Over time, driveways are liable to wear, tear, cracks, stains, and other damages, regardless of the material they’re made from. If this describes the look and function of your driveway and you’re looking to improve it, two main options are available: resurfacing or replacement. But how do you know when it’s fitting to repair or replace your driveway?
Both options have pros and cons, and the best choice depends on several factors, such as the condition of your driveway, budget, and personal preferences.
In this article, we’ll compare driveway resurfacing and replacement. We’ll explain what they are, how they work, and what factors to consider before making a decision.
What Is Resurfacing?
Resurfacing is the contractor’s trick to make your old driveway look brand new. It involves adding a fresh layer of tarmac, concrete, or pavers atop the existing surface, masking its age and blemishes without demolition.
What Is Replacement?
If resurfacing were nip and tuck surgery, replacement is a complete facelift procedure. It involves removing your old driveway and installing a new one from scratch. The new driveway may be made from the same material as the old one, but you can also change the material to give your curb a new look and feel.
Benefits Of Resurfacing
- It Is Cheaper: Depending on your old driveway’s material and condition, your local tarmac driveway installer may charge you anywhere from £1 to £5 per square foot for a resurfacing project. When you compare that amount to replacement fees, which can rise to £3 to £15 per square foot, resurfacing is the less expensive option.
- Time Savings: Working under similar conditions, it can take a few hours to a few days to finish a resurfacing job. On the other hand, replacement can take several days to several weeks to complete.
- Less Disruption: For a resurfacing job, you do not need to dig up and haul away tons of concrete or tarmac from your old driveway. Furthermore, the procedure does not affect the landscaping, drainage, surrounding plants, or structures around your driveway.
Drawbacks Of Resurfacing
- Lingering Structural Problems: Resurfacing your driveway covers up surface damages, but it does not address any underlying issues, such as poor foundation, soil erosion, or water damage. If your driveway has these problems, resurfacing may last only a short time, or even worse, it may further damage the terrain.
- Limited Design Options: The nature of resurfacing means your choices of colors, textures, and patterns for your driveway are limited. This is because you have to work with what you have or choose a material that blends well with the old one. You may need more than resurfacing if you want a completely different look for your driveway.
Benefits Of Replacement
- Fixes Structural Problems: Replacing your driveway addresses any underlying issues that affect its performance and durability. With this procedure, you can install a proper base and drainage system for your driveway and choose a material that suits your climate and soil conditions.
- Better Design Options: With driveway replacement, you can choose any material, colour, or pattern to create a custom design that matches your home’s style and personality.
Drawbacks Of Replacement
- Higher Cost: Replacing a driveway demands more labour, materials, and equipment than resurfacing. You’ll have to pay for demolition, disposal, excavation, installation, and finishing costs.
- Time-Consuming: Driveway replacement is a more involved process than resurfacing. Besides going through more steps and stages to get the work done, you might also have to deal with weather conditions, curing times, and bureaucratic bottlenecks such as permits and council inspections.
- It is more invasive: Tearing up and removing your old driveway can cause damage to your lawn, sidewalk, or fence.
Resurface or Replace: Factors to Consider
Unfortunately, there is yet to be a definitive answer to whether you should resurface or replace your driveway. If you’re having a hard time settling on one, consider the following factors:
- Your Driveway’s Age and Condition: Is your driveway relatively new with only minor damages, such as cracks or stains? Then, resurfacing may be enough to restore its beauty and function. However, replacement may be necessary to ensure its safety and longevity if your curb is old and has major damages, such as large cracks, potholes, or heaving.
- Your Project Budget and Timeline: If you have a limited budget and time frame for your project, resurfacing may be more affordable and convenient for you. Nonetheless, if you have the budget and time to spare, replacement may be worth the investment and effort.
- Your Style and Preference: Are you satisfied with the overall look of your driveway? If so, resurfacing may be sufficient to maintain its appeal. However, if you’d like to change the feel of your driveway, replacement is the way to go.
Resurface or replace? Each option has its pros and cons, depending on the age and condition of your driveway, the budget and timeline of your project, and the style and preference of your home. To make the right choice for your driveway, consult a professional contractor who can assess your situation and offer you the best solution.