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Having a driveway is convenient and an aesthetically pleasing addition to any house, but there may be hidden driveway costs associated with the tarmac in front of the garage. The initial cost of a driveway includes grading the ground properly, laying down a base of stone, and properly laying the asphalt. Once the driveway is in place, however, hidden driveway costs may become apparent; after several years of use and inclement weather, a driveway may begin to crack, requiring a re-paving or at least a crack sealing. Other hidden driveway costs include snow removal, weed removal, and cleaning.
Depending on the length and shape of the driveway, snow removal can be one of the most significant hidden driveway costs. In areas where snow is a regular occurrence, the owner of the driveway may choose to shovel it clear, but longer driveways will require either a snowblower or the services of a professional plow. A snowblower is a big investment, but a one-time cost that will pay itself off if the user is willing to do the work himself. Otherwise, hiring a professional plow to come clear the driveway after a snowstorm may be in order. Plows charge by the storm, so if the season delivers snowstorm after snowstorm, the owner could incur significant costs for clearing the driveway.
In areas where the temperature fluctuates by season or even by day, frost heaves may be common. A frost heave can cause cracking, bubbling, and potholes in a driveway, causing yet another of the hidden driveway costs. Larger potholes and cracks will need to be filled or sealed, and depending on the size of the crack or hole, the cost may be significant. Smaller cracks can be sealed with a driveway sealant available at many hardware stores, but some sealants take a long time to dry and can become sticky in hot weather.
When installing a new driveway, the asphalt is not the only thing you pay for. Some hidden driveway costs in this instance include labor to install the driveway, delivery of materials, and the cost of the base and sub-base. The asphalt cannot simply be lain on dirt; the ground must be properly graded to control runoff and the flatness of the surface, then a sub base of stone must be lain down for support. On top of that, a layer of fine stone or cinders is often lain and packed down. These items all add to the cost of the driveway.