A driveway can add a lot of value to your home and enhance its curb appeal, making your home looked lovingly maintained and inviting.

The most common driveway surface in Ontario is asphalt. Smooth, black asphalt is easy to shovel, provides an even surface for kids to play, and a clean, simple look. Generally, it is the most cost-effective option and lasts about 10 years. Asphalt driveways require regular sealing to prevent cracks and fading. Patterned asphalt is a relatively new option where a brick or stone pattern is stamped into the asphalt. A cement compound is added on top to provide the colour and texture of brick or stone. This will cost more, but provides a more custom look. Research this option carefully to ensure it doesn't reduce the longevity of your paving.

More expensive than asphalt, concrete provides the same smooth, clean surface that's easy to work with in our climate. Concrete will also need regular maintenance. A sealer every three years or so will help minimize cracks. Concrete driveways can be slippery, so sealants often contain a traction agent. In addition, concrete must have expansion joints cut into the driveway at regular intervals or the driveway will crack. Concrete provides increased longevity for its added cost, lasting 25-plus years. Stamped and coloured concrete is also an option, giving a natural stone look, cobblestone, or even brick to match your home's exterior style.

Interlock driveways are often the most expensive paving option available. Interlock is available in every design and finish you can imagine and at every price point as well. Labour is the real cost as individual concrete, stone, or brick pavers are hand-installed. Longevity is a consideration for this driveway option as well. Oil spills that would ruin asphalt or concrete are an easy fix for interlock. Just pop out the stained pavers and replace them. And if your driveway's gravel base starts to heave after many years, the pavers can be removed and set aside, the base repaired, and the pavers returned once again. Depending on the quality of the pavers, this driveway should last 30 years or more. Interlock is also the most environmentally responsible choice, due to its long life, ability to be repaired, and its permeability. Water can penetrate the driveway into the ground and stay out of storm sewers.

Whatever option you choose, having a well-maintained driveway adds to your home's value.

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The start of a new year is a great time for resolutions. For this year's resolution, why not make some promises to yourself about your home? Make a list of your top home priorities for 2016 and enjoy that feeling of satisfaction when they're done. These five tips will help get you started!


1. It's an excellent time to get a handle on your home insurance, review your policy and make sure it still fits your home's needs. Contacting your insurance company may also reveal some savings too! Bundling home and auto insurance, for example, can often save money.


2. January is also a great time to review home safety. Replace the batteries and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Having one smoke detector per floor and at least one carbon monoxide detector is a requirement of most home insurance policies.


3. Another great goal is paying off your mortgage more quickly! Are you getting the best rate possible? Can you add an extra payment or increase your monthly payment to really make a dent in that principal? Contact your mortgage holder and have a conversation about how you can best meet your specific mortgage goals.


4. How about improving your home's energy efficiency this year? Maybe it's time to replace those old inefficient incandescent with some superefficient CFLs or LEDs. Most hardware stores carry an excellent selection. Also, add a power strip to electronics to defeat phantom load - the energy still being used even when devices are turned off.


5. And perhaps most satisfying is decluttering! Consider choosing one room a week, or even just one closet, to organize and declutter. Donate anything you haven't used in a year (or never liked anyway!). You'll be amazed at how much more space you have.

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Hanna Gillis

Office: 905-476-4337

Fax: 905-476-6141

Cell: 905-251-3520

hannagillis@royallepage.ca

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