As a welcoming feature to your property, a brick driveway is an elegant feature unparalleled for sheer elegance. The deep, rich color, the varied patterns, identifies a homeowner who takes pride in his or her homestead.
If you are willing to make the investment, the cost of a brick driveway will add value to the property that lasts much longer than the initial curb appeal. When installed properly, maintenance costs are low, and the installation should last a lifetime.
The cost of installing a driveway with brick is generally one of the more expensive methods of constructing your drive, as compared with concrete or asphalt. Individual bricks can cost between $.50 and $3.00 a piece, without including the cost of installation or subsurface materials. With a little education and training, the homeowner can learn to lay the bricks themselves.
Types of Brick Pavers
There are generally two types of bricks used for driveways, interlocking pavers, and the older used paving bricks. Bricks used for siding facades are rarely strong enough to support the weight of vehicles that will travel on it.
Interlocking pavers are made out of concrete, are easy enough to purchase from a building supply store, and many driveway contractors are skilled in their installation. Interlocking paver bricks contain offsetting grooves to allow the bricks to “lock” flush against each other. As the driveway is completed, the bricks will press against each other, keeping them in proper position.
Used paving bricks are those recycled from old sidewalks and roads. Some may be 100 years old or more. They come in various sizes and are usually between 4 and 8 inches in thickness. They can be placed flush against each other like interlocking pavers, or may be set in concrete with mortar filled joints.
Either interlocking paving bricks or used paving bricks will require a subsurface base. Merely placing them on the ground will cause them to shift, depress into the ground and create an uneven driveway surface.
A concrete bed of several inches in thickness is probably the strongest subsurface, but also the most expensive. It is basically building a concrete driveway and adding a top layer of brick. However, it should last a lifetime.
Stone dust has become a popular method for installing a brick driveway subsurface. A layer of super fine, powdery, stoned is laid several inches thick, usually over a base course of gravel, and compacted hard with a special tamping machine. The brick is then laid on top of the stone dust surface. It provides a hard bedding surface, but does not drain as well as other materials.
Sand and gravel may also be used, both provide good drainage properties, but must be tamped hard. If using sand, you also take the risk that it will shift eventually, causing an uneven driveway.
With a wide array of colors and patterns, the aesthetics of a brick driveway is incomparable, as is its durability. The cost of materials will surpass nearly any other type of driveway, however. If cost prohibitive, rather than installing a complete driveway, you may consider a 1 or two foot brick border around your driveway, to add a touch of class.
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