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Two tips for those who want to build a driveway in a cold, wet climate

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If your home is located in an area that has a cold, wet climate and you want to build a driveway on your property, here are a couple of tips that you may find helpful.

Opt for asphalt instead of concrete

If you want to ensure that your new driveway lasts for many years to come, it's important to ensure that the materials you use to build it are suitable for the climate of the area in which your property is located. For example, concrete is not a good building material to use for your driveway if you live in a place which is prone to low temperatures, as well as rain, snow and ice.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, any salt that you sprinkle on the driveway to de-ice it during the colder months could damage the concrete, as salt is mildly acidic and can cause concrete to corrode. As such, if you use concrete to build your driveway, you would either have to endure the dangerously slippery conditions created by ice forming on its surface during the winter season or run the risk of permanently damaging the driveway by sprinkling salt on it to melt the ice. 

Asphalt, on the other hand, does not deteriorate when exposed to salt, meaning that you can de-ice your driveway and thus make it safer to use, without having to worry about the possibility of damaging this part of your property.

Secondly, concrete driveways that are located in areas where the temperatures drop below freezing on a regular basis are likely to develop very large cracks. The reason for this is unlike asphalt, concrete is a highly porous material. This means that when rainwater lands on a concrete driveway, some of this water will seep into its pores. If after this happens, the temperature drops below freezing, the water in the concrete will freeze and will, as a result of this, expand. This swelling will place pressure on the concrete and in doing so, cause it to crack. However, because asphalt is nowhere near as permeable as concrete, it will not sustain this type of damage, even when it is regularly exposed to rainwater and freezing temperatures.

Create a gradient

For people who live in warm, dry climates where rainfall is a rare occurrence, it is perfectly safe to build a flat, level driveway. However, if you live in an area with a wet climate, it is vital to ensure that your contractor creates a sloped driveway, with the steepest part of the slope located next to your home and the lowest part located at the end of the driveway.

The reason for this is that building your driveway on a slope will drastically reduce the risk of your home sustaining flood damage if it rains heavily for several days, as any rainwater that falls onto the driveway will not sit and accumulate on its surface, but will instead simply drain away from your house.