What is the best kind of driveway for an old house?

concretenprimrosesApril 21, 2014

We have a hard pack driveway that gets ridges and muddy, and could be hard to snowblow if we ever get one of those. My husband has on occassion said we should get asphalt. I hate asphalt driveways for a variety of reasons. There is another thread where someone who used to work in a paving company said he would never get one.
I am happy with the slightly messy hardpack.
What do other people think? What is your driveway and how do you like it? I am in New Hampshire.

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Snow removal is a real issue for driveways made from any kind of loose material. A plow will push it up into the snow bank, a blower willl tend to deposit everywhere. Well compacted stone dust over excellent drainage does seem to hold up pretty well. Permeable pavers do, too. If there's a Gravel Doctor franchise near you, it would be worthwhile to see what they say.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 6:06AM
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Circus Peanut

We have stone dust on our drive here in Maine and it's a dreadful mud slop all spring long. Stone dust is cheap, but unless you have different very non-clayish soil, I can't recommend it based on our experience.

Does anyone have experience with concrete drives in these northern climes? We're used to that from the midwest, where it also gets cold and snowy, but it's apparently a rarity here in mid-coastal ME.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:27AM
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Circus Peanut

Oh! To answer the OP question: I presume that something like gorgeous recycled granite road pavers would be appropriate for an old house in our area. The price is prohibitive, but man, are they lovely driveways!

We're considering something like a part-granite-paver ribbon drive with sage or other crushable in between the tracks. Much depends on the length and proposed use of the driveway. If you do a lot of projects on it, you may be best going with concrete or asphalt. But for looks, I'd say pavers of some type might be best.

We did see a perfectly palatable stamped concrete driveway the other day that started to change our minds about that method, which we'd been pooh-poohing as cheap. It looked quite sharp and more appropriate to an old house than a plain flat surface.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:32AM
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    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:53AM
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Our old house has a gravel driveway with a strip of grass. We replace the gravel every other year with white limestone and it is beautiful. I think concrete or asphalt would ruin the look. But yes it is a nightmare with a snow blower. We have a snow blower and don't even use it because gravel gets caught in it. Instead we drive over the snow with our 4wd Jeep multiple times and pack the snow down. lol

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Wow thank you kompy, much beauty there. I'll have to show my husband. Our house isn't fancy so the hardpack look suits it in some ways. I like the idea of doing some concrete. Louislinus there is no way that we could just pack the snow down. Too deep!
Lots of great ideas.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Short of just packing the snow down as louislinus suggested - because in MN this year you would have ended up with at least a foot high step down into the garage - with a loose surface is it possible to plow or blow to within 2" or so of the surface, avoiding the gravel (etc) all together? Then you'd end up with a less deep snow surface to drive on.

Here is a link that might be useful: I wonder how adaptable this is to an old house because if it works it seems like the smartest thing I've ever heard of.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:20PM
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Concrete is the best and most practical. Pavers look nice, however I've also seen them shift in spots and require maintenance much sooner than a concrete drive way.

Some homes in my neighborhood had the concrete tire tracks with the grass strip in the middle. That was done because it's cheaper than a full concrete driveway. It looks nice and all until a) you have to shovel snow off the grass part (certainly can't use a snow blower); b) someone with an oil leak parks on the drive way - dead grass spot.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Wow Love those solar panel parking lots! I will show that to my dh for sure. And yes people do snow blow their hard pack driveways, they just set the snow blower high. We could even shovel after that. I'm just getting a bit too old to shovel 2 feet of show. We have grass on our hard pack and its not really a problem to shovel.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:29PM
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