Driveways: the worse the condition, the more imposing they seem. You might not have one as long as the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace – but cracks and potholes may crop up over time and greet you after a long day at work. The solution: resurfacing.
I had mine resurfaced this summer, and it was far less of a disruption than I imagined. There was no unearthing of live cables or water pipes breaking and flooding the neighbours. In the end, the process was as smooth as my beautiful new driveway.
What do you need the driveway for?
Prior to starting-in on the project, it helps to determine what you want from your new driveway. Do you just want to smooth out the surface, or do you need more space as well?
I needed my driveway resurfaced and widened for two reasons: One because I was fed up with stepping into a rose bush every time I got out the car. The other was to gain room in order to push the buggy with our new arrival past the car. Oh, and there’s a third, more important reason: so I could manoeuvre my motorbike round the parked car to get in and out of the garage.
Few of us will need a surface as flat and smooth as a dance floor – yet there are many materials your driveway can be laid with. Each has its own pros and cons and expense – I think the whole job cost me around £2000. Depending on your circumstances, a loan could be a suitable way to pay for it.
• Small slabs – I chose slabs because I wanted a low cost, attractive, yet hard surface for the car and my motorbike to be driven on. It had to be forgiving, load-bearing and something I could sweep clean.
• Large slabs – these were previously laid in two rows to provide a track for the car. I guess they were laid back in the sixties but stood the test of time well for nearly a half a century.
• Gravel – this was previously laid between the large slabs, the cheapest option and good for drainage. Its benefit is that you can hide after hearing door-to-door salesmen approach the house. Its downfall is that the ‘crunching noise’ will betray your presence after returning home from a late night out…
• Tarmac – this is one of the more expensive options and provides a flat, level surface with decent weight-bearing properties. I didn’t go down this route because the surface clashed with our house, but it could be just what you’re looking for.
I commissioned a friend who is a landscape gardener to lay the drive, and I know he had fun doing it. He laid it over a (long forgotten) rare warm and sunny week in Scotland in May. The enjoyable part (for me at least) was clearing out the deep-rooted shrubs in the old border where the new slabs were to be laid. We huffed, puffed, dug out and transplanted some of the shrubs. The nest task was to man handle the hefty 1960s slabs.
Like a good friend, I left him to do the hard work which was getting the sub-base exactly level so he could lay the slabs. Watching a professional at work was intriguing: Pause, measure, pause…He eyed the job up with the scrutiny of a pool player taking a tricky shot. The slabs were intricately laid in brick pattern, although a V-formation would also have done the trick. After about five days’ hard graft, copious cups of tea, sweat and toil, my driveway was complete. The end result? Amazing.
This guest post was written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog. It aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include handy tips and tricks, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Any links to Sainsbury’s Bank product pages contained within this post are there to provide information, not to directly promote financial products. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.
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