Cement driveways are an effective, if common, alternative to asphalt and concrete. Many people use the terms “cement” and “concrete” interchangeably, as if they are the same thing, when, in fact, they are not. Concrete is a compound mixture of cement, sand and gravel; cement, therefore, is an ingredient of concrete, which acts as a binding agent between the sand and gravel. Cement is made up of limestone, calcium, silicon, aluminum and iron, with trace ingredients present in different mixtures.
The use of cement as a building and paving material dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, and is still incredibly prevalent today, testifying to its enduring usefulness in construction of all kinds. The most comment type of cement is Portland cement, so called because of its similar appearance to Portland stone. Cements are divided into two categories: hydraulic and non-hydraulic. Non-hydraulic cements must be kept dry to retain their strength, whereas hydraulic cements harden because of hydration, making them effective in inclement weather or even underwater!
Cement driveways, like concrete, are effective in all weather conditions, but are subjected to possible cracking and fissuring over the course of many freeze-thaw cycles. As a result, they should be well maintained: cracks must be sealed as they appear, and dirt and debris should be swept off on a regular basis. Although snow removal on cement driveways is extremely easy, they are not perfect winter driveways: salt, often used in colder climates to help remove ice, can be very damaging to cement surfaces.
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