Unfortunately, there is very little perfectly level land and with the number of properties being built in the UK every year (around 30,000), developers are having to build where they can. However, this often means that houses are built on hills and that means having a sloped driveway.
Personally, I love the look of a sloped drive; it has a certain elegance to it. But while it might look great, these driveways can be fraught with problems, especially if they’re not correctly surfaced.
If you’ve got a sloping driveway and want to make the most of it, I’d recommend giving some serious thought to the surface you choose. In this guide, I’ll be providing you with the relevant information to help you make the most practical choice.
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Why Do You Need To Choose The Right Surface For A Sloped Driveway?
Any driveway should have a slight slope to it. This is to ensure good drainage but most driveways almost appear level, the slope is that small. But there are some driveways, where properties are built on steep hills, that have a serious angle to them and this is when choosing the right surface really can make a difference. But why?
One of the main reasons that any driveway has a small incline is to ensure good drainage. Without this, water could pool on the driveway causing eventual damage.
You might think that a steeper slope means better drainage and that’s true to a certain extent. The water will run off the driveway which is exactly what you want. However, where does it go? It will collect at the bottom of the drive and if the surface material is not permeable, this can create a whole host of problems.
Reversing Your Vehicle
If you’re anything like me, you’ll hate reversing at the best of times. But if you find it challenging on the flat then reversing on an incline will be the stuff of nightmares.
In bad conditions such as ice and snow in the winter, this can become even more difficult. Not to mention potentially dangerous. The stress on your vehicle’s brakes can be enormous and as we all know, more wear and tear equals more maintenance and that costs money!
Furthermore, having a sloped driveway means that manoeuvrability is drastically reduced. But having the right surface should help with this to a degree.
Walking On The Drive
Your vehicle may have issues using the driveway but even when you’re on foot, you may notice some problems. Again, wintry conditions can make the situation worse and there’s a risk of slipping because of less traction. But certain surfaces will provide more grip than others.
Selling Your Property
Earlier, I talked about how I think that a sloped driveway looks great. I’m sure a lot of people agree, especially a large sloped driveway that creates something of a grand entrance to the property.
However, when it comes to reselling your home, people aren’t going to make an offer based purely on aesthetics. They’re going to want something that’s safe, practical and easy to use. A steep drive isn’t going to meet their needs.
But making your driveway look nicer with an attractive surface certainly can help to persuade buyers.
Options For A Sloped Driveway – The Best And Worst Choices
There are lots of options when it comes to driveway surfaces. The world is pretty much your oyster but that’s really only if you have a level drive. When you’re stuck with an incline, you need to be more savvy about the choices you make. Here are some common driveway surface options and their pros and cons.
A lot of people choose concrete for a flat surface and in these cases, it does a great job because it is stable and durable. However, concrete does expand and contract when freezing and thawing so this makes it unsuitable for a sloped driveway.
What’s more, concrete lacks safety where traction is concerned. In the winter, when the drive may be slippery or wet, it’s really going to lose grip so it’s not a surface I’d ever recommend for slopes.
One of the reasons that gravel is so popular in the driveway world is that it comes in such a wide range of colours, textures and styles. You can really make your driveway unique to you and on a level surface, it’s a brilliant option.
However, you have to think about the physics. Gravel driveways are made by covering the base with loose aggregates. When you put this on a slope, the gravel is naturally going to slide down and there aren’t any techniques you can use to stop this.
Just imagine how unsafe this would be when walking or driving your car on the surface. Simply put, it’s not worth the risk.
Tarmac, or if you live in the States, asphalt concrete is a common driveway material. However, you have to consider that this type of material requires a lot of maintenance. The surface needs to be regularly resealed and if there are any spillages, they’ll really show up and ruin the appearance of your driveway.
In recent years, resin has become one of the most popular driveway surface choices and there are several reasons for this. Resin takes many of the advantages from other materials but doesn’t have anywhere near as many downsides.
Where steep slopes are concerned, it’s imperative to have something permeable and resin is exactly that. Water will drain through to the ground so you won’t end up with puddles at the bottom of your driveway.
For driveways, the material must be SUDS compliant meaning that the surface must be permeable and meet certain standards. Again, resin excels here so it’s perfect as an all round driveway material, not just for inclines.
There are some companies that create non-slip resin surfaces which are ideal for a steep slope to improve traction for both cars and pedestrians. Plus, this is a material that’ll really stand the test of time so you won’t need to worry about replacing the surface for many years. In fact, when properly cared for, resin could last as long as a quarter of a century!
Concrete also lasts around the same length of time but resin has one up on this traditional material in that it comes in such a wide range of styles and colours. Just like with gravel, you can make a statement with your property and put your own stamp on it without the risk of shifting.
If you have a sloped driveway, you’re probably familiar with the problems that these can cause; drainage issues, lower traction and difficulty reversing your car. But choosing the right driveway surface for a sloped drive can make a massive difference.
While there are several options to choose from, resin is one of the best as it offers stability, durability, non-slip and comes in a very wide range of colours and styles.