Our driveways are an important part of our homes, both functionally and aesthetically. Not only should we choose the right style and materials to begin with, but we also must maintain them well. Understanding why driveway drainage is important and what to do about it is an essential step in choosing the right materials for your driveway and knowing what to look for to keep a driveway well-maintained.
Avoid Excess Wear
When a driveway doesn’t drain properly, the excess water on the driveway promotes wear and tear and a worn-out look on the driveway. Water may seem like no big deal. However, too much water, especially when it’s left standing as surface water due to poor drainage, will quickly wear out the driveway no matter the material. That wear and tear shows up as discoloration and cracks.
Soil Is Washed Away
When not directed down the right path, excess surface water can wash away soil. When drainage is an issue on a driveway, the landscaping and lawn near the driveway and all around will eventually get ruined. This creates a vicious cycle of replacing soil just to have it wash away again during rainfall.
Just as the driveway and soil aren’t safe, neither is the foundation when the driveway doesn’t drain properly. It’s important to remember that although the driveway is outside, it’s still a part of the house and the entire system. Water slowly but surely erodes anything in its path. So, you can bet water will eventually reach the foundation of the house and eat away at it if it isn’t draining properly from the driveway. If you notice cracks in your foundation, take a look at the drainage system around the driveway.
The extra moisture you’re noticing in your basement or any other room of the house could be caused by a poorly drained driveway. Make sure to check your driveway’s drainage system when trying to determine where any moisture in the house is coming from.
Give drainage an advantage with the best driveway materials. Let’s look at the different options and how they affect driveway drainage.
Brick creates a beautiful, classic-looking driveway. They stand the test of time, usually about 25 years if well taken care of, and the finished result is a smooth, unique surface. The downside of brick is that it requires a lot of attention to remain smooth and avoid erosion. Not many people can successfully install a brick driveway without professional help. As you can imagine, getting the bricks perfectly even, level, and unable to budge is tough. Materials such as sand, gravel, or concrete are used to hold the bricks in place. Once they begin to shift, water has free reign to cause damage, so an excellent driveway drainage system is absolutely necessary.
Concrete is one of the most popular materials for a driveway. It’s very durable and requires little to no maintenance. Concrete driveways last a long time but can crack in areas after long winters of freezing temperatures. They are also prone to staining, so don’t plan on changing the oil in your car on the concrete driveway. Still, concrete is affordable and gives a home a simple, reliable driveway. Concrete driveways also don’t corrode easily when on a slope and drain well, thanks to the smooth surface, making them an excellent choice when water drainage is necessary.
Asphalt is just about as popular as concrete, and many feel it looks better, thanks to its dark, shiny color. Although it won’t stain easily like concrete, asphalt in turn cracks easier and needs quick repairs to avoid further damage when it does. Asphalt drains well, and just like all driveways, it requires a drainage system—especially if not on a slope.
Gravel is inexpensive and a great option when living in the country. It can get messy, so you won’t see gravel in a neighborhood too often, although some give it a try. Gravel is high maintenance because it washes away easily, meaning it requires raking and replacing. Proper drainage is a must, or your gravel driveway can disappear quickly, leaving you with nothing but dirt.
If you love the look of days gone by, then you’ll love cobblestone. Similar to brick, cobblestone needs careful and precise installation for proper drainage and little to no erosion. It’s one of the more expensive choices, but cobblestone can withstand quite a bit and looks stunning.
The Best Drainage for Your Driveway
No matter the material, every driveway needs the right drainage system to protect it and the home from water damage, such as erosion of soil, moisture in the home, cracks in the driveway, cracks in the foundation, and ruined landscape. There are two types of drainage systems that work well for draining excess water from a driveway. They are cast in place (created onsite) and pre-cast (pre-engineered). Let’s look at types of systems for both options.
- VectorDrain: The VectorDrain is a pre-cast slot drain channel. It has a clean and slim profile, and it handles harsh environments and heavy traffic well. The VectorDrain bonds well to concrete surface coatings and is cost-effective with an almost invisible appearance, making it highly popular for residential use.
- Polymer Drain: Made from polymer concrete, the polymer drain uses interlocking sections, making it very convenient for creating any kind of configuration. The polymer drain is versatile and keeps labor cost down since it’s pre-cast and easy to install.
- TrenchFormer: The TrenchFormer uses a customizable forming system for the precise casting in place of a drainage system. Width, depth, height, slope, and shape are all accurately measured and the TrechFormer is created accordingly. It is then used to form the concrete trench drain. Once complete, the former is removed, leaving a stable and solid draining system.
Hopefully, you now understand why driveway drainage is important. Drainage truly is a necessity for the overall protection of your home. Driveways come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, but they all have one thing in common—they all need proper drainage. ABT offers residential trench drains, as well as commercial trench drains. Contact us, and let’s discuss how we can get your driveway properly drained.