As the owner of a historic brick home, of course you understand the importance of maintaining its original character and charm. However, when installing or updating your driveway, choosing between plain concrete and decorative brick can be a difficult decision, for several good reasons. While concrete offers durability and low maintenance, brick provides a timeless look that can add to the historic curb appeal of your property. Here’s what to consider when updating the driveway of a historic brick home.
The Pros and Cons of Concrete Driveways
Concrete is very popular for driveways and parking areas due to its durability and low maintenance. It can last up to 50 years when properly installed and maintained and requires only occasional pressure washing to keep it looking new. It can withstand the weight of heavy vehicles, and in the winter it's easy to clear away snow from concrete. However, there are some downsides.
One significant drawback is its appearance. While it can be colored or stamped to resemble other materials, concrete lacks the natural beauty and charm of brick. Additionally, it is susceptible to staining from oil and gas spills and doesn't react well to ice-melting salts. If it is improperly installed, it can heave and crack under extreme weather conditions, negating its typical durability. For a historic brick home that has a traditional aesthetic, a plain concrete driveway or parking area may not be the best option.
Installing an Interlocking Brick Parking Pad
Brick offers a classic look that can complement the style of your historic home. With various colors and patterns available, brick provides a customizable option that can be tailored to your home's unique style. Properly installed, brick is durable and can last for decades with proper installation and maintenance.
On the downside, brick requires more maintenance than concrete, and the installation cost can be higher. Brick driveways and parking areas may need weeding, and individual bricks may need to be replaced over time due to normal wear and tear. Brick needs to be sealed regularly to prevent staining. Finally, if the brick does not precisely match the aesthetic of your home, it can look like an afterthought instead of blending naturally into the landscape.
Using a Combination of Concrete and Brick
If you like the durability of concrete but want to add some charm to your driveway or parking pad, consider combining the two materials. You can break up a concrete area with brick trim or use concrete pavers that look like brick to harmonize with the overall look of a historic property. This option provides the best of both worlds: the durability of concrete and the timeless appeal of brick.
Consulting with a historic brick expert can provide you with the best curb appeal—the possibility of designing the parking pad or driveway so that you can use brick colors that match your home. In addition, by placing them in less trafficked areas, the expertly sourced historic bricks will last for decades with proper maintenance.
Get Expert Advice Before Making Major Changes
If you have a brick driveway or brick accents and think there’s a possibility that they need to be ripped out, contact a historic brick expert first. An expert who specializes in brick restoration and historic preservation can explain how to best repair your existing brick, while still maintaining your home's classic curb appeal and value.
Repairing, replacing, or installing a new parking surface ultimately comes down to your personal preference. By using a combination of concrete and brick, you can achieve a harmonious look that meets your everyday needs and complements your home's historic charm.
Renaissance Development is the expert in traditional tuckpointing methods, specializing in brick repair and restoration projects in Capitol Hill and many other historic neighborhoods in Washington, DC. Contact us today for more information about planning a driveway upgrade, or anything related to the historic integrity and preservation of your old brick home.