The Best Materials for a Driveway: Your Options Explained and Ranked

One of the most used areas of your property, the driveway is also the first thing visitors, and even passers-by, notice so it has to be installed with both visual appeal and durability in mind. The material you choose will play the pivotal role in how your driveway looks and functions. There are several factors to consider when deciding on the best option for your driveway. We’ll take a look at how the most popular driveway materials perform in terms of installation and maintenance cost, as well as durability and aesthetics.


Installation cost is often the most important factor when choosing a driveway material. Ranked from least expensive to most high-end, the most popular driveway materials would look like this:

  1. Gravel. This is your most budget-friendly option but keep in mind that, as straightforward as it may seem, proper gravel driveway installation involves a lot more than just throwing some crushed rock on top of your soil.
  2. Asphalt. The material itself is a rather low-end purchase and the installation process is fairly quick - you can use you asphalt driveway on the same day that you’ve had it installed.
  3. Concrete is another cost-effective option but unlike asphalt, the installation process may take up to a week.
  4. Paver stones or bricks provide a steady foundation but they are the most expensive option, both in material and in installation costs, as each paver stone needs to be laid individually.


Apart from upkeep on a daily basis, you also need to consider expected lifespan of each material. At one point, sooner or later, they will all need to be replaced. The important thing to consider here is how far in time this will happen.

Pavers require the most expensive installation but they pay off in the long run with the least amount of maintenance, as paver stones can be replaced individually without affecting other sections of the driveway. A paved driveway can serve you for a good 20 years and, with the proper weed control, the lawn is unlikely to creep onto the driveway.

Concrete may serve you up to 30 years following a professional installation. What you need to consider for concrete is the fact that it does crack in extreme weather and is prone to staining and discolouration from oils and chemicals.

Asphalt requires more upkeep mainly because it needs to be resealed every few years to maintain its look. Also, its lifespan is relatively short - sometimes less than a decade, as the surface can become uneven over time.

Gravel driveways are the cheapest to install but the hardest to maintain. They require not only regular weeding but annual filling in of ruts and depressions, which are the result of stones displacing.

Visual Appeal

The aesthetic aspect is a strictly individual concept but in general, a paver driveway is considered to be the option which most enhances kerb appeal. An alternative is the stamped concrete which is designed to mimic the look of bricks or pavers in a solid, dyed concrete slab, so you get the touch of elegance of pavers at the affordable price of concrete. Gravel driveways are not usually considered the best-looking option but well-maintained gravel driveways blend perfectly with traditional properties, giving off a rustic feel.

The Alternative

Originally pioneered in the US, resin bound aggregates came to the UK market about 25 years ago. These are naturally coloured and dust-free aggregates bonded onto a resin coat. The material can be laid over new or existing concrete or tarmac, creating the effect of gravel but without the inconvenience of loose gravel stones. Resin bound surfaces are made from natural stones in a variety of colours and textures. These surfaces are perfectly smooth, slip-resistant and wheelchair-friendly. They have a long lifespan, easy installation processs - usually within a single day, and require little to no maintenance. This is also a UV stable material which does not stain from oil or fuel spillages. In terms of aesthetics, it allows for versatile colours and patterns, bespoke designs, and even logos. The surface is highly permeable - which means no water ponding, and can be used not only for driveways but also in splashback areas around swimming pools.

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One Comment

  1. Levi Armstrong

    My parents are asking for my help on what type of material they should use in making their driveway without breaking their bank. I like that you said having a stamped concert is a cost-effective way to look like you have a paved driveway at an affordable price. I’ll share this information with them, so they can contact a decorative concrete service that can install a stamped concrete at the front of their house. Thanks a lot!

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