A driveway of some sort is essential for most properties. It keeps ruts from forming in your yard and it adds beauty to your property. A residential paving contractor can help you choose the right material for your driveway — taking into consideration your budget, the local climate, and the way you want your property to look. Here are three popular residential paving options to compare.

1. Asphalt Paving

Asphalt is a good driveway material for most climates. It's tough and durable. Plus, it has a little flexibility. Asphalt driveways start out a rich black color, but fade over the years. You can slow down the fading and protect the asphalt by having sealcoating applied every few years.

Like any other type of driveway material, asphalt needs a sturdy base beneath it to help prevent cracks and other damage. If the base shifts, alligator cracks may form and need to be repaired. There are not a lot of decorative options with asphalt, but you can keep your driveway looking nice by keeping it in good repair and maintaining the dark color with a coating.

2. Concrete Paving

Your residential paving contractor may not recommend a concrete driveway in areas that get really cold in the winter. The danger is rain or snow will get in a crack, freeze, expand, and make the damage worse. However, in areas where concrete is suitable, it's a good choice. You can leave the concrete plain or decorate it with stamping and a glossy coating.

If you opt to have a stamped concrete driveway, you can create just about any design you can think of and your driveway will look like it's made of bricks, stones, or pavers. A decorative concrete driveway adds unique beauty to your home while providing a stable parking surface that should last for many years.

3. Pavers

A driveway made with brick pavers is attractive and adds visual appeal to your property. You can choose pavers of different sizes, colors, and shapes to create an artistic design that's unique to your property. Pavers are installed differently than concrete and asphalt. They're held in place by pressing them into sand and then pushing them against each other.

Pavers are usually easy to care for, but weeds growing between the bricks can be a problem if you don't keep up with maintenance. Pavers, as well as concrete and asphalt, can be pressure washed to keep them clean.

Talk to a residential paving contractor if you're having trouble making up your mind about driveway materials. You may want something basic and plain, but if you want an attractive or artistic option, a paving contractor can explain all of your choices in stamps, colors, and pavers.