Stone Driveways: a Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Solution for Asheville
Stone driveways are meant to last decades, add beauty to your home, and to remain low maintenance throughout their lifespan. And when you have the right stone driveway contractor, all those things will happen. A stone driveway installed correctly will look great for better than 30 years with little effort beyond an occasional cleaning. Daily debris that is blown around in the wind, oil or other stains from cars, and sap or resins from nearby trees are likely the only issues you’ll have to deal with on your stone driveway.
Still, a natural stone driveway requires far less maintenance than other types of driveway materials.
Maintenance for Asphalt, Cement, and Natural Stone Driveways
Driveways can be constructed of various materials. The three most common materials that are used are cement, asphalt, and stone. With each there are benefits and drawbacks, but when it comes to ongoing maintenance, you’ll discover that stone driveways require far less than the others.
Asphalt driveways are relatively high maintenance – especially in climates that have extreme temperatures, either high or low. Once an asphalt driveway is installed, it’s recommended that it be sealed within the first year. After that, it’s recommended that it is resealed every three to five years. These reseals can cost upwards of $500, depending on the length of your driveway.
Additionally, asphalt driveways may need periodic patching, depending on the weather in your area and the quality of the substrate used. In areas that have milder weather conditions, an asphalt driveway may last 15 years when it is properly maintained. In harsher climates, the life span is much shorter.
The second type of driveway to look at is cement. While this type of driveway is similar to asphalt driveways, cement does tend to be more durable and it requires less maintenance than asphalt. It is recommended that cement driveways be sealed after the initial installation, but it shouldn’t have to be resealed regularly like asphalt.
Unfortunately, cement driveways with heavy usage can be prone to cracking and breaking. If this happens, repairing it can be a very involved process that requires a professional to be done properly. Cement driveways typically have a lifespan that is 50 to 100 percent longer than asphalt.
Natural Stone Driveways
Unlike the previous two materials, natural stone is ideal for driveways and it requires far less maintenance. It’s reasonable to expect that ongoing maintenance for a stone driveway won’t require more than a broom and water hose to maintain. Stone is durable and not likely to crack or break, so there should be little call for repairs.
A natural stone driveway can last more than 30 years with just minimal effort through the decades.
How Do You Clean Stone Driveways?
Cleaning your stone driveway is fairly simple when you keep one thing in mind: start with the gentlest cleaning techniques, and then move on to other methods only when necessary. In most cases, you can remove dirt and debris by sweeping or hosing off the driveway.
When there are stains you need to remove, like oil or grease from a car, start by using a brush and a gentle, liquid dish soap. That will break up the grease or oil on the stone. Typically, nothing more will be required, but if you find that you have a particularly tough stain, you can try using a solution of ammonia and water (1/2 cup of ammonia to one gallon of water). Be sure that you rinse the stone thoroughly between each cleaning attempt.
Can You Use a Snowblower or Salt on a Stone Driveway?
In areas where there is an abundance of snow, you may be wondering how to care for your stone driveway, keeping them safe and free of slippery ice. Using a snow shovel or snowblower is fine for stone driveways. You should use a shovel that is plastic rather than metal, so it won’t scratch the stone. Also, if your snowblower has any metal that may come into contact with the stone, consider covering it with plastic or stone to keep it from damaging your stone.
Many homeowners who live in snowy areas use common rock salt (sodium chloride) to de-ice walkways and driveways. That may not be a good idea for a natural stone driveway. There are some types of stone that will corrode when rock salt is used. If you’re unsure, you can check with the contractor who installs your driveway. But don’t worry, even if it’s not recommended to use rock salt, there are alternative de-icing products that can be used.
Ambrose Landscapes – Stone Driveway Maintenance Experts
When we install a new stone driveway, we will make sure that you know everything there is to know about maintaining it. We want your stone driveway to be beautiful and useful for many years to come. If you are thinking about having your driveway upgraded to stone, contact one of our stonework experts for help with the design and installation. Ambrose Landscapes provides services all over Western North Carolina.