When your home sits above or below the road line, you’ll have a sloping drive. And if your drive slops up or down to your home – and you’re looking for a new driveway – you’ll want to know what the best type of surface is.
Is every type of material suitable for a sloped driveway? Or are some better than others?
The challenge of steep, sloping driveways
At first glance a sloping driveway can look impressive. It’s a great visual addition to your home, often because your house will sit higher up or lower down to offer more seclusion and greater views.
But use that sloping drive on a daily basis, and you’ll quickly realise the challenges and hazards it brings, including:
- Water run off: Poor drainage sees water pool at the bottom of your drive (either by your house or by the roadside)
- Accessibility: Driving up or reversing down takes effort and skill, and can often require excess revving and wasted fuel
- Parking: It’s a constant worry parking your car on a steep hill in case the brakes fail, and you’re often leaving it at the bottom or using blocks behind wheels
- Vehicle damage: If the gradient is too steep, you might curb your car when driving onto the drive, scraping bumpers or the under carriage
- Health and safety: Sloping driveways can be hard to walk up at the best of times, but when they’re wet or icy, they’re extremely slippery and an absolute nightmare for anyone coming up or down on foot
What to consider when choosing the right type of material for a sloping drive
So when you’re deciding on the type of material for your sloping driveway, you’ll have to think about all those challenges and find possible solutions for each.
You’ll need a surface that’s effective for steep gradients, and should focus on features like:
- Material slip – because the laws of gravity will mean any loose materials will naturally roll or fall to the bottom of your drive
- Traction – to give your cars and your feet the very best grip when walking or driving up and down, in all weather conditions
- Durability – because the exposed slope and the extra effort of cars struggling up and down could cause additional wear and tear
- Longevity – so your new driveway will last as long as possible and require minimum maintenance
The problems with gravel, asphalt and paving bricks
An initial choice for any driveway is gravel – but despite its cheaper cost, we’re not a fan. It’s especially unsuitable for steep driveways, because gravity will just pull all the loose gravel to the bottom of the slope over time. You’ll constantly be topping up with new gravel.
Gravel also doesn’t give you any flexibility with driveway shapes, and it’s difficult to create a dedicated parking area.
It can also be a health and safety hazard, particularly when walking over, as the rocks can slip and feet sink into the stones.
Asphalt driveways can look really great, but they’re not the cheapest and they can be high maintenance. You may find you need to do lots of repairs – even more so because of the slope on the driveway.
It can be difficult to lay, increasing the cost and it’s dangerous when icy. With no breaks in the surface – just one long piece of material – water can quickly freeze over in cold weather and create a sheet of deadly ice.
Paving stones are an expensive material at the best of times, and the additional intensive labour required to fit them on a slope will dramatically increase the cost.
They are also prone to the forces of gravity. They can loosen, wobble and slip over time, and their heavy weight will quickly pull them down your drive.
The benefits of Pattern Imprinted Concrete
We’ve detailed all the downsides and pitfalls of the different types of driveways here – and all those negatives still apply here.
The same is true of the benefits.
And that’s why pattern imprinted concrete is a very popular choice for all types of driveways – including steep, sloped ones.
It looks amazing and is incredibly versatile with colours, shapes and patterns. It’s extremely durable and long-lasting, and it requires next to no maintenance.
And yes, PIC can be installed on a sloped driveway.
Pattern imprinted concrete works with a sloped driveway because:
- It’s poured in sections, allowing each area to set individually and prevent run off
- Each section includes designated crack-prevention joints – that help with expansion and contraction in adverse weather
- Cambers can be included to direct water to the sides, with good effective drainage fitted at the bottom to deal will all water run off
- Anti-slipping agent can be added to the sealant mixture, preventing ice forming and giving extra traction
- Once installed, it doesn’t need any maintenance or ‘topping up’
Better still, because pattern imprinted concrete is so versatile, it can be used to adapt your sloping driveway and make it more manageable.
We can excavate the slope, digging down to reduce the gradient and installing steps up or down to your home so the drive isn’t as steep.
Or we can add transition gradients to the slope, or offset its steepness with a curved or zig zagged shape to make access easier and safer.
And we can also use pattern imprinted concrete to create flatter, dedicated parking areas at the top or bottom of a steep driveway to give you extra peace of mind.