We’ve all watched those home relocation programs on TV where the realtors constantly state how important it is that the exterior of your property be attractive if you want to increase its value. The driveway forms a big part of that exterior, so making sure it’s in good condition and is visually attractive is very important. There are now several types of driveways that you can have laid outside your property, but an interlocking driveway is undoubtedly the favoured option nowadays. M.E Contracting has laid dozens right across the Toronto area, in addition to completing a lot of other landscaping design projects. If you’ve decided to have your driveway re-done, but are not entirely sure which option you are going to choose, this article might help you decide as we’re going to share a number of interesting facts about interlocking driveways.
Fun Facts to Be Aware of Before Investing in an Interlocking Driveway
Too many people rush into decisions about home and landscaping improvements, failing to thoroughly research each option, which can sometimes lead to regret and problems further down the line. We pride ourselves on our commitment to educating our clients and below you’ll find a number of facts about interlocking driveways that you should be aware of before you consider buying one.
- What Are They Made From? – Are you aware of what an interlocking driveway consists of? While the pavers used in an interlocking driveway may sometimes also be referred to as simply “cement pavers” that’s not all that they are made from. They are a mix of sand, aggregate, cement and water. Oftentimes they will also contain pigmentation and this mixture delivers a very durable end result that is suitable for a wide variety of applications, including driveways, pathways and patio areas.
- What About the Sand Base? – But the pavers that are used in an interlocking driveway don’t tell the whole story; there’s also the bed of sand that they are laid upon. It’s vital that this base is properly prepared, otherwise it can affect the structure and performance of the interlocking driveway placed on top of it. The sand is applied to the area in several layers, and after each layer is set down, it is then compressed using a special type of machine. If this is not laid absolutely level, the pavers laid on top of it will eventually move and “settle,” which increases the chances of them becoming damaged and shortens their lifespan.
- Strength Increases Over Time – You have probably already read that an interlocking driveway is one of the strongest paving solutions out there with a psi rating of 8000 (brick is the nearest material to it in terms of psi rating). As the pavers are further compacted when the driveway is used, this structural capacity only increases as the driveway ages, and due to the way the pavers are laid (no mortar used), it’s very easy to repair the driveway should it get damaged.
- The Sand is the Key Component – The term “interlocking pavers” makes it seem that it’s actually the pavers that slot together, but in reality it’s the sand that does most of the work (another reason why the sand base must be laid down properly). It’s not regular sand either, it’s known as either joint or polymeric sand and it creates the friction necessary for these pavers to “lock” together. The edge restraints that you see included in the design of an interlocking driveway also contribute to this.
- Cracking Not an Issue – Thinking of having a concrete or asphalt driveway laid? Well don’t! An interlocking driveway offers several advantages over both of these options. While concrete might be among the cheaper paving materials (it is cheaper than an interlocking driveway), there’s a definite trade-off as it is prone to cracking and is difficult to repair affordably. Asphalt shares this “weakness” with concrete, but it’s not something you’ll ever have to worry about should you opt to have an interlocking driveway laid down. This is because, unlike with other options, there are joints in between the concrete pavers, which are a lot more forgiving when the surface expands and contracts due to temperature fluctuations.
- An Interlocking Driveway is Permeable – Many people often reply to this statement with “oh…and is that a good thing?” We can assure you it is! With non-permeable surfaces, whereby the rainwater cannot soak into them, it simply runs over the top, which will, over time, lead to erosion of the paving material. Not to mention that it can put a lot of pressure on public sewage systems during a storm and increases the risk of basement flooding. With an interlocking driveway however, if it’s laid with this function in mind (it requires a layer of crushed stone in the base) a large proportion of the rainwater simply soaks into the ground. Problem solved!
- Safety First – This might not be your primary concern when selecting a new driveway but we can assure you that it’s a big advantage, especially during the rainy season and winter when ice is ever present. An interlocking driveway is considered about as slip resistant as you can get, preventing you from taking a tumble and hurting yourself. This makes it a great choice if you have you children or elderly relatives that regularly visit your property.
Our number one piece of advice to you would be to do your due diligence before deciding which way to go. Being aware of all of the facts is important if you’re going to make a decision that you will be happy with. If you are interested in an interlocking driveway or integrating interlocking pavers into your landscaping design, why not get in touch with our team. We will gladly provide you with more advice and offer free consultations to help you decide what’s best for your property. We can be reached on 416-238-6700.