Granite Driveways | Durable, Heavy and Very Expensive!
Granite driveways, much like slate driveways, are among the most expensive, most luxurious in the world, requiring skilled laborers and heavy machinery to properly construct.
Granite is a very hard, heavy igneous rock, composed of a minimum 20% quartz by volume, with a pink or gray “grainy” texture, from which the rock gets its name. The strength and durability of granite driveways have made it popular as a construction material, but these same traits also make it expensive to work with: granite is extremely heavy, and therefore difficult to transport, and its strength makes the process of cutting it to given shapes and sizes laborious and time-consuming.
Furthermore, when granite is found in nature, it is almost always massive, requiring a difficult cutting process to extract it. These are all factors that drive up its cost.
As a driveway material, granite is rarely used in solid pieces, or slabs, as these would be extravagantly expensive. More often than not, granite is cut into smaller segments and used in patterned driveways, such as cobblestone. The high price comes with significant advantages, however, as gravel is stain resistant, largely unaffected by even the worst of weather conditions, and will not crack or split over time, as most other solid driveways will.
If the price of granite is intimidating, but you still wish to benefit from its beauty and many advantages as a paving material, consider using it as a border, or apron, around your driveway; in other words, use asphalt or concrete as the bulk of your driveway material, with a granite contour. This helps to reign in the cost while still conferring many of its benefits, and lending the otherwise bland concrete or asphalt a sophisticated appearance.
Granite’s long-term sustainability helps to justify its cost, as it does not need to be repaired; this allows prospective buyers to amortize the cost of the driveway over time. Even acid rain, which can be so damaging to other driveway surfaces, has little impact on granite; it truly does last a very long time. Expect to pay around 15$ per square foot of granite cobblestone, and considerably more for uncut granite slabs. It is also imperative that the foundation of a granite driveway be properly installed, and reinforced to sustain the great weight of the material.
Granite, like marble or slate, has an unpredictable pattern: one piece of a granite slab may look drastically different to another piece of the same slab. Many people enjoy these variations, trumpeting them as a great aesthetic advantage, while other people prefer a more uniform look, and would be better served by concrete or asphalt.