First impressions are all-important when it comes to property sales so keeping your driveways and pavements up to scratch may well differentiate you from the competition when selling.
If you don’t have a driveway but you do have the space for one it may be worthwhile installing one, particularly in a suburban area where parking is at a premium.
With regard to pavements, most of us can rely on the council to maintain them but they sometimes need a bit of a face-lift. If you are trying to sell a property and the pavement has cracked paving stones, or other damage, it’s worth alerting the council to the fact.
They are obliged to repair damage that may be dangerous to pedestrians and although they may not make repairs in time, you have nothing to lose by making them aware of the situation.
Equally if you have a front garden wall bordering the pavement, or perhaps one of the walls of your house, it’s worth keeping any pavement weeds at bay.
Although not strictly your responsibility, it won’t take long but will greatly help that first impression.
Maintaining a drive is usually about weed control too, although all surfaces will eventually deteriorate. If you have a concrete drive that is cracking and has subsided then the best option might be to dig it all up and start again. At least you will be able to use all the old drive as hardcore for the new one.
New Drive Options
If you want to put in a new driveway there are many surfaces to choose from; concrete, tarmac, gravel and block paving are among the most popular.
Concrete is relatively simple to do yourself but looks very utilitarian unless it’s pigmented and overlaid with a mould to give the impression of another surface, such as stone or cobbles.
Professional firms will be able to do this for you and will probably deliver a better finish than a DIY job, especially if it’s not something that you’ve done before.
Tarmac is probably the best option for a long driveway as it can be patched when deterioration sets in.
It pretty much has to be a specialist job rather than DIY as cold-rolled tarmac, the easiest to handle, isn’t durable enough to be used for cars, although it can be used to patch a driveway.
Look for specialist firms in the Yellow Pages or better still, get someone by personal recommendation if you can find someone who’s already done it.
On no account should you accept an offer to lay a tarmac drive from a doorstep caller. You are unlikely to get the best job and you’ll never be able to find them to put it right.
At the worst, you may find that the price demanded exceeds the estimate and you may be coerced to pay!
Gravel and Block Paving
Gravel is popular and easy to lay but it’s easier for moss and weeds to get a hold and the gravel has to be topped up every few years or so.
On the plus side it can be put down straight on top of earth if it’s level and compacted enough. It’s necessary to edge the drive with wood or decorative tiles to stop the gravel migrating into flower boarders and lawns.
Block paving drives have become enormously popular in the last decade or so as many firms have sprung up offering this service.
Usually stone or paving has to be laid on a mortar bed or a concrete base, making it time-consuming to lay and point. The block paving option uses interlocking blocks that have a degree of flexibility when laid down like a jigsaw.
This means that they only need the ground to be levelled and layers of hardcore and coarse sand compacted down.
Once again, although this can be a DIY job, there are many firms who will do it for you.
Make sure they are members of the relevant trade body and see if they will let you see an example of their work before engaging anyone.
Planning Permission and Regulations
There are few regulations regarding the building of drives unless you do not already have a crossover, which is the lowered section of kerb and pavement allowing your car to easily cross to your drive.
You may think this is unnecessary but if you don’t do it the council may take you to task for damaging the kerb and pavement.
Putting a crossover in requires planning permission and the consent of the local highways authority, which can carry out the work for you but will charge for it.
One final point about your drive or parking space is that if you intend to use it to store a boat or a caravan, check with the local authority first.
Many have by-laws or restrictive covenants which stop you from doing this.