A replaced concrete driveway.

Concrete Driveways

Everything To Know About Concrete Driveways
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The Pros And Cons Of Concrete Driveways

Thoughts to ponder when considering a concrete driveway.

  • What are the benefits of concrete driveways versus interlocking/concrete pavers versus asphalt driveways?
  • Which driveway surface has the longest lifespan?
  • Which driveway surface is best when choosing between concrete, asphalt or interlocking/concrete pavers?
  • What type of ongoing maintenance do concrete driveways require compared to paver driveways or an asphalt driveways?
Concrete driveway with red borders.

Considering A New Concrete Driveway?

Are Concrete Driveways The Best Choice For A Driveway?

Concrete driveways are often referred to as cement driveways. Regardless of the reference, they're both the same.
A Gray stamped concrete driveway.

How common are concrete driveways?

Concrete driveways are the most common driveway and can be found all over the country.

However, the further south we travel in the United States, the amount of concrete driveways becomes even more common.

The further north we travel, the amount of concrete driveways decreases and asphalt driveways become more prominent.

This is due to the limited or no amount of freeze and thaw cycles that occur in warmer regions.

Concrete is the predominate driveway for most city codes, HOA's and covenant controlled communities. 

Snow and ice on a shoveled concrete driveway.

How well do concrete driveways hold up in cold, snowy regions?

Unfortunately, concrete is not pliable like asphalt, therefore, freeze and thaw cycles can crack and damage concrete fairly substantially over time, particularly if it’s not maintained properly.

These freeze and thaw cycles do the most damage to concrete. This happens because as snow and ice begins to melt, that water then seeps into cracks and underneath the concrete. The water then refreezes overnight and as we all know, ice can expand and break even the strongest of materials. The concrete then heaves, cracks and moves resulting in irreparable damage. 

Concrete is also prone to spalling from the use of salt and magnesium chloride de-icers.

These de-icing materials are also used by local governments for winter road maintenance.

As a vehicle drives on the roads, ice and snow builds up on the undercarriage. Then when the vehicle pulls into the driveway or garage and it falls from the car and melts, it then damages the concrete surface resulting in spalling, especially if the concrete was not installed properly.

How well do concrete driveways hold up in hot regions?

Concrete driveways hold up very well in warmer and hot regions. 

There are of course, some things to consider. 

Depending on the soil where you live, making sure that the soil/subgrade around and beneath the concrete doesn't dry too much can be very important. 

Some professionals even going as far as recommending adding soaker hoses 18" along the border of your concrete driveway to protect the concrete. Keeping the soil moist may be needed as the contraction of the soil can cause concrete driveways to crack and move. 

A local concrete contractor, home inspector, city inspector or engineer will know if this is a concern in your area. 

To be certain, hiring a local soils engineer is always the best bet. 

Concrete driveway with a gray border.
Pouring a new concrete driveway.

How long does it take to install a new concrete driveway?

Sub-grade preparation can take anywhere from 1-2 days and up to 2 weeks, depending on the region you live.

Based on the size and scope of work involved, the construction of a new concrete driveway can be installed by an experienced concrete contractor generally over a 2-3 day period after the sub-grade preparation has been done.

Concrete driveway installation can be labor intensive and it also needs to cure for several days before being able to drive on it and use it, so you can expect the average concrete driveway to take as much as 7-10 days to install and use.

Even more time may be required for areas where the soil needs to settle before installing the concrete and even more time for patterned or stamped, stained or overlays.

Concrete Driveways Compared To Other Driveway Types

Of the four types of driveways, concrete driveways rank at #2 when comparing the cost of installation and at #3 when comparing the ongoing maintenance of a driveway.

Cost Analysis Comparison

  • Paver Driveways - #1 - Most Expensive To Install
  • Concrete Driveways - #2
  • Asphalt Driveways - #3
  • Gravel Driveways - #4 - Least Expensive To Install

Concrete driveways can be the 2nd least expensive option when compared to the cost of other types of driveways.

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Gravel Driveways - #1 - Most Most Ongoing Maintenance
  • Asphalt Driveways - #2
  • Concrete Driveways - #3
  • Paver Driveways - #4 - Least Ongoing Maintenance

Concrete driveways require the 2nd least frequent amount of ongoing maintenance when compared to other driveways.

Life Expectancy Of Concrete Driveways

Properly installed concrete driveways along with regularly scheduled maintenance can last up to 25, 30 or even 35 years!

This variation in age can be determined by the stability of the sub-grade, the quality of the installation, the type and frequency of maintenance, the drainage plan and the climate of the region you’re located in.

Types of ongoing maintenance you can expect to perform on concrete driveways?

  • Sealing Cracks

    A crack in the middle of a concrete driveway.
  • Sealing

    Men sealing an overlayed concrete driveway.
  • Cleaning Oil Spots

    Oil spots on a concrete driveway.
  • Weed Control

    Weeds growing in the joint of the concrete.
  • Edging

    Edging the grass next to a concrete driveway.

New concrete should NOT be sealed until they are at minimum 3 to 4 weeks old. Concrete should then be sealed every 3 to 5 years thereafter to slow down the deterioration process.

If you live in a snowy region and de-icers are regularly used in your area, standard gray concrete and stamped/colored concrete should then be sealed every 1 to 2 years to protect from salt and magnesium chloride. However, only a quality commercial grade concrete sealer is recommended and applied either by yourself or a reputable concrete sealing contractor.

When cracks develop, they should be sealed as soon as possible. Ultimately cracks should be sealed every year or as needed. Sealing the cracks will help to prevent further damage and failures like alligatoring and potholes.

Also, take into consideration the effect on concrete driveways if they're not maintained properly or how they can look as they age.

Spalling & flaking concrete driveway.
An aging concrete driveway.

As you can see, not maintaining a concrete driveway leads to additional cracking, weeds growing in the cracks and spalling.

Unfortunately, concrete by nature cracks. As it's been said, it's not IF concrete will crack, it's when and where?

However, heavy cracking soon after installation could be a sign of a poor job.

If you already own a concrete driveway and it’s beginning to show the signs of aging and exceptional deterioration, or has a tremendous amount of patching and repairs and looks patchy, blotchy and uninviting… removing and replacing it may be in order.

This absolutely should be performed by a reputable concrete company that will do it right the first time by performing soil tests and/or determining if the sub-grade is suitable to re-install the concrete on the existing soil. 

If not, the soil should be excavated and new base or structural material installed for a solid, long lasting driveway.

All driveways age and deteriorate and become a use and safety hazard. 

The goal with any driveway should be to maximize the life expectancy as much as possible before having to completely remove and replace it. 

This requires a solid plan with frequent maintenance of every 2 to 3 years.

Choosing The Right Driveway For Your Home

When choosing between a concrete driveway and the other three types of driveways, consider these questions:


Are Concrete Driveways Compliant with your HOA OR Municipality?

Be sure and check with your HOA (if you live in an HOA or covenant controlled community) or your local government municipality to make sure a concrete driveway is acceptable in the area you live. Since concrete driveways are the most common of driveways, chances are, it's what is required.


Will A Concrete Driveway Look Good In The Neighborhood You Live In?

Will a concrete driveway look good in front of your home? Maybe a different type of driveway will look better. Have you explored your options?

A neighborhood of concrete driveways from above.
Snow on a concrete driveway.


What is the climate like in your region of the country? Is it cold and snowy? Rainy and wet? Hot and dry? Be sure and select a driveway type that make sense for your region. Concrete driveways are not a preferred driveway in extremely cold and climates. Concrete driveways are very durable and an excellent choice in warmer and hot climates. 



If you want your driveway to last a lifetime, regular maintenance plays an important role in how long concrete driveways last. But if you're looking for little to no maintenance, paver driveways are the absolute best option. 



How much and what kind of traffic do you expect to use your driveway? Normal, everyday passenger vehicle use or heavy vehicle use? Select a driveway that make sense. Any type of driveway must be designed and built properly for heavy vehicles like trash trucks, propane deliveries and septic cleanouts. 



Select a driveway that fits into your budget short term and long term. Would a maintenance free driveway like pavers make better sense? Or do the upfront costs need to be lower? Asphalt driveways are an economical option compared to the other hard surface choices, but require much more ongoing maintenance.  

A heavy moving van on a concrete driveway.

Summary Of Concrete Driveways

Concrete driveways can be beautiful addition to your home. The wide variety of different colors and patterns to choose from can give your home a unique, one of a kind look. Stamped concrete, patterned concrete, colored concrete, concrete overlays, concrete staining and dyes. See some different Colorful Design Ideas For Concrete Driveways. When it comes to durability, keep in mind the amount of traffic and the type of traffic your driveway will endure. If your driveway will have to endure exceptionally heavy vehicles, an above average amount of heavier vehicle traffic, or an above average amount of water runoff, concrete may be the answer and long term solution. If you’re considering having a new concrete driveway installed, an existing one overlayed, one completely removed and replaced, or you simply need questions answered about ongoing maintenance of a concrete driveway, get your questions answered by checking out our Concrete Driveway FAQ’s.
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