but for some commercial uses, especially, permeable paving stones can be wise.

This can help insure that no water pooling occurs. You can also consider traditional pavers, more contemporary shapes, or go for a stone-like look. However, a concrete base to support vehicular traffic is highly likely to be needed for more fragile paver types such as porcelain.


Laying Patterns and Color for Paver Driveways

For driveways, especially commercial ones, the best pavers are often laid with a traditional 45-degree herringbone pattern. The interlocking is strong and prevents shifting in high-traffic zones. You can also consider an ashlar pattern for a more contemporary look.

Herringbone and running bond patterns are strictly for residential use, although most homeowners want sturdier paving patterns too. Remember that permeable pavers need strong patterns, as they use larger joints that can shift more easily.

Paver Colors

Current trends are to match the paver driveway to the roof colors, but you can do whatever you like. As most pavers are cast concrete, you have all the concrete color options open to you. If you like borders, use a contrasting color, or allow your contractor to create a creative space for you.

Focal points can be created with smart pattern embellishments or creative use of different pavers. These are typically used at driveway entrances, entrance aprons at garages or workshops, or drop-off zones.

How Thick Must Pavers Be Laid On A Driveway?

Most paver installers will advise using 3-inch pavers with a 6-inch base for commercial applications. The best pavers may be able to be installed with less base, but it is site-dependent. It may need to be deeper on absorbent clay soils or in wet climates. Sometimes geofabric is added to help with shifting, too.

You can retrofit pavers over a cracked concrete slab driveway that has no foundation cracks or structural issues, but need to consider the established transition zones as the height will change.

Costs, Benefits, and Disadvantages of Pavers

Pavers can be an immensely rewarding project type, but have their disadvantages, too.

Advantages of Pavers

Despite being made of concrete, pavers are about four times as strong as a concrete slab driveway. Pavers are also great for areas where there may be pipes or similar items underground, as you can remove, relevel, and replace individual parts with no damage to the overall integrity.

You can’t do this with flagstone, solid concrete, or asphalt paving. Pavers can also be more easily repaired from earthquake disruption. A well-maintained paver driveway can last half a century, and paving has a dramatic and eye-catching look.

Disadvantages of Pavers

So why don’t we see more of them in commercial Bay Area projects? The answer is cost. Pavers look great, but the materials are more expensive and installation is more complex, so expect a concrete paver driveway to be more expensive for the same area vs. an asphalt driveway.

Paver driveways also are low maintenance regarding the driveway pavers themselves, but need to be regularly de-weeded and cleaned. Even though they typically cost more, they are definitely worth considering, especially for highly visible or customer-facing areas.

Costs of Pavers

Driveway pavers can start at $4-$6 per square foot for some kinds of permeable paving. However, the average price for pavers is $10-$30 per square foot (non-permeable). You might be able to negotiate based on the square footage or the number of driveways being installed.

A Gravel Driveway

Gravel driveways, as with other materials, are typically a poor choice for commercial applications, and can be annoying in residential spaces, too. Without considerable site preparation that could be better used for a more durable driveway type, they are often prone to problems.

A long-term and durable crushed stone driveway is possible to create, but it may not be right for commercial applications. They can also cause chips and damage to vehicles.

Gravel is generally inexpensive, starting at a cost estimate of $1 to $2 per square foot, but it’s better used on pedestrian walkways and other design features. That said, if you’re looking for a gravel driveway or walkways, we can help you find the best possible solution for your application.

Airtight Construction- The Complete Driveway Solution

Do you need help with your project, or are you looking for an estimate for the job? The Airtight Construction team offers no-commitment estimates from a reputable company that’s dedicated to bringing you a beautiful new driveway with a clean job site and great aesthetics, so why not get in touch today?